Now That Renaissance Is Here, Let’s Revisit Beyoncé’s First Solo Album From 2003

Her family and friends celebrated her music with a custom-made album party cake.

Beyoncé's parents supported her during her first solo album release party in 2003. Photo via Getty I...
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Beyoncé’s new album, Renaissance, is finally here with all the summer dance vibes you could ever want — but 19 summers (and six albums) ago, Beyoncé was just getting started with her first solo album ever, Dangerously in Love.

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Beyoncé worked on the album during the Destiny’s Child hiatus — and her bandmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, showed up to support Queen Bey’s solo debut at her 2003 album release party. (Destiny’s Child’s final album would come one year later, in 2004.)

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Solange also supported her big sister’s solo effort — which was a feat to even get released, Beyoncé later revealed. “[The label] told me I didn’t have one hit song on my album,” she said at a 2011 revue, per Rap-Up. “I guess they were kinda right. I had five.”

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Beyoncé celebrated her very first album (and, at least for now, best-selling album, according to Billboard) with a cake of the cover artwork on it — and it doesn’t get much more iconic than that.

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Days after Dangerously in Love dropped, Beyoncé performed “Crazy in Love” at the 2003 BET Awards. “I was very nervous, of course ... [but] in my mind I saw the set immediately,” she told the network. “I said I want something big. I want something that says I’m here — Beyoncé.

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While performing on Today that same month, Beyoncé revealed that she had originally written 43 songs for Dangerously in Love. “[Narrowing it down] was really, really difficult ... I just did whatever was in my heart, and I didn’t think about anyone else.”


Beyoncé’s solo debut year included a royal visit to the United Kingdom — where, according to Hello, Prince Charles reportedly said Prince William and Prince Harry both had Beyoncé’s album, and that “Wills quite fancies [her].”

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Queen Bey also embarked upon her first solo tour in 2003, performing at a variety of European arenas — but this first outing was nothing compared to later, lucrative tours like Formation, which made Beyoncé the highest-paid woman in music in 2017, according to Forbes.

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In 2004, Beyoncé’s first Grammy Awards as a solo artist proved to pretty successful. She ultimately took home a whopping five awards for her work on Dangerously in Love, including Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best R&B Song for “Crazy in Love.”

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