Beyoncé Releases Fourth Studio Album ’4′

R&B diva Beyoncé Knowles has enjoyed one of the most loyal fan bases of any modern recording artist and while the powerhouse performer was victim to an early album leak of her latest project, Bey’s patient fans will have to wait no longer as the Texas native just released her fourth album 4 to the public.

Coinciding with the number of LPs she’s released since embarking on her solo career, 4 is the first of Beyoncé’s albums done without tutelage from her father and former manager Matthew Knowles. The album boasts production from Kanye West, singer-songwriter Terius “The Dream” Nash with some songwriting credits going to Odd Future crooner Frank Ocean and legendary R&B star Babyface.

While many stars have lamented about early leaks of their album projects, Beyoncé took the action in stride – although she had the backing of a powerful legal team who did their best to remove the prematurely released material from online sources to no avail. Showing grace even in defeat, Beyoncé went to her Facebook fan page to address the leak.

“My music was leaked and while this is not how I wanted to present my new songs, I appreciate the positive response from my fans. When I record music I always think about my fans singing every note and dancing to every beat. I make music to make people happy and I appreciate that everyone has been so anxious to hear my new songs,” said Beyoncé. It was reported that Beyoncé recorded a whopping seventy-two tracks for 4, with just twelve songs making the final cut.

The album is light on features, with relatively inactive Outkast rapper Andre 3000 leaving his lyrical imprint on “Party” – a Kanye West-produced number. Always involved heavily in the development of her projects, Jay-Z’s better half shares songwriter and producer credits alongside the heavy hitters she put to work on 4. After releasing her first single “Run The World (Girls) back in April, earlier this month the album’s second single “Best Thing I Never Had” dropped and was produced by Texas-based Hip Hop producer S1.

Beyoncé’s album, while expected to top the Billboard charts as sales numbers are being tallied, has been met with criticism that the fashion forward beauty has matured perhaps a bit too much with her sound by employing slower ballads more than she has on her past works. A few critics expecting faster paced work in the vein of her contemporaries Lady Gaga and Britney Spears were disappointed by the lack of punch but most writers favored her newly adopted sound.

Fresh off a 90-minute set as the headlining act for the UK’s Glastonbury Festival this past Sunday (June 26) and a hour-long chat last evening (June 27) with CNN host Piers Morgan on his night time talk show, Beyoncé has all but assured Columbia Records execs that her fans will show support for her new album as social media networks are ablaze with fans stating that they’re purchasing the record and approve of the singer’s direction in sound.

Keeping true to her single, it appears that Beyoncé is back to running the world once again.

Did you buy Beyonce’s newest album? What’s your favorite song? Tweet to us at @MTVRapFix or leave us a comment below.