By Mahlia Lone

This mega successful power couple of the music industry has collaborated on numerous hit albums, three kids and has had their share of public drama. Despite Beyonce’s determination to keep her personal life away from scrutiny and micromanaging the couple’s public image, the façade of their perfect marriage shattered when her sister Solange was caught on camera kicking Jay Z’s ass in an elevator of The Standard hotel following the 2014 Met Gala’s after party in New York City. Cheating rumors have dogged Jay Z for years and now there was proof that where there was smoke there was fire. Though the family hushed up the story at the time, Beyonce hit back with her bestselling album Lemonade two years later in which she powerfully addresses her marital issues. This is how you deal with your problems in a controlled, systematic, well thought out and intelligent manner

Shawn Carter was born in Brooklyn in 1969 where he was raised in a housing project alongside his three siblings. His parents’ taste in music had a profound influence on the little boy who grew up listening to their record collection of soul artists such as Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. He said, “I grew up around music, listening to all types of people… I’m into music that has soul in it, whether it be rap, R&B, pop music, whatever, as long as I can feel their soul through the wax.” Their father abandoned the family early on, and their mother, Gloria Carter raised her kids single handedly. Just prior to his death in 2003 Jay Z’s father finally reconciled with his superstar son.

Shawn had a tough street childhood. According to his lyrics in 1982, at the age of 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewellery. At the same time as AZ, another future rapper, he attended the troubled Eli Whitney High School, a vocational school in Brooklyn, until it was shut down due to too much student violence in the halls. He then attended the George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School with future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, followed by a brief period at Trenton Central High School in New Jersey, but he did not manage to graduate high school. By his own admission, during this period he sold crack cocaine and was shot at three times.

According to his mother,  Shawn used to wake up his siblings at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table, so she saved up and bought him a boom box for his birthday, further fueling his interest in music. This was the time that hip hop was growing as a music movement. Young Shawn too started free styling and writing lyrics and became known as Jazzy around the neighborhood, which he changed to Jay-Z in homage to his mentor rapper/producer Jaz-O.

Jay Z’s mother raised her kids single handely living in a housing project in a tough Brooklyn neighbourhood

In the early 1990s, Jay-Z got caught up in several battles with the popular rapper LL Cool J, already a success having released four albums, the fourth becoming a double platinum, and even having won a Grammy. The rap culture was rife with open gun violence and demanded that rappers have authentic “street cred.”  Finally, Jay-Z started to gain some recognition touring with established rapper and MC Big Daddy Kane. Kane said Jay-Z “wasn’t a hypeman, he basically made cameo appearances on stage. When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage.”

Jay-Z’s first official rap single was called In My Lifetime, which he produced himself and paid for the  music video. Not offered a single record deal, determined Jay-Z sold CDs out of his car and with business partners, Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs, created Roc-A-Fella Records as an independent record label in 1995 that released Jay’s 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt. It had beats from acclaimed producers such as DJ Premier and Super DJ Clark Kent and an appearance by The Notorious B.I.G.. The album that no big label had been willing to produce reached number 23, reached platinum status and was No. 248 on the Billboard 200 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The trio never looked back and they were on their way to becoming mega successful entrepreneurs.

This time with a distribution deal with Def Jam in 1997, Jay Z released his follow-up In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. produced by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Jay-Z later said that this album was made during one of the worst periods of his life, after the drive-by shooting death of his close friend The Notorious B.I.G. who is considered to be not only one of the most influential rappers of all time known for his dark autobiographical lyrics, but was also the central figure of the East Coast hip hop scene as opposed to the West Coast that became popular first. Jay-Z too recounted true stories of his difficult upbringing and the album earned platinum status.

The Knowles

In 1998, Jay-Z released Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life with the hit track Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) that had more flow and wordplay, and mined beats from popular producers like  Swizz Beatz, an in-house producer for Timbaland. In 2000, Jay Z released the more soulful album The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which helped introduce newcomers including Kanye West. The Blueprint with Eminem as a guest rapper, which Jay had written in just two days and quickly released after the 9/11 attack, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and reached 2x platinum status.

In 1999, both Jay-Z and Damond Dash romantically pursued the talented and popular R&B singer/actress Aaliyah who Dash won over before her tragic and untimely death in a plane crash in the Bahamas after filming a music video. This love dynamic the two business partners were to repeat years later. Though Dash was said to be engaged to Aaliyah, it was Jay Z who wrote the song Miss You after her death.

The business partners also launched Rocawear, a company that would go on to have an annual $700 million turnover. A budding fashion designer of a Bengali Indian father and Dutch mother, Californian Rachel Roy joined the startup as an intern. She would work her way up the ladder and would play a big part in both men’s lives.

In October 2001, Jay Z pleaded guilty to stabbing record producer Lance Rivera at the Kit Kat Klub in New York City in 1999 and was sentenced to three years probation for the second degree felony. This was the time when he met an eighteen year old singing sensation Beyonce, a part of the best selling girl group off all time, Destiny’s Child, who would curb his wild ways.

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles was born and raised in Houston, Texas, to Celestine “Tina” Knowles (née Beyincé), a hairdresser and salon owner of Louisiana Creole descent (African, Native American, and French), and Mathew Knowles, an African American Xerox sales manager. Beyoncé’s younger sister Solange also became a hit singer and  briefly a member of Destiny’s Child.

Beyoncé attended St. Mary’s Montessori School, where she enrolled in dance classes. One day, the dance instructor started humming a song and Beyonce finished it, hitting all the high-pitched notes. Aged seven, she won a school talent show, singing John Lennon’s Imagine beating out15-16-year-olds. Her parents realized that their daughter had a natural talent and they wanted to develop it into a lucrative career for her, which the whole family could benefit from. So in 1990, Beyoncé was enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school, where she joined the school’s choir. When Beyoncé was eight, she, childhood friend Kelly Rowland and Latavia Roberson auditioned for places in the girl’s group Girl’s Tyme that sang, rapped and danced on the talent show circuit. They made it to California and were selected for Star Search, a TV talent show, but failed to take home the prize.

Continuing to hone her skill, Beyonce attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. During this time, Beyoncé became a soloist at St. John’s United Methodist Church choir for two years.

In 1995, Mathew Knowles resigned from his job to manage the girls’ group full time. The family income was reduced by half, and they had to downsize. The girls’ group continued performing as an opening act for other R&B girls’ groups and kept auditioning before record labels hoping to get a break. During this tough financial time, Tina separated from Mathew but he still didn’t give up on his golden songstress daughter.

Michelle Williams, Beyonce & Kelly Rowland made up the hit girls’ group Destiny’s Child

Finally, in 1996 the group got a contract with Columbia Records under the new name Destiny’s Child based upon a biblical passage and the following year released their debut song Killing Time on the soundtrack to the 1997 Will Smith sci-fi blockbuster, Men in Black; they had finally hit the big time. The group’s self-titled debut album had the its first major hit No, No, No; its multi-platinum second album The Writing’s on the Wall (1999) had the group’s first number-one single, Jumpin’ Jumpin’ as well as Say My Name, which won two R&B awards at the 43rd Annual Grammys. The Writing’s on the Wall sold more than eight million copies worldwide, making the teenage girls household names.

Beyoncé’s long standing boyfriend, not being able to handle her huge success, broke up with her. She sunk into depression that lasted for a couple of years. It was so severe that she would lock herself in her room for and refused to eat anything. The family hid Beyonce’s depression from the world to preserve her perfect sultry. starry image and Tina helped her daughter slowly recover behind closed doors. In this way, Beyonce was schooled to hide her pain from the world.

In 2000, the song Independent Women Part I was featured on the soundtrack of the hit movie Charlie’s Angels and topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for eleven consecutive weeks. The group’s third album Survivor was released just a year later, debuting at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Beyonce’s curves became synonymous with the track Bootylicious and the title track Survivor won a Grammy Award in the R&B category. After releasing their holiday album 8 Days of Christmas in fall 2001, the hard working group announced a hiatus to pursue their solo careers.

Beyonce had met Jay-Z by this time. Though they weren’t dating but only friends, they would speak on the phone and meet up. She was desirous of pursuing a solo career and he owned a record label and was an award winning producer with a talent for spotting and developing new talent, so it was a great match in more ways than one. Beyoncé started dating the 12 years older Jay Z after their collaboration on the song Bonnie & Clyde which appeared on his seventh album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse (2002). In the music video, she plays his girlfriend, fuelling speculation about their relationship status, but the duo remained tight-lipped about the romance. The couple generally avoids discussing their relationship. Beyoncé has stated that she believes that not publicly discussing their relationship has helped them, while Jay Z agreed in a People magazine interview, “We don’t play with our relationship.”

Kareem Biggs, Damond Dash & Jay-Z were business partners as well as friends before they fell out

That year Beyonce branched out into movies, playing Foxxy Cleopatra alongside Mike Myers in the comedy movie Austin Powers in Goldmember, which grossed $73 million.  Work It Out was the lead single from its soundtrack album. The next year Beyoncé starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr., in the musical The Fighting Temptations and also sung two tracks for the soundtrack. Meanwhile, in her personal life, she was frequently spotted in Jay-Z’s company courtside at basketball matches, fashion shows and A-list events. The same year, she released her first solo album Dangerously in Love after her ex band mates, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland had already come out with theirs. Her album debuted atop the Billboard 200 and sold more than11 million copies worldwide. The album’s lead single, Crazy in Love, featuring Jay Z, became Beyoncé’s first number one single as a solo artist. The single Baby Boy also reached number one.   Clearly the two were making amazing music together. The album earned Beyoncé a then record-tying five awards at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards.

Jay-Z started the 40/40 sports bars

The ever enterprising Jay-Z after visiting the South of France opened the upscale 40/40 Club in NYC in 2003, the first in a chain of sports bars known for their live music, celebrity patrons, and sports memorabilia. Great at marketing, he cleverly mentioned the bar in his song Dirt Off Your Shoulder: “Now you chillin’ with a boss, bitch of course SC on the sleeve/at the 40/40 club ESPN on the screen.”

At the opening of the sports bar, he announced his eighth album, The Black Album featuring producers such as Kanye West, Timbaland and Eminem among many others. He has such clout and such a successful track record that all the bright stars of the industry want to work with him. Jay brags about his hot girlfriend Beyonce on the track, Public Service Announcement, rapping “I got the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain.”

“I was 18 when we first met, 19 when we started dating. There was no rush. No one expected me to run off and get married. We were friends first, for a year and a half, before we went on any date, (we were) on the phone for a year and a half. And that foundation is so important in a relationship. And just to have someone that you just like, is so important. And someone that is honest.” –Beyonce

Jay-Z also collaborated with R. Kelly, ex-husband of the late Aaliyah, on a collaborative studio album, The Best of Both Worlds. At the end of the year, Jay held a charity concert—billed as a “retirement party”—at NYC’s Madison Square Garden, the footage of which was later used in his rockumentay/hip hop film Fade to Black. Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Foxy Brown, Pharrell Williams, R. Kelly and Beyonce were just some of the big names that headlined the show. He also invited the mothers of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur in memory of his dead friends.


Beyonce, right, is joined by boyfriend Jay-Z as they perform during the 6th annual BET Awards on Tuesday, June 27, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

In February, 2004, Beyoncé was honoured by being asked to perform the American national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII, at her hometown of Houston. At top of her game, and with the genius producer Jay-Z behind her, she was finally ready to take their relationship public. Jay-Z, after having split with his partners in Roc-A-Fella Records due to too many business disputes was named president of Def Jam Records. Fresh from their success and feeling confident, Jay and Bey made their red carpet debut as a couple at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards in colour coordinated outfits of white and gold.

Making their first public appearance as a couple at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards in colour coordinated outfits

As President of Def Jam, Jay-Z signed the phenomenally talented new artist Rihanna to an astonishing six-record recording deal in 2005. The record company executives literally wouldn’t let the Barbadian teenager leave the building till she had signed on the dotted line lest she sign with a rival company. Jay and Rihanna began a close working relationship and a year into it, rumors that the two were hooking up were rife. We still don’t know how much truth there is to the rumours, however, as neither addressed them.

Meanwhile, Beyonce, still concentrating on her career, came out with another solo album B’Day  to coincide with her twenty-fifth birthday that debuted atop the Billboard 200. The  hit lead single Déjà Vu, again featured her steady boyfriend Jay-Z. She also continued her foray into films by playing a sexy pop singer in The Pink Panther (2006) starring the veteran comedian Steve Martin. The movie was a smash, grossing $160 million worldwide. Though Dreamgirls, the film version of the 1981 Broadway musical based on The Supremes, was supposed to be a Beyonce vehicle to award glory, it was singer/actress Jennifer Hudson who in a supporting role ended up winning the Oscar. Beyonce covered up her disappointment well.

East Coast rappers in Miami

In 2006, when Jay-Z released his comeback album Kingdom Come, featuring the song Lost One, the track’s somber lyrics fuelled speculation that the pair’s relationship was on the rocks. He raps: “I don’t think it’s meant to be, B/But she loves her work more than she does me/And honestly, at 23/ I would probably love my work more than I did she.” These lines are about trying to have a real, serious relationship with another ambitious and super busy high profile professional. This song was in complete contrast to his earlier songs like Big Pimpin’, where women exist almost completely as predators or objects. It’s about respecting the woman you are with and a real relationship of equals. The duo was listed as the most powerful couple for TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2006.

In 2007, Jay Z released his tenth album entitled American Gangster, a new “concept” album depicting his experiences as a street-hustler, recorded Umbrella with Rihanna, one of the most popular songs of the year, and sold Rocawear for more than $200 million. On Bey’s birthday in September, Jay proposed to her but the two decided to keep the engagement a secret. Beyoncé did not publicly debut her $5 million Lorraine Schwartz engagement ring until the Fashion Rocks concert a full year later in New York City whereby the public learnt of their engagement. In anticipation of this major life change perhaps, on January 1, 2008, Jay resigned as president of Def Jam.

It was speculated that Beyonce’s song Ring That Alarm was about Jay-Z cheating on her with Rihanna

On April 4th (4/4, their favourite number and both their birthdays) 2008, Jay and Bey married at a private ceremony at the bride groom’s massive Tribeca apartment in NYC. A source told the press: “Jay wanted it to be a really private affair – close friends and family.” The bride wore a dress designed by her mother, Tina, and instead of wedding rings, the couple opted for matching tattoos of the Roman numeral four (IV) on their ring fingers as a permanent mark of their commitment to one another. The Carters went to a super exclusive resort in the Maldives for their honeymoon.

Photo tweeted by the Obama 2012 Campaign showing President Barack Obama greeting Jay-Z and Beyonce during a campaign fundraiser at the 40/40 Club in New York Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The caption read” A couple supporters in a New York state of mind last night.”

The Carters are great supporters/friends of the Obamas and Beyonce sang at both of the ex-President’s inaugurals

In an interview for Essence magazine later that year, Bey was unusually candid about her private life, explaining that it was a joint decision to keep quiet about their relationship, “We decide everything. My word is my word. What Jay and I have is real. It’s not about interviews or getting the right photo op. It’s real.” She also said that their wedding was “small, intimate, and drama-free.”

Beyonce publicly revealed their marriage in a video montage at the listening party for her third studio album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, in Manhattan’s Sony Club six months later. Sasha Fierce is Beyonce’s powerful alter ego. The album featured the number-one songs Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), a favourite of ex-President Barack Obama’s who is also a big fan of her husband’s work, as well as Halo, the longest-running Hot 100 single in her career. With these songs, she attained more top ten singles on the list than any other woman during the 2000s. She also starred as a blues singer in the 2008 musical biopic Cadillac Records. Jay Z too became the first hip hop artist to headline UK’s Glastonbury Festival. In January 2009, Forbes ranked them as Hollywood’s top earning couple, with a combined total of $162 million. They also made it to the top of the list the following year, with a combined total of $122 million between June 2008 and June 2009.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 28: Singer Beyonce arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Beyonce reveals pregnancy at 2011

Friends and supporters of President Barack Obama, Beyoncé performed At Last at the First Couple’s first inaugural ball in 2009. At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, Beyoncé received ten nominations, tying with Lauryn Hill for most Grammy nominations in a single year by a female artist. She won six awards that night, breaking her own record set in 2004 for the most Grammy awards won in a single night by a female artist. Meanwhile, Jay-Z featured on two more of Rihanna’s songs Talk That Talk and Run This Town, which they also performed together at high profile concerts. He released a studio album The Blueprint 3 that year days ahead of schedule due to heightened anticipation. It became his 11th album to reach No.1 on the Billboard 200, surpassing Elvis Presley’s previous record. He also dropped the hyphen from his name.

In late 2013, Beyonce released a visual albgy gown to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2um and a string of video features where she spoke candidly about home life for the very first time: “Nothing feels like my child singing ‘mummy.’ No, nothing feels like when I look my husband in the eyes, nothings feels like when I’m respected, when I get on the stage and I see I’m changing people’s lives.”

Beyonce & Jay Z with Blue Ivy VMA’s 2014

Beyoncé announced a hiatus from her hectic career in January 2010, heeding her mother’s advice, “to live life, to be inspired by things again.” She later said, “I did it for my sanity, my life, my relationships, my nephew, my husband, my sister and my friendships,” she said of her career break. “I can decide I want to have kids. I can be the mother I want to be.” During the break she and her father parted ways as business partners. She travelled, visited museums and took in various cultural performances during this time. The public speculated that Bey was focussing on starting a family.

Beyonce didn’t share when exactly she had a miscarriage in the early stages of her pregnancy, just that she did. “I flew back to New York to get my check up—and no heartbeat,” she recalled sadly in the HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream. ‘Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.”

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 04: Beyonce and Jay Z attend the “China: Through The Looking Glass” Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Beyonce makes quite a fashionable entrance at the Met Gala 2015 after the debacle at the previous year’s party

Luckily she became pregnant again in 2011 and this time she would bear the baby full term. After cautiously keeping the pregnancy a secret, she decided not to say anything but let the image do the talking by wearing a red clingy gown to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2011, rubbing her pregnant belly during a performance of Love On Top and saying “Tonight I want you to stand up on your feet, I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me,” the mosttweeted moment of the year. and unbuttoning her blazer at the end and proudly rubbing her stomach.

Solange kicking and punching Jay Z in The Standard hotel elevator when the 2014 Met Gala post party went viral after it was leaked to TMZ

Jay Z holding his cheek after the incident

A source revealed to a reporter, “Rachel used to be an intern at Rocawear back in the day. It was alleged that Jay and Dash would pass girls around that office. Jay’s partying shot when the music label split was, ‘and I had your wife'”

Later she said: “I didn’t want a crazy picture or gossip story to break the news, so I decided to say nothing and proudly show my baby bump.”

Indian-Dutch Californian fashion designer Rachel Roy

In an interview she said, “being pregnant was very much like falling in love. You are so open. You are so overjoyed. There’s no words that can express having a baby growing inside of you, so of course you want to scream it out and tell everyone. ‘I felt the baby kick for the first time. Kicked five times.”

Following the baby news the pair gradually grew more and more comfortable with PDAs (public displays of affection). They were even spotted on double dates with fellow high-profile pals Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Always the hard working, thorough professional, she dropped another number one album with the popular tracks: Run the World (Girls) and Best Thing I Never Had.

Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade was a huge critical and commercial success

On January 7, 2012, Beyoncé gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. In an official statement released after the birth, the couple announced: “Her birth was emotional and extremely peaceful, we are in heaven. We are thankful to everyone for all your prayers, well wishes, love and support.”

Two days later, an emotional Jay Z released Glory, a song dedicated to their child, on his social website The song detailed the couple’s pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Beyoncé suffered before becoming pregnant with their daughter. Because Blue’s cries were included at the end of the song and she was officially credited on the song as “B.I.C”, and at 2 days old becoming the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart.

Rita Ora posted a picture of herself wearing a bra with lemons on it and a necklace with the inital J, but then denied being the other woman after getting trolled by Beyonce fans called Bey-hive

With their marriage going well, the couple celebrated their four-year wedding anniversary by renewing their vows in front of a star-studded group of friends and family, which reportedly included Oprah Winfrey, in early 2012. A few days later, Jay Z was spotted leaving jewellers Jacob. And Co. sporting a new gold ring on his ring finger.

Bey sported a t-shirt with Aaliyah
(Dash’s late ex-fiancee)
on it to get back at Rachel

Beyonce went on a sell-out Mrs. Carter World Tour around the globe, and shared with her fans an intimate look at family life with candid behind-the-scenes pictures of the couple kissing and holding each other.

When Jay received the Grammy for Holy Grail, his Justin Timberlake collaboration, he pointed to Bey and said, “I want to thank God, I mean a little for this award, but mostly for that and all the universes for conspiring and putting that beautiful light of a young woman in my life. And I want to tell Blue that look, Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you!”

Comparing his hard life growing up without a father to how he was planning to bring her up, he said on MTV,“I was going to have to go through some things, and they were preparing me. She has to love herself, she has to know who she is, she has to be respectful and be a moral person.”

In addition to his record company, Jay Z has many other investments and sources of income. He is the co-brand director for Budweiser Select, advising on strategic marketing programs for media and high profile events as well as creative ad development He has been a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team. He has launched his own sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, his own Life + Times website, real estate development company, J Hotels, which owns a $66 million mid-block parcel in Chelsea, NYC, as a potential site for a 12 storey hotel and/or art gallery, has invested $200 million in Armand de Brignac champagne owned Sovereign Brands, a New York-based wine and spirits company, and even has his own brand of Cuban cigars. In an interview, he said, “my brands are an extension of me. They’re close to me. It’s not like running GM (General Motors) where there’s no emotional attachment.”

Jay and Bey overtook supermodel Gisele Bundchen and pro quarterback footballer Tom Brady as Forbes magazine’s highest-paid celebrity couple in 2012, with an estimated total income of $78 million combined.

Beyonce sat down for a long interview with Oprah, in which she opened up about her marriage. “I would not be the woman I am if I did not go home to that man. It gives me such a foundation.” She also described her earlier miscarriage as being “one of the hardest things I’ve been through.”

In December 2013, Beyoncé unexpectedly released her eponymous fifth studio album on the iTunes Store without any prior announcement or promotion. The album debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, making her the first woman in the chart’s history to have first five studio albums debut at number one. Beyoncé received critical acclaim and commercial success for the album that sold one million digital copies worldwide in six days. Musically an electro-R&B album, it has darker themes previously unexplored in her work, such as “bulimia, postnatal depression, and the fears and insecurities of marriage and motherhood,” according to a critic. On the one hand, the single Drunk in Love, featuring Jay Z,  showed the world how the couple has passionate sex in the kitchen. On the other,  on the track Mine, Bey appears to express doubts about the relationship, singing: “Been having conversations about breakups and separations/I’m not feeling like myself since the baby/Are we gonna even make it? Oooh/Cause if we are, we’re taking this a little too far.”

But soon all was to be revealed. By April 2014, the uber successful music couple had sold a combined 300 million records together, but all was not well at home. At the Met Gala 2014 after party in The Standard Hotel, Jay Z was seen bumping into Rachel Roy by Solange Knowles. Rachel had also climbed the career ladder and had been made creative director of women’s and children’s lines at Rocawear clothing in 2001. Four years later, Rachel married Dash, amid rumours she had already enjoyed a brief fling with Jay Z, which is alleged to have cemented their closeness over the years.

Pregnant with twins

Rachel’s blossoming relationship with Kim Kardashian, whose soon to be husband Kanye West was close friends with Jay Z, was another link between them. By this time, Rachel had gotten divorced from Dash and was close to Jay after two decades of association. This was a relationship that Bey didn’t trust or like. Solange and Rachel even exchanged words at the party after the latter had spoken to Jay. Solange, Jay and Beyonce were leaving the party when in the elevator the camera recorded a heated exchange in which Solange actually physically attacked her brother in law who to his credit did not defend himself. In the full three-minute video, a bodyguard has to physically restrain Solange as she tries to repeatedly punch and kick Jay Z. The recording was leaked to TMZ and went viral.

In the morning the Knowles-Carter family tried to whitewash the story by issuing a statement: “As a result of the public release of the elevator security footage from Monday, May 5th, there has been a great deal of speculation about what triggered the unfortunate incident. But the most important thing is that our family has worked through it. Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologized to each other and we have moved forward as a united family. The reports of Solange being intoxicated or displaying erratic behavior throughout that evening are simply false. At the end of the day, families have problems and we’re no different. We love each other and above all we are family. We’ve put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same.”

Jay, Barack and Bruce at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2017

The sisters also posted a series of happy pictures of them together on Instagram before 7 a.m. New York time the day after the footage was leaked.

Bey and Jay’s absence at Kim and Kanye’s wedding that year was conspicuous. They were on holiday at the time in Europe and could easily have made it. Perhaps it was due to Rachel Roy’s attendance at the wedding that kept them at bay. Beyonce has remained cold to Kim despite the fact that their husbands were friends, and Kanye had even caused embarrassment to himself  when  he disrupted Taylor Swift’s speech at the 2009 VMAs and insisted that Beyonce deserved have rightfully won the award. Kim has also repeatedly made  overtures towards Beyonce but only to be repeatedly publically rebuffed.

Rumours continue to dog  Bey and Jay with claims that they were planning a trial separation but did not want to go ahead with a divorce due to their complicated financial and work entanglements. A source told The New York Post’s Page Six: “They are trying to figure out a way to split without divorcing. This is a huge concert tour and they’ve already gotten most of the money from the promoters up front. There are no (wedding) rings (currently on their fingers), if you haven’t noticed.”

The Carters are a family of five now after the birth of twins

But the show must go on. After much speculation, Beyoncé and Jay Z spent the summer of 2014 on their On the Run Tour, the couple’s first co-headlining stadium tour together. All seemed hunky dory with the couple holding hands and kissing onstage as lots of intimate home video footage helped to reinforce the couple’s commitment to each other. There was a hiccup, however, at the Cincinnati show when Beyoncé changed the lyrics to her ballad Resentment (which she performed in a wedding gown). The line “I’ll always remember feeling like I was no good/Like I couldn’t do it for you like your mistress could” was replaced with “I’ll always remember feeling like I was no good/ Like I couldn’t do it for you like that wack bitch could.” And “Been ridin’ with you for six years…/ I gotta look at her in her eyes and see she’s had half of me” became a harsher “Been ridin’ with you for 12 years…/I gotta look at her in her eyes and see she’s had half of me./She ain’t even half of me. That bitch will never be.”

By the end of the year, Forbes reported that Beyoncé was the top-earning woman in music for the second year in a row, earning $115 million in the year, more than double her earnings in 2013.

“They had been having problems for years,” revealed a source close to the couple. “There was a constant commitment issue between them and in the end they were barely speaking. Beyoncé didn’t fully trust Jay and it was hard for her to get past that And so began an intense period of reflection for the couple. They went to a lot of counseling and have been working on their issues ever since. They had help to get them through it.”

Apparently, the couple took some time to work on their marriage and went into marital therapy together at the end of which Beyonce decided to use her songwriting as a form of catharsis or perhaps she was ready to tell her story and make a buck out of it. Beyonce dropped her visual album Lemonade that debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making Beyoncé the first act in Billboard history to have their first six studio albums debut atop the chart. With all 12 tracks of Lemonade debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Beyoncé also became the first female act to chart 12 or more songs at the same time. Additionally, Lemonade was streamed 115 million times through Tidal, setting a record for the most-streamed album in a single week by a female artist in history. The previous year, Jay Z had completed the $56 million acquisition of Aspiro, a Norwegian media technology company that operates the subscription-based music streaming service Tidal, so they were both in on using the rumours about their marriage to make money. They put a spin on the story to suit their purpose.

“The album was released on Tidal, Jay’s streaming service, and what better way to draw attention to Beyoncé’s album release than to hint at all the speculation about past problems in their marriage,’’ a source revealed.

In one song, named Sorry, Beyonce sings the following lines discussing the break-down of a relationship and the presence of another woman: “So what are you gonna say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me?/Here lies the body of the love of my life/whose heart I broke without a gun to my head./He better call Becky with the good hair.”

Lemonade traces the story not just of infidelity, but also of reconciliation. It starts with Beyoncé questioning her relationship. “Are you cheating on me?” she asks the viewer. When the evidence of unfaithfulness becomes conclusive, she protests: “They don’t love you like I love you,” followed by anger: “I’m gonna fuck me up a bitch,” she sings baseball bat in hand. Later she adds, “Who the f___ do you think I am?/You ain’t married to an average bitch, boy!/You can watch my fat ass twist, b

Good Times


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