Long live the Queen! And King, of course.
Now, I'm not talking about the residents of the Buckingham Palace. I'm talking an all-around power couple as they're far bigger than Hip-Hop -- Beyonce and Jay Z -- who have made yet another power play, reminding us just who they are and what they came to do.
The couple recently collaborated on an album, Everything is Love, that is potentially the final piece to the puzzle that their latest solo albums, Lemonade and 4:44 painted for us. With it, it further weaves tales of infidelity, love, and growth.
Gloriously, the album's cover art speaks for the unapologetic nature of the album as the couple spits about life from the top, their love for one another; and social issues, including the colorism spewed at Jay's facial features.
In true Carter fashion, they dropped the album without warning, in the dusk. And with ease, the album is doing numbers. Knowing them and the power of the Beyhive, those numbers have the potential to surpass those of every other artist who's released an album in recent weeks, including Pusha T, Nas, and Kanye. But what's more than Beyonce pulling a Beyonce is what we can learn from the couple on building our own empire in the undefeated way that they've done for themselves over the years.
Lesson 1: All publicity really is good publicity.
I won't pretend to know Bey's stats and the numbers she was doing before a billion dollars caused sh*t to go down in the elevator. What I do know is that Bey and Jay spun that embarrassing, private moment on the elevator into an additional gold mine to sit on top of.
Furthermore, they did so better than any PR team could have. Prior to that incident, the couple was consistently mum AF about their relationship. The only thing we knew for sure was that they were married but everything else after that bit was public speculation and lots of reaching.
However, after the world was able to witness that cigars weren't the only thing on ice in that marriage, they decided to start dishing out little details here and there. It all began with the "Feelin' Myself" track, where Bey comes out of her graceful public persona (maybe embodying Sasha Fierce?) and responded to the rumors.
They went on to sell out stadiums worldwide on a joint tour (the inaugural On The Run tour) and then created syncramonius albums about the ongoing endurance of their relationship. Spilling all the lemonade, because they gave us more through this one album Lemonade than they've given us over the course of their nearly 20-year relationship.
A couple years later and they're spinning that straw into gold like a modern day Rumpelstiltskin, forever making money off the infamous incident with their past collaborations and the latest, Everything is Love.
Let this be business lesson number one, because really and truly there is no one event you can't bounce back from. It's not about what happened, it's a matter of good damage control.
Lesson 2: There's still value in mystique.
Aside from the occasional and strategic glimpses into the couple's marriage, we know nothing about the Carters, making fans all the more curious. Is Jay like any other man? Is he an active and doting dad? Does he recognize and I mean truly recognize that he's got the baddest chick in the game wearing his chain?
Essentially, we're all dying to know if they go through everyday marital issues or if their status affords them the luxury of bypassing all the bullshit.
Yet, they have mastered the art of keeping their fanbase guessing and anticipating their next move all the while giving them what they want, while leveraging their personal life as a business venture. A brand.
In a world saturated by social media creating the illusion of bigger, better, and more — sometimes you just have to shut up and move in silence until your masterpiece is ready for the world.
The world doesn't need to hear you coming for them to see you once you've arrived.
Lesson 3: Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do.
Like anyone in the music game, Bey and Jay paid their dues entering the game, forced to follow the analysis of current trends.
However, at this point and at the top of the game, they got options. And it's in part due to them staying the course in the beginning of their career, gaining the status, and bringing in a steady stream of revenue for their respective labels at the time.
Beyonce and Jay Z have reached a point in their careers where they can do what they want to do and not give an "eff" about numbers. It's evident in how they both have moved musically in their respective careers. Jay's trajectory into his latest 4:44, as well as professionally not feeling the need to say "yes" to every enticing offer (ahem, Superbowl). It's the same with Bey. She dabbled with self-titled, snatched our edges with Lemonade, and experimenting even further with her dive into Trapyonce with Everything Is Love.
The Queen has free reign.
Sis does this in everything she touches and because of that, she has opened the door to endless opportunities. Leading me to the next gem we've gotten from watching the couple over the years...
Lesson 4: Be true to yourself, your brand, and where you are.
Bey has never been afraid to branch out and explore new endeavors based on her personal interests, be it music, film, charity work, creative direction, etc. By venturing out regardless of naysayers, she likely garners far more success through her willingness to take the risk and just have fun with projects that she's passionate about pursuing.
Her ultimate power move was in recognizing that her brand is built around her image -- not the other way around.
To the same point of remaining true to yourself and where you are, Jay's music is not the tune of the same thug anthems that they were back in the day. He's nearly 50 and rightfully so, he's living better and his music reflects that.
He doesn't continue to perpetuate violence that he likely no longer partakes in, but instead speaks on the life he now knows: Bey and Blue; fame and fortune; marriage and parenthood.
Just as you will grow, your brand should grow along with you. Besides, when you allow your growth and your brand's growth to occur simultaneously, it makes for better content. Bey and Jay have mastered this at every turn in their lives.
Don't be so fixated on the past and facilitate stagnation. Instead, embrace the changes that occur when you're handed lemons. Stand in your truth because they sure as hell do!