The late musician Prince had a famous line: "I can't be played. A person trying to play me, plays themselves." It's memeworthy material, but the great purple one practiced it well until his death. In fact, R & B queen Beyonce and hip-hop champ Drake, both influenced by Prince, have been acolytes following the same philosophy. Here are 3 masterful ways this trio has one-uped critics - and made money in the process.
Prince turns pancakes into profits
Prince's pop cultural popularity crested in the '80s and '90s, but younger generations learned more about him from an unexpected source: Comedian Dave Chappelle. His brief, popular sketch comedy series The Chappelle Show had a hilarious (and true!) segment on Prince's obsession with breakfast. It mocked everything, from his sexy persona to his slight 5'2" build.
It could have been as damaging as South Park skewering Kanye West. Instead, the musician reportedly did not respond to the comedian's jokes... until a decade later, when he used a still shot of Chappelle dressed as Prince for his single "Breakfast Can Wait".
Let's recap: A pop star mercilessly teased on an extremely popular show uses a clip from said show to sell records. "That's a Prince judo move right there," Chappelle said on a talk show. "You make fun of Prince in a sketch and he'll just use you as an album cover. What am I going to do, sue him for using a picture of me dressed up like him? It's impossible. That's checkmate right there!"
Lesson: It's not what happens that creates a loss, but how you react to it
Beyonce boycotts herself
Beyonce has a massive hit on her hands with the new album "Lemonade", but the lead single, "Formation", trumped up a ton of controversy when it debut at the Super Bowl. The tough anthem not only was aggressive for the pop star, but critics decried inspiration from the controversial Black Panthers. Police organizations as well as former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani called for protests.
This past week, Beyonce launched her Formation tour and had the usual merchandise - aside from one curious slogan. "Boycott Beyonce" was emblazoned on t-shirts. They reportedly sell for $45!
Lesson: Don't fight your criticism; just show the absurdity
Drake uses his adversary to make a hit
Drake is one of the most popular rappers today, but he has more than his share of critics. The biggest one may be once-hot rapper DMX who, in an infamous radio interview, said the one rapper he hated was Drake. "I don't like anything about Drake. I don't like his voice. I don't like what he talks about. I don't like his face. I don't like the way he walks. Nothing." Drake didn't do an official response at the time.
However, this past week listeners to his highly anticipated album "Views" heard a familiar voice on there: DMX. Drake sampled two old songs by the rapper and used it to create the song "U With Me". Two big truths here: First, as one of the most popular music stars today, Drake's new album will likely sell a million copies; Second, based on the average rapper contract, DMX's record label, and not the man himself, likely gave Drake permission to sample his voice. In other words, DMX probably didn't have a choice but to cooperate.
Lesson: The best revenge is forcing a detractor to participate in your success