If you recently sold a kidney so you could afford tickets to Beyoncé's "Formation" tour, consider it a kidney well spent. Because in addition to the queen herself, ticketholders will also be treated to the musical stylings of "anotha one" — the one and only DJ Khaled. Khaled has been enrapturing young Snapchat audiences with his jetski adventures and personal grooming tips, but apparently he's found some time between his silly, pseudo-motivational posts to make some music, too. His unique brand of social media self-help might not be everyone's cup of lemonade, however. For those of you who are looking for a little less suffering from success, we put together a list of ten acts we'd rather see open up for Beyoncé when she rolls into Houston this Saturday.
Measured against any other musical act, The Weeknd would always be a headliner. But even after exploding Billboard records with smash hits like "The Hills" and "Can't Feel My Face," he would still bow before the queen. The two collaborated on Lemonade's "6 Inch," a dark, moody anthem to a woman who makes her own money yet remains uncorrupted by it. Even though the combination of two blockbuster acts in one show might spontaneously combust NRG stadium, we think it's worth the risk to see what these two titans of the industry could put together.
With all due respect, the people who you named were responsible for my "success" wish they could feed me half of what growing up in 3rd Ward— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) February 4, 2016
Houston Texas, fed me.— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) February 4, 2016
Beyoncé's sister Solange Knowles took a lot of heat back in 2014 for her infamous elevator fight with Jay-Z, but the release of Lemonade, with its thinly veiled references to Jay's infidelity, has largely vindicated her outburst. Solange is a good sister, and such a good sister deserves a reward for years of quiet loyalty and support. It's been awhile since we've seen any music from Solange, making her a good candidate to open for Bey. Plus, like Beyoncé, Solange grew up in HTX and has a deeply rooted love for her home city.
Big Freedia's contribution to Beyoncé's single "Formation" is short, but its message is unforgettable: "I did not come to play with you hoes. I came to slay." New Orleans's Queen of Bounce is no stranger to Houston's music scene, having sold out her show at House of Blues as part of the "Bounce Shakedown" tour. Her fast-paced, bass-driven music would be a high-octane warmup for Beyoncé, and they would both surely bounce the whole house down.
It's no surprise that YouTube viewers prefer the Super Bowl performance edited to include only Beyoncé and Bruno Mars: their endearing dance-off/medley to "Formation" and "Uptown Funk" made everyone wonder who the hell decided that Coldplay would get top billing for halftime. Beyoncé and Bruno's friendly chemistry made for a stadium-shaking show; bringing him back as an opener would surely deliver more of the same. Though he's reportedly chipping away at a third studio album, Mars is not currently touring, giving him plenty of time to open for the queen.
A spoken-word poet might seem like a curious choice to open a show in a stadium that seats more than 70,000, but if anyone could work that crowd, it would be Warsan Shire. Fans of Lemonade fell hard for Shire's poetry, which was woven throughout the narrative of the album/film; her books sold out within hours of Lemonade's debut, thrusting her into the global spotlight. Shire's poetry is as breathtaking as it is understated, as democratic as it is deeply rooted in her personal diasporic experience. Beyoncé has already busted up so many rules about what we've come to expect from her music; opening with a poet would just continue the trend that she already started.
Jack White was a surprising song credit on Lemonade, but his stamp on the album took Beyoncé's music into exciting, uncharted waters. The gritty, lo-fi track "Don't Hurt Yourself" howls with truth and aggression as Beyoncé chastizes "You ain't married to some average bitch, boy." White's stripped-down, analog style might be a stretch for some of Beyoncé's audience, but opening with White would solidify her continuous commitment to growth and collaboration. Besides, who wouldn't want to hear Beyoncé cover "Seven Nation Army"?
The progeny of Miguel Diaz of Buena Vista Social Club, twin sisters Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz wowed audiences with their haunting 2015 self-titled debut. Their combination of Afro-Cuban roots music and modern synthesizers yielded what NPR called a "world of intoxicating beauty, in songs that are smart, sweet and emotionally cracked wide open." Ibeyi's invocations of Yoruban language and culture would segue seamlessly into songs from Lemonade, which drew heavily upon these influences. The singers earned only a tiny cameo in the film version of Lemonade, and we deserve to see (and hear!) more of them.
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Bey's love for Bun B goes way back: He rapped for her on the single "Check On It" in 2009; he also made a cameo in the video for 2013's "No Angel." But beyond their longstanding friendship, Bun B is also a respected ambassador for Houston, putting himself at Greenspoint Zero in the wake of Houston's recent disastrous flooding. If Beyoncé wants to make good on her "Flawless" claim that she's "Texas forever like Bun B," she should pay it forward and put him on her Houston lineup.
CHLOE X HALLE
One of the first new artists to be signed to Beyoncé's production company, Parkwood Entertainment, teenage-sister duo Chloe and Halle Bailey found critical success after a YouTube video of them covering "Pretty Hurts" gained grassroots appeal. Their new EP, Sugar Symphony, debuted on April 29, featuring the electric art-pop smash "Drop." Opening with Chloe x Halle would be vertical integration at its finest, exposing the group to literally millions of new fans all while taking a cut. A move like that would be the work of a black Bill Gates in the making for sure.
THE GHOST OF PRINCE
If the academic criticism of Lemonade is any indication, Beyoncé has transcended her mortal form to become the goddess Oshun herself. So resurrecting the dearly departed 20th-century music icon really shouldn't be that much trouble for her, should it? Grieving audiences took much solace in Lemonade's release, which shared a genealogical trace of the late artist's flashy yet thoughtful legacy. Even if necromancy is a few years off for Beyoncé, drumming up a hologram that would sing a duet of "Purple Rain" with her would really be the least that she could do.