After seven sold-out shows, Jay-Z concluded his run with one final concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday (Oct. 6). The rap mogul saluted his hometown with 19,000 people in attendance, and he also shared it with 60,000 viewers who were watching live via YouTube.
Backed by a proficient live band of drummers, keyboardists and DJs called the Roc Boys, Jay-Z’s finale was truly a celebration not only for Brooklyn, but for hip-hop as well. Jigga pretty much stayed with the set list of his earlier concerts and kept his guest list short to one very special person: his wife Beyonce.
Jay kicked off his concert with songs dedicated to the Big Apple and BK including ‘Where I’m From,’ ‘Empire State of Mind and ‘Brooklyn Go Hard.’ He then followed that with a tribute to his late friend and Brooklyn native Notorious B.I.G. with a sing-a-long of ‘Kick in the Door’ and ‘Juicy.’
He also took a moment to express his indifference to critics who felt that his contribution to the Brooklyn Nets was not significant. “Don’t let no one diminish your accomplishment,” he told the crowd. “Here’s the story. A young black male was raised in a single-parent home in a low-income housing project and I stand before you as the owner of the Brooklyn Nets.”
Midway through his show he performed a solo rendition of ’03 Bonnie & Clyde,’ which segued into his surprise of the night — Beyonce. As he left the stage to take a breather, Ms. Carter, dressed in black leather shorts and a matching Brooklyn Nets hat, stood in the middle of the stage to let fans soak in the awesomeness. Then Bey-Bey strutted across the stage before launching into her girl-power track ‘Diva’ followed by ‘Crazy in Love,’ in which Jay-Z quickly returned to recite his verse on the latter.
Before Beyonce could leave the stage, hubby Hov gave her a playful slap on the butt for a job well done. Afterwards, Jay joked with the crowd, “Of course I had to let BK (Beyonce Knowles) touch the stage in BK — well, BKC now.”
Jay-Z then took fans down memory lane to his ’90s hits including a cappella rendition of ‘Dead Presidents,’ which he then segue into ‘Can I Live’ (both from his classic album ‘Reasonable Doubt’). He then followed those jams with his most notables anthems ‘Public Service Announcement,’ ‘Heart in the City’ and ‘Hard Knock Life.’
Near the end of the show, Jay-Z took a quick break and changed out of his all-black Nets jersey to an all-white Nets jersey and matching hat. He told the crowd to take off their cool and turn the Barclays arena into a bumping club. From there he performed a slew of his club bangers including ‘What More Can I Say,’ ‘Jigga (What’s My Name),’ ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.),’ ‘Money Ain’t a Thing’ and ‘Jigga What, Jigga Who?’
He also recited his kingly verses from Snoop Dogg‘s “I Wanna Rock (King G Remix)” and Rick Ross‘ ’3 Kings’ rapping, “Ex D-boy use to park my Beamer / Now look at me I can park in my own arena.” For Jay, his finale at the Barclays Center was his full circle moment.
Hov ended the show with his belief that everyone has “genius-level talent.” “I believe that I’m in the building with 19,000 people that will change the world,” he told the crowd. And with that, he performed his inspiring anthem ‘Young Forever.’ He was joined once again by Beyonce, who sang Mr. Hudson’s hook on the song. Before ending the show, the power couple shared a kiss before they exited off the stage as the BK fans cheered gloriously for their hometown hero.
Grand opening. Grand closing. Welcome home, Jay-Z.
Kanye West and Jay-Z grudgingly allowed a filmmaker to capture footage of their work in the studio while they recorded the collaborative album ‘Watch the Throne.’ The 11-minute documentary (via Global Grind) catches the legendary rappers at work and at play during the recording sessions.
The video, filmed by Robert Lopuski, mixes behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the record with classic clips, like when West first announced that he had signed with Jay-Z’s label. Jay-Z gushes about his former protege, saying, “I’ve seen him from the beginning to where he is now. To see him as a producer, how he’s grown as a producer and an artist, for me, on another level it’s enjoyable. I’m watching a guy I pretty much mentored become his own guy with his own opinion. It’s fantastic.”
The clip also shows private moments between the rappers and Beyonce. In one scene, West presents Jay with an engraved ring for his birthday. Later, as they listen back to the album, Kanye is impressed by his own work, saying, “All that s— is emotional!” There’s even a clip of Russell Crowe sitting around a table with the gang while the song in which Kanye mentions Crowe’s name is played.
Lopuski told Paradigm Magazine it was challenging to shoot the film, because at first the rappers refused to do interviews or to let him record any of their conversations, but gradually, he gained their trust.
Lopuski said, “So much was happening, in such an off-the-cuff kind of way, that I found myself using whatever tools was available. Many times, I would use my cell phone if I had to. There was a lot of use of flip video, iPhone and piece of s— little cameras in that piece. I’d get access without the equipment, and so, once I was inside and they felt comfortable, I used whatever tool I could, which was usually little consumer-grade cameras. It wasn’t until Kanye and I built a rapport on the side that I think he started becoming interested in having me around. I basically spoke freely and challenged what was being made and why.”
Yesterday, the news broke that Jay-Z will be executive producing the new NBA 2K13 video game. And now, Hov lays out the soundtrack for the game, the NBA 2K-EP, via Facebook, which includes songs by Jigga himself, as well as cuts by Kanye West featuring Young Jeezy, Nas, Diddy featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes,U2, Mobb Deep, Santigold, Dirty Projectors, and many more. He even threw “Mercy” on there to ball to. Stream the soundtrack below via Spotify or hit the official Facebook page, and cop the game when it drops October 2.
Listen: Jay-Z’s “NBA2K13” Soundtrack
Rick Ross is keeping fans anticipated for his big album release day on July 31. Just yesterday he shared his feelings on working with Dr. Dre and Jay-Z in the studio together, and now we get to hear the final product. “3 Kings” is produced by Seattle’s own Jake One. It should serve as the last single before God Forgives, I Don’t hit stores in a few weeks.
Listen: Rick Ross f/ Jay-Z & Dr. Dre “3 Kings”
Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis” video won the award for Video of the Year. Jay-Z started off their acceptance speech thanking BET for the award, and then stepped aside to let Kanye speak. And just as ‘Ye began to say his thank yous, Jay interrupted him, saying, “Excuse me Kanye, I’m gonna let you continue, but,” which was an obvious joke and reference to Kanye’s infamous VMA interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech.
Jay-Z and West — aka The Throne — were given the first award of the night, best group, presented after a performance by West.
“I’m bad at losing, and I’m bad at winning,” West said in his acceptance speech. “I’m already saying the wrong thing. I wish Jay-Z was here to say something politically correct for me.”
Jay-Z then suddenly appeared from backstage (he later explained he had gotten held up by “L.A. traffic,” causing him to miss performing with West).
“We worked really hard on this album,” Jay-Z said. “We didn’t take anything for granted. We didn’t rely on our name. … We’re going to just keep making the best stuff ever.”
Meanwhile, Jay-Z and West beat out the former’s wife, Beyonce, for video of the year.
Of the couple, who welcomed a baby girl in January, presenter Jamie Foxx joked that “there’s gonna be an argument at the crib, trying to see who’s the hottest in the household.”
In accepting the video of the year award for “Otis,” Jay-Z also had fun with West, interrupting the latter as he was trying to give his acceptance speech. (West famously interrupted Tayor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to declare his belief that Beyonce should have won the award for best female video.)
“Excuse me, Kanye, I’m gonna let you continue, but ….” Jay-Z joked. West laughed at the jab, as did Beyonce from her front-row seat in the audience.
Beyonce also took home two awards, incuding best female R&B artist. She gave a shoutout to fellow female singers in her acceptance speech.
“I fell in love with music by listening to R&B, and it’s at the core of who I am,” she said. “I want to thank BET for giving R&B a home and also the talented women before me, Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige,and I dedicate this to Whitney Houston, my angel.”
Beyonce and Alan Ferguson also won the video director of the year award.
Chris Brown won best male R&B singer and also performed during the show, but he made no mention of the recent altercation with fellow hip-hop star Drake at a New York club that left at least eight people, including NBA star Tony Parker, injured.
Brown also took home the Fandemonium Award for a third consecutive year.
Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj, who performed during the show, was named best female hip-hop artist for the third year in a row.
“I don’t take it for granted,” she said in accepting the award. “Thank you BET for keeping this category alive and appreciating all the female rappers for doing their thing — past, present and future.”
Big Sean, who performed during the show, was named best new artist, while Yolanda Adams won for best gospel artist.
Best collaboration went to Wale featuring Miguel for “Lotus Flower Bomb.”
Meanwhile, Think Like a Man star Kevin Hart was named best actor.
“First of all I knew I would win,” Hart quipped in accepting his award. “I was a shoo-in, much better than [fellow nominees] Denzel [Washington] and Don Cheadle, a little better than Idris [Elba].”
Hart then turned serious, thanking his fans and saying the honor was “unexpected.”
During the show, Houston was remembered with a tribute that featured Mariah Carey, Brandy, Monica, Chaka Khan and Houston’s mother Cissy and Gary, among others.
Chante Moore peformed a tribute to the late Donna Summer, while Valerie Ashford sang “Ain’t Nothing but the Real Thing” in honor of her late husband, Nick Ashford.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, whose hits include “Happy Feelin’s,” “Lady of Magic,” “Travelin’ Man,” “Feel That You’re Feeling,” “Joy and Pain” and “Look in Your Eyes.” Tyler Perry, Tyrese and Faith Evans were among those taking part in the tribute to the band.
Meanwhiel, the Rev. Al Sharpton was presented with the Humanitarian Award by BET Networks chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee for his work in bringing awareness to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was fatally shot earlier this year by a neighborhood watchman.
The Coca-Cola viewers choice award went to boy band Mindless Behavior, who beat out the likes of Beyonce, Brown, Jay-Z and West, Drake and Wale.
Watch performances from Sunday night’s show below.
Beyonce treated Solange to a helicopter ride, which Solange posted photos of on Twitter. So sweet! The ‘Love on Top’ singer seems to have a thing for aviation — she got Hov a plane for Father’s Day!
Bey wasn’t the only one giving Solange b-day love, either. Proud brother-in-law Jay-Z gave Solange a sweet surprise. At midnight following his performance at the Hackney Festival, Jigga, Bey, Kanye West,Rihanna and more pals began to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Solange, then presented her with a cake and champagne. A source revealed, ”It was really sweet. Solange hadn’t even noticed that it had turned 12 a.m. when Jay got everybody singing together. She was really touched.” So adorbs! Can we be adopted into this family?
The birthday celebration was a pleasant way to end a somewhat dramatic day. Earlier in the evening, Beyonce was upset when a concertgoer insulted her while she was moshing to Jay-Z and West’s performance. A source said, “Whatever was said, it really upset Beyoncé. Jay-Z’s bodyguards weren’t going to have any of it. They waded in and there was a massive ruckus. It got pretty ugly and Beyoncé was whisked away so she wouldn’t get caught in the middle of it.”
Sounds like Bey rose above it — in more ways than one!
Watch Beyonce Dance in a Mosh Pit at Hackney Weekend 2012
With their “Watch the Throne” European tour wrapped up, Jay-Z and his Roc-La-Familia made their way to London for BBC Radio 1 Hackney Weekend 2012 on Saturday night. The first guest of Hov’s set? Rihanna, who joined her Roc Nation boss for “Run This Town.”
Watch Rihanna, Jay, and Kanye West rock the London festival crowd at Hackney below…..
Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne tour finally hit Paris tonight, and 11 was the magic number. The duo’s hit single “Niggas in Paris” was performed 11 times —apparently, a record-breaking feat — and below you can watch footage of
the first and last of those 11 performances. Update: Better yet, watch footage of all 11 performances. That is if you have 54 minutes to dedicate.
This is beautiful. Responding to President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, commander-in-chief of hip-hop Jay-Z has weighed in with his own support of equality.In the video below, you can see Jay say:
It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple…I think [announcing support of gay marriage is] the right thing to do, so whether it costs [Obama] votes or not — again, it’s not about votes. It’s about people. It’s the right thing to do as a human being.
Here’s a real evolution. As opposed to Obama’s years of public tiptoeing around the idea that gay people are deserving of marriage equality, Jigga comes from a world where “faggot” is still said as if it’s any other word. Jay’s no stranger to it, either. In 1999’s “Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99),” he says, “Faggots wanna talk to Po-Po’s, smoke em like cocoa.” Meanwhile, in a response to Nas’ implication that Jay himself is gay, Jay shot back in “Takeover” with, “You’s the fag model for Karl Kani Esco ads.” He’s referenced Buju Banton’s murder music and has repeatedly used the “no homo” stand-in “pause.”
All of this is to say that here we have someone who’s repeatedly on the record saying ignorant or unkind things regarding gays, who now has come out in support of their civil rights in the plainest language possible. Granted, it’d probably be exhausting to be so hateful all the time given his wife Beyoncé’s own entourage of gays. And he’s basically married to a drag queen in the first place (I mean that as a supreme compliment), so he was probably due for an evolution if he hasn’t just felt this way all along.
None of that makes Jay’s move less bold. It’s a lot like Fat Joe’s recent words in support of the gay community. Expect to see a lot more like this. Jay’s wielding his influence like a public service.