Today should be a national holiday. That’s the least we could do to acknowledge and celebrate the birth of music legend/weave pioneer Beyonce. It’s hard to believe that the heart and soul of Destiny’s Child is now 32 years old. I mean, the woman is aging in reverse and her steely grasp on the wigs of less successful contemporaries hasn’t loosened a bit despite boycotting iTunes and devoting her time to flawless Tumblr updates.
To pay tribute to Queen Bey and the breadth of her mind-boggling musical legacy, we’ve decided to look back on some of Third Ward Trill‘s best rare and unreleased tracks. While rummaging through pop leftovers of lesser divas could be a painful task, the birthday girl’s demos and bonus tracks are better than your average lead single. Need proof? Reacquaint yourself with 10 exquisite Beyonce tracks that deserved a better fate after the jump. Happy birthday, Bey!
10. “What’s It Gonna Be” – Dangerously In Love bonus track (Listen)
Mrs. Carter had a reputation as something of a goodie two shoes when she launched her solo career — the size queen antics of “Ego” were a good five years away — but Bey tried desperately to shed that image on Dangerously In Love bonus track “What’s It Gonna Be”. She sings: “You know I’m feelin’ you tonight so let’s find a certain spot to go where we can get to know each other better.” Funnily enough, hooking up in a club sounds positively innocent compared to today’s radio fare.
9. “Ice Cream Truck” — unreleased B’Day track (Listen)
Beyonce is at her absolute fiercest when she’s pissed. Proof? Iconic singles “Irreplaceable” and “Ring The Alarm”. While not quite as angry or all-conquering as those gems, unfinished B’day demo “Ice Cream Truck” taps into a similar vein of emotion. It had hit potential — Bey’s heavenly vocals are in fine form — but it suffers from one of the worst metaphors of all time. “The next time your truck rolls by, no matter how hard I cry please don’t stop in front of me because your love is no longer sweet”. Maybe this was best left in the vault.
8. “Keep Giving Your Love To Me” — Dangerously In Love unreleased track (Listen)
Need a new/old Beyonce slow jam for sexy times? You could do a lot worse than revisiting Dangerously In Love reject “Keep Giving Me Your Love”. “I am so in love with loving you,” Bey moans. “When you touch me I feel sexy!” Go light some candles and grab your man.
7. “Forever To Bleed” — I Am… Sasha Fierce unreleased track (Listen)
There’s some dispute if this towering ballad originates from the B’Day or I Am… Sasha Fierce sessions but I’m leaning towards the latter because of the orchestra of synths. Think “Halo” and “Save The Hero”. This hidden gem boasts one of King B’s most emotional vocals. “I should have tried a little more to be around but I didn’t know that you were hurting,” she belts out. “I was just too blind.”
6. “Sexy Lil Thug” — Speak My Mind mixtape (Listen)
This fierce interpolation of 50 Cent’s breakthrough hit “In Da Club” was a radio staple in 2003. It eventually made its way onto Bey’s 2004 mixtape Speak My Mind (yes, there was once a time when Beyonce was on that mixtape grind) but remains something of a lost gem. I mean when will we ever hear Queen Bey spit iconic lyrics like “I’m that classy mami with the Marilyn Monroe body” ever again?
5. “Twerk” — Destiny Fulfilled unreleased track (Above)
Beyonce did everything first. That fact should be part of the school curriculum along with reading and algebra. She’s so far ahead of the curve that she and her fellow Destiny’s Child divas were twerking back in 2006 while Miley Cyrus was still better known as Hannah Montana. They even recorded a song about it for Destiny Fulfilled. “You love the way I twerk, you wanna see me twerk daddy,” coo the girls over a slinky beat. They could release this today and still score a hit.
4. “Black Culture” — I Am… Sasha Fierce unreleased track (listen)
Now this was an absolute jam. The funky Michael Jackson sample, the swag-filled lyrics (“I am black culture!”) and Beyonce’s incessant giggle makes this a well-deserved fan favorite. “Let’s hook up, gimme some of that stuff!” is one of the diva’s best refrains. This is proof that King B well and truly had the golden touch in 2008.
3. “New Shoes” – B’Day unreleased track (Listen)
For an album that was reportedly recorded in two weeks, the B’Day sessions were perhaps the most fruitful (at least in terms of output quantity) in Beyonce’s career. One of my favorite unreleased tracks from the era is “New Shoes”, which is basically the flip side to “Irreplaceable” — hence why it was ultimately scrapped. Instead of telling her man to hit the road, B takes the initiative. “I leave with what I came with baby,” she croons. “I’ll take the dogs, you take the Mercedes.”
2. “Lost Yo Mind” – B’Day Deluxe Edition (Listen)
If don’t have this fiery break-up anthem on your iPod, it’s time to get correct and download it today. This incredible B’Day bonus track is not only infinitely quotable and custom made for drag shows, it captures the birth of Sasha Fierce two years before she officially emerged. Beyonce shouting “you must have lost yo mind!” is everything but she keeps it real by admitting “I could shed so many tears but I won’t let you see my crying!” A classic.
1. “Back Up” – B’Day bonus track (Below)
It’s an absolute mystery how this Darkchild-produced club banger was relegated to Circuit City bonus track status. It was a standout track on release and still sounds like a hit seven years later. Beyonce sings about a man-stealing vixen, dropping memorable lyrics like “chicks throwing handcuffs ‘cause they know their man ain’t safe!” over bone-rattling beats. It should have been a single.