This post originally appeared on the blog Very Smart Brothas. It’s reprinted with the author’s permission.
We first met Beyoncé as Teenage Beyoncé—a member of the preternaturally talented and peculiarly attired Destiny’s Child. And now, she’s firmly ensconced into Grown-Ass Beyoncé. Or, if you prefer, Capricorn Cabaret Beyoncé. 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 Beyoncé?” Beyoncé.
But in between there have been many Beyoncés. So many that they deserve a ranking.
10. Deep Beyoncé
Perhaps, in real life, Beyoncé 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 Beyoncé attempts to get deep, publicly, it always has the same reaction: I wish Beyoncé would not attempt to get deep, publicly, again.
9. Actress Beyoncé
I actually don’t mind Beyoncé 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 Beyoncé. And remembered it’s just a movie. Because Beyoncé is on screen playing Beyoncé.
8. Silly Based God Beyoncé
I like Silly Beyoncé—which she reveals from time to time in videos, unedited footage, and the actual titles of her actual songs. I also like Based God Beyoncé, 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 that 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 Beyoncé and Based God Beyoncé combined to create Silly Based God Beyoncé.
7. Sexy Thundergoat Beyoncé
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 Beyoncé was whirling and twisting and twirling around in the “Baby Boy” video. Basically, like a Sexy Thundergoat.
And this tends to happen when Beyoncé, 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 Beyoncé
Also known as I’m worth 500 million dollars, bitch Beyoncé and My husband and sister were just fighting in the elevator, but I’m going to act like we were just exchanging quinoa recipes Beyoncé.
5. Hood Beyoncé
Although Third World Trill is desperately in need of more people, I’m always amused when Beyoncé 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!” Beyoncé
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 Beyoncé, 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 shit’s gonna go down when there’s a billion dollars in an elevator.
This is Beyoncé’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 Beyoncé fan.
3. Feminist Beyoncé
Because I enjoy reading the think-pieces debating Feminist Beyoncé’s merits. And because somewhere out there a Ph.D. student is preparing to defend her thesis connecting Beyoncé 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 Beyoncé
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 Beyoncé shows us that Donald Trump isn’t the only billionaire with a predilection towards ratchetivity.
1. Black Beyoncé
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 Vantablack stage of Beyoncé’s career. I’m all in on “hot sauce in my bag”/make white people anxious Beyoncé.