As you’ve all heard by now, the First Couple of music is expecting. Beyoncé Knowles (who long ago stopped needing her last name out of sheer celebrity – a task made much easier when no one else has the same first name as you, as evidenced Cher and Oprah) is pregnant with Jay-Z’s (né Shawn Carter’s) child. This kid is going to be in the spotlight from the ultrasounds onward. That kind of pressure takes a toll on a child; it’s going to be a struggle to stay grounded and live a normal life. And who better to offer some words of wisdom on the topic of maintaining a regular existence than me, a guy that no one has ever heard of? So to baby Knowles-Carter, here are some tidbits to make life run a little bit more smoothly.
1. Your Dad Used To Be Cool
Here’s the elephant in the room. Jay-Z is forty-one years old. That’s kind of long in the tooth to be a first time dad. Right now, as he awaits your birth, he’s on top of the rap game, but how many rappers can say they’ve kept a hip-hop career going as they approached fifty?
My guess is, by the time you hit middle school, Old Man Hova will have his own ABC Family sitcom called Hangin’ With Hov. He’s kept himself in the game longer than gangstas-turned-teddy bears Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, but sooner or later, he’s going to be less Blueprint and more Are We There Yet? But for a rapper, that’s aging gracefully. Do you really want to hear an old man crankily reminiscing about how he was “pushing weight back in ‘88” when he’s actually eighty-eight? I didn’t think so.
2. Be Proud of Your Name
Celebrity kids get saddled with some real clunkers, but I have a hunch that your parents will buck that trend. Jay and Bey both have strong senses of their own places in American history and even more specifically, in African American history. Chances are, you’ll be able to avoid the worst of celebrity names (Quinoa Carter), made-up apostrophe names (Le’Majisty Carter), vanity names (Youngest Hova or Destiny III) and rich people names (Carter C. Carter Esq.). I would bet on something dignified from a Black artist or civil rights leader. Appreciate the fact that you’ll likely be Malcolm, Martin, Maya, or The Notorious BIG and not Apple or Moon Unit.
3. Don’t Dig Too Deep Into Your Parents’ Pasts
Most of us have the benefit of learning about our parents’ childhoods through photo albums or anecdotes. You also have the opportunity to hear the hit singles about your folks’ early years. My recommendation: Don’t. It’s very confusing to hear about the infidelities of your mother’s old boyfriends (“Say My Name”) or to realize that your dad’s extracurriculars used to include big pimpin’ up in NYC. Seriously, you’re going to hear things you won’t be able to unhear. If you’re curious, though, I’m sure dad’s old pal Bun B will tell you lots of stories when he’s in town for the weekend.
4. You’re Still Just a Kid
You’re going to grow up rich, and most likely famous. Just remember to listen to your parents. They’ve been through a lot. Your mother is a survivor. She pays her own telephone bill and automobill, the latter of which is a portmanteau that she invented combining automobiles and bill. Your father lived a hard knock life.
You’ll probably think you know everything, but there’s a lot for you to learn. Don’t get too big a head on your shoulders (which is something someone should have told your dad’s last protégé, Kanye West). Remember, your mother brought you into this world, and she can take you out of it. Or, in other words, she can make another you in a minute.
5. Take Your Education Seriously
You’ve got to learn more than “1+1” and “H to the Izzo before V to the Izzay except after C.” Go to school. Study. Follow your passions. You have a world full of opportunity and excitement at your fingertips. Soak it all up. Good luck to you, little Carter-Knowles, and godspeed.
And please, never make a music video about whipping your hair back and forth.