-- How did Beyoncé outdo Beyoncé?
That is the question on everybody's mind following the release of the "Formation" singer's visual album "Lemonade," which debuted over the weekend on HBO, and was released initially on Tidal, followed by iTunes earlier this week.
The highly-anticipated visual album was received with critical acclaim, praised by both fans and critics for its emotional and brutally honest narrative.
Beyoncé highlighted the notion of infidelity in "Lemonade," through intense imagery of pain, anger, hurt and reconciliation.
To better understand the bitter and sweet of "Lemonade," ABC News Radio spoke with Essence magazine relationships editor Charreah Jackson and Vibe magazine senior editor Keith Murphy, who explained how Beyoncé's new album gave the singer a way to express her truth.
Murphy, who described Lemonade as the singer's "freedom era," explained that in comparison to her previous albums, "Lemonade" is completely different than anything she's ever done before.
"The sound of the actual album itself, it sounds like a person that is confident in their own skin," Murphy said. "Beyoncé is not really trying to turn on new fans...she doesn’t care if it plays commercial. She’s in her own space, and this is her freedom era."
"Every artist comes to that moment if you’re a true artist when you just say 'eff it' and do what you want to do," Murphy continued.
Part of the freedom that Beyoncé is embracing through "Lemonade" comes from touching on the emotional process of being betrayed by a loved one. Jackson notes that one reason why this album is so unique for Beyoncé is because the typically-private singer gets extremely personal in the visual album.
"If she just wants to sell a million copies, there are much easier ways for her to sell music than to be that vulnerable...to allude to the fact that her own marriage, which is a part of her own marketing, could have gone through such a terrible time," Jackson said.
"I think her objective was just to be free, to be herself," Jackson continued. "If you really listen to the lyrics, it's really someone who fought to be free of anyone's misconceptions about her -- but also of her own story."
Both Jackson and Murphy agree that although she is a great marketer of her brand, Beyoncé's latest project had nothing to do with pleasing the mainstream.
Described as "unapologetically black" by Murphy, "Lemonade" is a piece of art that can be enjoyed by everybody, even though the narrative speaks to her experience as an African-American woman.
"She is someone who is so meticulous about what she shares publicly, so as she continues to let down those walls, and let people see new sides of her, that's her strength," Jackson said.
"I don’t think she cares about awards for an album like this," Murphy agreed. "She essentially said, I’m gonna make a very black album, and if other people can get into it that’s great--I welcome everybody."
Despite being unlike any of her former albums, the fans love "Lemonade" regardless. The album shot to the top of the iTunes charts in multiple countries, and fans and critics alike credit the raw authenticity of Beyoncé's new "freedom era" for its enthusiastic reception.
"What we are seeing in Beyoncé...is, 'Your strength is in your story,'" Jackson said. "Your strength is in your vulnerability, how much you are willing to share."