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4 Lessons From Sneaking Into Jay-Z's 4:44 Concert In Atlanta

Here’s how we just nearly avoided jail time sneaking into Jay-Z’s 4:44 concert and 4 lessons I learned from it.

My best friend and I were watching YouTube when we came across a video from a channel called YesTheory.

YesTheory’s video showed a group of middle-aged friends sneaking into a private movie premiere in LA.

We laughed in awe as they snuck past each layer of security all the way until they were inside the prestigious red carpet event.

As the outro rolled, we looked at each other and I said, “Remember when we were bold like that. What happened to us?”

My best friend got a mischievous look in his eye and responded, '“We’re still bold like that. Let’s sneak into a premiere right now!”

I nervously laughed but he pulled up a new tab and started searching for movie premieres in Atlanta.

Luckily for us, there were no movies premiering that day.

What we found instead was one of the most hyped events of the decade.

Jay-Z was performing his new album at his limited access 4:44 concert in Atlanta that night.

And we were going to sneak into it.

Here’s how we just nearly avoided jail time sneaking into Jay-Z’s 4:44 concert and 4 lessons I learned from it.

1) Searching is a superpower.

We decided we were going to sneak into this super hyped up event, but we had so many things to figure out.

What time is the event?

Where is this event?

Where on Earth will we sit?

What happens if security catches us?

Oh yeah…and most importantly how on Earth are we going to pull this off.

They don’t talk about all these things in the Youtube videos.

It’s just funny intros, cool montage clips, and ta-da you’re in the event.

But we had to actually make it happen.

And that’s when I learned that searching is a superpower.

We searched through Google and saw that the event was at 8pm that night.

We had about 6 hours to devise and execute a plan.

After we learned where the event was, we realized the only way to get through security was to have some kind of ticket or pass.

Rather than cough up the money, we used social media to search through every post related to the concert.

And lo and behold we found a photo of a random tour member smiling with a picture of an all-access pass.

We saved that photo immediately and my best friend got to work recreating a near identical all-access pass for the concert.

We printed them at Staples, laminated both sides, and attached some cheap lanyards and we were ready to go.

The key here was using search to our advantage.

The truth is, the information you need is all around you.

The people who learn to search and navigate the best, are the ones who will get the most value.

Searching is a superpower.

Learn how to wield it for your own good.

2) Confidence is key.

In every video we watched for inspiration, they arrived early and successfully snuck in under the guise of a tour/event member.

When we arrived in the city, it was 7:45pm and the concert was scheduled to start in 15 minutes.

There was no way anyone would buy that we were stage hands that was arriving 15 minutes before a show.

We were extremely nervous but for whatever reason we kept walking towards the arena.

As we crossed the street to the arena, hundreds of fans were flooding towards the entrance .

And because we were late we didn’t take a second to talk through any plan, strategy, or story.

We just kept walking.

You could feel the intense glares of jealous fans as we swiftly walked by.

We walked up the steps, pass all the lines of fans, and approached the building doors.

With the knockoff all-access passes dangling from our chests, we grew confident as we stepped inside.

Until we heard a lady sternly say, “Stop. Where are you going?”

We froze in place, and our hearts dropped almost simultaneously.

It felt like 15 minutes of silence as I watched beads of sweat forming on my best friend’s face.

I thought to myself, “We have to be confident. Confidence is key.”

And then it happened.

I looked the security guard right in the eye and desperately professed, “We’re a part of the media team. Our flight was super late and we can’t find the employee entrance!”

I quickly waved the knockoff passes for just long enough for the flaws to not be noticeable.

She looked both of us up and down, and smiled and said, “No worries, right this way.”

And we were personally escorted pass all other security checkpoints right into the heart of the arena.

If I didn’t dig deep and find confidence in that moment, we would of been busted and went straight to jail.

But confidence was the key.

I realized that someone with a real all access pass wouldn’t be afraid to access well…anywhere.

So neither should we.

Confidence is often the key ingredient to going from good to great.

Don’t let your doubts hold you back from walking through doors that only require a little confidence.

3) Everything has a brand.

When we were setting everything up for our night of crazy escapades, we made sure to think through our brand.

We decided to make our all access passes say, “Media” on them.

If you think about it, no one’s getting all access passes to a Jay-Z concert just because.

You have to have a role to play.

So we chose media.

And because we already had experience with film and videography we decided to lean into this brand.

So we put media on the passes, dressed like creatives in all black that were trying to stay out of the “shot”, and brought some camera gear.

When we got through security, we were under zero suspicion because we were walking with actual tripods and expensive DSLR cameras.

And this helped even more as we walked through the event.

Rather than heading straight to the best seats we could find, we decided to go where “media” would go.

So we walked pass the nosebleed level, pass the mosh pits, and straight to the ground floor seats where all the celebrities were.

We didn’t even look for seats to sit in.

We saw the real media team standing in a corner filming and decided to “film” as well.

So we got to watch the entire concert from the best view that was a few feet away from Jay-Z himself.

We knew what brand we were portraying and we played the part.

We accessed nearly the entire stadium, including the VIP lounge.

The truth is everyone and everything has a brand.

You have to know your brand and maximize the value you can get from it.

If we snuck in as construction workers, we would have no business being two feet away from Jay-Z.

You have a brand and your brand will afford you certain opportunities.

But you have to really be the brand.

And if you have no brand, then your brand is just average.

Never go anywhere or do anything worthy of your time without knowing what your brand is.

Because people will know your brand before you ever open your mouth to say hello.

4) Fake it IF you make it.

As the concert neared an end, we wanted to see how far we could push our limits.

We got free food, we got to rub shoulders with some B-list celebs, and we got a free floor seat performance of Jay-Z’s iconic 4:44 album.

We pretty much faked our way to doing exactly what we set out to do.

But we didn’t get to go backstage and meet Jay-Z or his opening acts in person.

And we just so happened to run into a friend that was at the concert legally.

They were connected with Jay-Z’s manager and were gifted free seats. (Not better seats than the media team ; )

But when Jay-Z closed out the event, our friend came over and told us they’d love to get backstage to meet the man himself.

We were feeling so confident about our all access passes that we told our friend to follow us and we’d get them backstage.

We had no idea if we could.

But we faked it this far, so why stop now.

The lights shut on, and fans were scattering out the building, but we darted straight to the backstage hall.

We were greeted by a big huge security guard who said only backstage access people were allowed back.

We laughed and showed him our all-access media passes.

He looked at it intensely and then proceeded to scream out, “Hey Jim look at this!”

Jim came by and he looked like a serious guy.

Jim gave us back the passes and said, “These are fake. You guys need to get out of here now!”

Rather than confidence our way out of it, the embarrassment of being outed in front of our friend made us walk away in shame.

And that’s why now I don’t believe in faking it til you make it, but rather faking it IF you make it.

Faking who you are and what you can do doesn’t help anyone.

And at some point your luck is going to run out.

Look at the major frauds doing life sentences like Elizabeth Holmes, Sam-Bankman Fried, and Bernie Madoff.

They are paying the price of faking everything and you will too if you follow in their footsteps.

Instead, you should be honest and real with yourself.

Only if you make it to an opportunity where you feel out of your league, should you fake it.

And by fake it I mean faking it to yourself so you can be confident.

Not faking others.

Fake it til you make it is a recipe for short term gains and long term failures.

Do hard genuine work, and when the big opportunities arise, fake it then.

Tell yourself you belong, and you can perform at the highest level.

That’s how the world’s best beat their imposter syndrome.

And our crazy bold night of sneaking into Jay-Z’s concert would of been perfect if we didn’t fake it and embarrass ourselves at the end of it all.

Instead we should of been honest with our friend about how we really got in the concert, and maybe even asked they could of got us real free tickets in the first place…

In progress,


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