Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s ‘On the Run II’ Tour: Tale of the Tape
Beyoncé and Jay-Z are about to launch their second co-headlining world tour, making this the perfect time to compare and contrast their two impressive careers.
Of course, music's long-reigning royal couple – who just celebrated their 10-year anniversary – almost certainly aren't looking at this tour as a competition, but instead as another chance to expand their combined empires.
After all, their first On the Run tour in 2014 racked up over $100 million dollars in ticket sales, and it is projected that this trek – which kicks off June 6 in Cardiff, Wales, hits North America on July 25 in Cleveland, Ohio and is currently set to conclude on Oct. 4 in Seattle, Washington – could earn as much as double that total.
While the two have focused on more intimate projects in recent years, with both Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44 tackling topics such as black families, racism, self-care, infidelity and mental health, as a couple, their net worth is estimated at have grown to over one billion dollars.
Together the couple have made a huge impact on music and pop culture. Jay-Z has sold more than 50 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide. Beyoncé has sold 17 million albums in the U.S., and over 100 million records worldwide.
So again, even though this is not a competition, we're going to use this "tale of the tape" to pretend it is just for a few minutes and see how the careers of Jay-Z and Beyonce stack up to each other.
Jay-Z: Hard Knock Life
Jay-Z was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he spent the majority of his adolescence in and out of trouble. He would eventually drop out of high school to become a full-time drug dealer. While Jay had a hustler's spirit, he also knew how to kick a rhyme. Rapper Jaz-O took notice and in 1989, they recorded a song together called "The Originators" and appeared on Yo! MTV Raps. Jay-Z also worked with Big Daddy Kane and performed during his sets when Kane had outfit changes.
Even with all the initial success, Jay couldn't manage to get a record deal. In 1996, he teamed up with Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs to form their own independent label, Roc-A-Fella Records. In June of that same year, Jay-Z released his first studio album, Reasonable Doubt.
Beyoncé: Southern Belle
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles was born and raised in Houston. Knowles lived a middle-class life, her mother, Tina Lawson owned a hair salon and her father, Matthew Knowles worked as a professional at Xerox. While most kids were playing with dolls, at the age of 10 Beyoncé was already in her first all-girls group called Girls Tyme.
After losing on Star Search, one of the biggest national talent shows on television at the time, Matthew Knowles decided to resign from his job and manage the group full-time. He eventually cut some of the members and the name of the group was changed to Destiny's Child. At 17, Beyoncé and her partners landed their first major record deal with Columbia Records. Destiny's Child would go on to sell millions of records as a group. In 2002, Beyoncé appeared on Jay-Z's "03 Bonnie & Clyde," which was her first move as a solo artist.
Jay-Z: Reasonable Doubt (June 25, 1996)
When Jay-Z released Reasonable Doubt, the album debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard 200. Arguably one of Jay-Z's best works, the album is considered a classic among the hip-hop community and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2006.
Beyoncé: Dangerously in Love (June 23, 2003)
It was almost impossible for Beyoncé to fail with Dangerously in Love. Not only had she come from a successful group, her first single, "Crazy in Love," featured Jay-Z and topped the Billboard Hot 100. The album sold 317,000 copies in the first week and produced four singles, "Crazy In Love," "Baby Boy." "Me, Myself, and I," and "Naughty Girl."
Jay-Z: "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" (Oct. 27, 1998)
Jay-Z had already received success with the release of his first two albums, Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. But it was his third studio record, Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, that took Jay-Z's career to new heights. It sold 350,000 units in the first week and became his first No. 1.
Much of the credit goes to the catchy single, "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)," and Jay-Z has been a permanent fixture on the pop culture scene ever since. Vol. 2 also took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards and, by 2000, the RIAA had certified the album 5x-platinum.
Beyoncé: "Single Ladies" (Oct. 13, 2008)
It's hard to pinpoint one specific album or song that created Beyoncé's success. But it's undeniable that, after the release of her third studio album, I Am...Sasha Fierce, she went from being a very popular singer to an omnipresent cultural force.
I Am...Sasha Fierce brought with it "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." Her fifth No. 1 single as a solo artist, the song became so popular that it was 2009's seventh best-selling digital single, with 6.1 million units sold. It won three Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year. And let's not forget that video...
No. 1 Albums
Jay-Z: With 13 No. 1 albums, Jay-Z has had more chart-toppers than any other solo act – of any genre – in the history of the Billboard 200. He's also been recognized by Guinness World Records for having the most No. 1 rap albums. His only releases that didn't reach No. 1 were: Reasonable Doubt, In My Lifetime... Vol.1, and 2002's The Best of Both Worlds, a collaboration with R. Kelly.
Beyoncé: Not to be outdone, she is the only solo artist to have all six of her albums debut at No. 1. So when she said, "I break the internet, top two and I ain't number two," on DJ Khaled's "Top Off," she wasn't lying.
Most Recent Album
Jay-Z: 4:44 (June 30, 2017)
4:44 came out as an exclusive to Sprint and Tidal customers. With this unique partnership, Jay-Z sold one million copies in its first week of release. The album itself was very personal and touched on topics like mental health, racism, the black family, love, being a father, and so much more. Every song was accompanied by visuals and followed by intimate conversations with Jay-Z explaining his creative process. It was the answer people had been seeking after Beyoncé's Lemonade raised questions about the health of their relationship in 2016.
Beyoncé: Lemonde (April 23, 2016)
When Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album back in 2013 without any announcement or promotion, it seemed as though she had reached her peak. And then came Lemonade. The 12-song album was accompanied by a 65-minute film which aired exclusively on HBO. As with all of her records, it debuted at No. 1, selling 485,000 copies in its first week (653,000 with additional album-equivalent units).
Critics and fans have raved that Lemonade is Beyoncé's best project to date. On it, she tackled black femininity, black empowerment, race issues in America, female identity and so much more. Each song was woven together perfectly to create a visual album that years from now will still be relevant.
Worst To Best: Every Jay-Z Album Ranked