November 27, 2017
JAY Z played Barclays Center
After dropping his best work in a decade, JAY Z finally brought his 4:44 Tour to his hometown of Brooklyn for a hits filled celebration.
Much like he did at the Meadows Festival earlier this year, JAY Z came through with a career-spanning set that showcased his extravagant talent and his dominance in hip-hop for the past three decades. Standing in the center of the arena, the mogul unleashed an onslaught of hits that perfectly balanced his latest material within a heavy stream of old favorites. 4:44 feels more like a mix-tape than it does a proper JAY Z album, but when intermixed amongst his classics, the songs feel instantly like a part of this story and even without big time choruses, it's no wonder that the crowd can still get moving to the tracks that match some of Hova's best flows. Of course, the fans show-up for the hits and Mr. Carter knows how to deliver on what the people want to hear. When you've been making monstrous singles since the 90s, it's easy to boast at just how far you've come, but digging out classics like "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)," "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," and "Lucifer" proved that Jay has become the classic rock of hip-hop. He's not putting on a show with a caliber and intensity of Kendrick Lamar, but he's there to remind you of his legacy and his reign as king. He's been one of the most powerful voices in hip-hop for nearly twenty years and when you can go back-to-back with "99 Problems" and "Big Pimpin'". it's a rather remarkable feeling to experience. Of course, since this was all going down in his native Brooklyn, Jay paid homage to the late-great B.I.G. and lead the arena through a super-sized acapella rendition of "Juicy" which put a massive smile on Jigga's face. Jay didn't spend much time talking to the crowd between tracks other to say the occasional thank you, however he made his thoughts known of why he was supporting Colin Kaepernick and those in the NFL taking a knee and how the importance of Black Lives Matter was something for us all to recognize. As the night headed to a close, Jay continued the parade of hits with his new city anthem "Empire State of Mind" which still gets people to lose their minds (in this city especially) before an especially chill version of "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)." Finally, Jay took one more moment to address the crowd and this time took the conversation to mental health as he dedicated the finale to his late friend Chester Bennington. "Mental health is a real problem. This man was selling millions of records and filling arenas and he still took his own life" stated Jay as he capped off the night with a stunning performance of "Numb/Encore" from his collaboration with Linkin Park. It was a touching tribute and a solid finish to a night filled in legacy.