Have you ever seen a crowd goin' Apes**t?!
It almost feels uber cliché to talk about the greatness that is Beyoncé, but...y'all, she's just too good.
In case you're wondering where this is coming from, last night I went to the On The Run 2 tour at MetLife Stadium, starring Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter and Shawn Carter, mother and father to Blue, Rumi, Sir, and the rest of us. The rain tried to shut down the show and we had to “seek shelter” for about 20 minutes, but the skies cleared up because God knew I didn’t put my ponytail in for nothing...
I’ve seen Beyoncé perform about 4 or 5 times at this point, and it’s always been a total sensory experience. I usually tear up (aka: cry), and I always leave the show feeling like the baddest b*tch to ever walk God’s Green Earth. Last night was absolutely no different, but a liiiiiittle different.
I never thought I’d be sitting down to write about Jay Z because he’s been getting on my nerves for a while now. But here we are. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe Jay is the greatest rapper of our (all) time, I pretty much know all his lyrics, I love nearly all his albums, but when it’s performance time, I usually stretch just in case I get called into formation, and then stare in awe of the Virgo Queen, and ignore him altogether. But last night was my first time reeeeeally paying attention to him as a performer–and it was truly something special. Aside from the flawless production of their (same) songs and (the same) performances, the best parts of the night for me came from Jay, specifically when he performed “Song Cry”.
It began with Beyoncé singing her ASS OFF to one of my favorites, “I Care”, from the 4 album.
“Ain’t nobody tell me this is love…”
As I fell into my emotions (shout out to all the Cancers out there) we then heard Jay come in with lyrics from “444”.
“Look, I apologize, often womanize…”
I was like “oh sh*t, we doing this?”
“You’re so immune to all my pain…”
Oh. We. Are. Doing. This.
“Took me too long for this song, I don’t deserve you…”
The Feels were in full effect.
I thought we were going to continue to get some sort of joint “I Care/444” performance, but then the lights turned blue, Beyoncé was gone, and it was just this man, this poet really, standing at the end of the stage with a mic. That ever-recognizable melody rang out, the piano cords flowed in…then “Good dude…I know you love me like cooked food” echoed throughout MetLife. I was literally in awe as Big Pimpin’ himself gave us his heart. It’s not like I haven’t heard this song before, and it’s not like it should be that shocking that a 40-something-year-old father of 3 has grown and can exhibit a range of emotions. But there was something different about this performance, and I think what really did it up for me was the new verse. I’ve heard it in clips circulating online, but towards the end of the song, there was a lightness in his voice; a true sense of what, to me, felt like “the other side”. The other side of the bullsh*t. The other side of ego. The other side of disconnect. There was still pain, remorse, but also relief.
“Look at what we’ve been through since last August.”
“…shows how big your heart is…”
“…healing in real time…”
“It’s getting too late, we can’t afford mistakes”
“It would have f*cked me up had you got away.”
“…I’m glad we found a way…”
I was into it.
I really got to witness true artistry, vulnerability in the male form, and the kind of unity, accountability, passion, and forgiveness that’s created when people take a step back for themselves, then come together with love as the sole focus. Now all of this could be the greatest act ever performed. This entire “LoveHappy” thing could be a stunt, a scam, a tried and true okie-doke. But I don’t care. At all. It made me listen. It made me reflect. It was another reminder that we’re all so different, yet all so very much the same. It was beautiful to witness. It was beautiful to feel.
On another note, I would very much like to go into how his flawless performance was then followed by Beyoncé UNNECESSARILY singing “Resentment” in that tangerine dress. Like why? If anything, sing Resentment first…why after? How did that even fit? Why mess up the flow? Like...take it off the set list…please…but for the sake of the mood, I’ll leave it alone.
All in all, I will no longer refer to Jay as “the man Beyoncé decided to marry”. He’s the GOAT, and any future slander is just me being petty. Because even though I've always been an equal opportunity Carter Critic, I really can't find a flaw in their message. Stack your money fast and go. Build yourself. Build your brand. Build your love. Build with love. Thrive with a partner that actually partners, and make money with your got damn friends. So simple.
That's the energy I'm on all 20-infinity.