Beyonce's 10 Greatest Beyonces Of All-Time

Parkwood Entertainment screenshot
Parkwood Entertainment screenshot

We first met Beyonce as Teenaged Beyonce — a member of the preternaturally talented and peculiarly attired Destiny's Child. And now, she's firmly ensconced into Grown-Ass Beyonce. Or, if you prefer, Capricorn Cabaret Beyonce. Or perhaps even "Who's The Thick Aunt In The Stands With The Shades And The Cooler At Soccer Practice? She's Fine As Hell. Oh Shit, That's Beyonce?" Beyonce.


But in between there have been many Beyonces. So many that they deserve a ranking.

10. Deep Beyonce

Perhaps, in real life, Beyonce is deeper than how I imagine pitchers of mimosas at brunches in Heaven to be. (And, considering how shrewd she must be to be as successful as she is, this is probably true.)

But when Beyonce attempts to get deep, publicly, it always has the same reaction. "I wish Beyonce would not attempt to get deep, publicly, again."

9. Actress Beyonce

I actually don't mind Beyonce in movies very much. Because, if the movie is particularly intense or heart-wrenching, seeing her on screen reminds you it's just a movie. "Whew," I think to myself "that scene had my heart racing, until I saw Beyonce. And remembered it's just a movie. Because Beyonce is on screen playing Beyonce."

8. Silly Based God Beyonce

I like Silly Beyonce — which she reveals from time-to-time in videos, unedited footage, and the actual titles of her actual songs. I also like Based God Beyonce, which appears when she tweets things like "Hi, everyone!" and "Oranges are orange" and shuts down the entire internet.


And, with 7/11 — a track which features lines like "Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap it" and "Spinnin', I'm spinnin', I'm spinnin' while my hands up" but still somehow managed to be one of the biggest songs of the year — Silly Beyonce and Based God Beyonce combined to create Silly Based God Beyonce.

7. Sexy Thundergoat Beyonce

The "Thundergoat" is a term I first heard over a decade ago on Havoc, my cousin's seminal message board. It was coined to describe how Beyonce was whirling and twisting and twirling around in the "Baby Boy" video. Basically, like a Sexy Thundergoat.

And this tends to happen when Beyonce, who's already stocked to the brim with sex appeal, tries to go extra hard on the sexy. It's like chasing Hennessy with Jack Daniels. It's already brown enough, man.


6. Corporate With Cameras Around Beyonce

Also known as "I'm worth 500 million dollars, bitch" Beyonce and "My husband and sister were just fighting in the elevator but I'm going to act like we were just exchanging quinoa recipes" Beyonce.


5. Hood Beyonce

Although Third World Trill is desperately in need of more people, I'm always amused when Beyonce does and says some hood-ass shit. Like rock a grill. Or marry a rapper from Brooklyn. Or name her child a color.


4. "Welp!" Beyonce

One of the more interesting — and, if you're a hip-hop fan, kinda depressing — developments over the last decade or so is that singers, and not rappers, have had the most transcendent and memorable quotables. At the top of this list is Beyonce, who every once in a while will include a line in a song that's so hilariously, shit-talkingly, and awesomely petty that the only rationale response to it is "Welp!" Because of course — of course! — some shits gonna go down when there's a billion dollars in an elevator.


This is Beyonce's way of letting us know she's paying attention to all you haters with that Illuminati mess. Basically, it's her way of knowing she can be a Beyonce fan.

3. Feminist Beyonce

Because I enjoy reading the thinkpieces debating Feminist Beyonce's merits. And because somewhere out there a PhD student is preparing to defend her thesis connecting Beyonce to The Bluest Eye in front of a panel full of 78-year-old White people, and the thought of that tickles me.


2. Ratchet Beyonce

Yes, creating an entire song around the surfborting you do in your car while other people happen to be in it is some ratchet-ass shit. I don't care if it's a million dollar car and there's a shower curtain between the seats obscuring the view, it's still ratchet. Awesome, but ratchet. That said, I appreciate it when Beyonce shows us that Donald Trump isn't the only billionaire with a predilection towards ratchetivity.


1. Black Beyonce

Although she still gets a side eye for “You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bama“ (Because, um, aren't creoles negroes too? That's like saying "you mix that lobster and that catfish and you get some seafood."), I really appreciate this Vanta Black stage of Beyonce's career. I'll all in on "hot sauce in my bag"/make White people anxious Beyonce.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Brandon Allen

The greatest Beyonce is "Check on It" Beyonce.
Hands down. Other parts up.