Saturday, February 20, 2010
To know me, is to know I love Jay-Z. Love. Love. LOVE.
When Reasonable Doubt was released, I was 14 years old. I didn’t buy that album. I don’t have a good reason why, I just didn’t. His singles were barely in rotation in Detroit (my hometown!), so I didn’t pay much attention to him...how silly I was! In 1997, I was a freshman in high school. I received In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 as a Secret Santa gift, which by then he had already had two singles from that album I LOVED. My best friend Tiffany and I used to watch the “Who You Wit II” video on BET every day, thus beginning my love affair with Jay-Z. After listening to In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, I immediately ran out and bought Reasonable Doubt.
I have followed his career since then, and with every album, I’ve become more of a fan of his work. His music is special to me, because many of the songs are part of my life’s soundtrack. Many great memories I have are marked with his songs. To name a few:
“I Know What Girls Like” – creating dance sequences to this song
“Hard Knock Life” – parking lot pimping outside of Harrison High School’s homecoming
Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter – This was the first Christmas gift I ever gave my fiancé.
“I Just Wanna Love U” – Singing it as a duet with my best friend Courtney our freshman year at Howard and him performing at homecoming that year.
The Blueprint – After 9/11 my fiancé (boyfriend at the time) and I drove from DC to NY and back on this album alone!
“Beware of the Boys" – Crossing at Alpha Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
"Public Service Announcement" – Graduating from college!
“Hollywood” – Reminds me of my first months here in Miami
“Run This Town” – Alex’s 30th Birthday party...the day we got in engaged!
No other artist’s music has had that musical influence on my life. I can say unequivocally, that he is my favorite :).
I never miss Jay-Z in concert. I’ve been to a concert on every tour he’s had since 1998. I HAD to get tickets to the Blueprint 3 Tour come hell or high water! Two of my homegirls and I actually bought tickets to the Atlanta show because Miami wasn’t included on the initial tour schedule. When the Miami date was released, we jumped on it! We were FOURTEEN deep for the concert. Our floor seats were sick and we had an amazing time!!!
The last two Jay-Z concerts in South Florida were both in downtown Miami. Once for the Heart of the City Tour with Mary J. Blige at American Airlines Arena, and again a few months later for a free concert in support of the Obama Campaign. This time he decided to show Broward County some love and have it at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise. I personally thought it was a good look because BAC is almost twice the size of AAA.
You can always expect showmanship with Jay-Z. From beginning to end, he kept the crowd engaged in his songs. He brought his trusty sidekick Memphis Bleek out for a few songs, but the majority of the show he did solo. I think we’re past the age of rappers having 20 members of their crew being on stage with them, but it’s still nice to see an artist hold down an entire arena by themselves!
He performed his major hits of the moment “Run This Town” and “Empire State of Mind” early on in the show, which was an interesting tactic, because most artists save their recent songs for the end of the show. Surprisingly enough, it didn’t take away from the crowd’s energy at all.
Young Jeezy was on the bill, along with the opener, Trey Songz (who did a great job...we arrived in the middle of his performance). I think it surprised everyone when Jay-Z’s set immediately followed Trey Songz. Jeezy DID perform, but it was like an intermission of Jay-Z show, which I actually thought was a brilliant idea for two reasons: 1. The stage crew only had to set up the stage once, leaving more time for the performances; 2. It helped to keep the crowd’s momentum during the show. The baton was passed between Jay and Jeezy seamlessly. Jeezy appeared on stage to perform “Real As It Gets” with Jay, and then did his solo set without missing a beat! Good tactic for artists that share numerous songs together like these two.
Jay-Z rejoined Young Jeezy on stage for “My President”, after which he went back into his solo performance. One of my favorite moments from this show was preceding “My President”, when a video played of President Obama dusting his shoulders off, and the band dropped “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”. The crowd LOVED IT!
For the most part, he performed his major and secondary hits, but threw in a few deep cuts like “Lucifer” and “Where I’m From”. The latter definitely was for real fans. What I did find a little disappointing, was the lack of any big name surprise guests, especially given the fact that many of them were in the audience. His “booski” Beyoncé (that’s what he called her at the concert I swear!) was there looking FAB-U-LOUS! Puff was around as well. The crowd would have gone BANANAS if B had come out. I pretty much would have went to jail. You know how I feel about Beyoncé! Lol
I THOROUGHLY enjoyed the show. It was non-stop energy. The band was amazing, and the staging was perfect for his performance. Jay-Z’s voice was noticeably hoarse, which he made mention to at the end of the show, but it honestly didn’t take away from his performance because he pushed through the hoarseness where he could. My personal wish is for Jay-Z, Jeezy and Rick Ross perform “Hustin’ (Remix)”. I thought that was the day. I was sure of it! But it didn’t happen. Womp Womp.
The reason I love to see live shows, especially of the same artist over years, is that you can see how an artist grows. That man is forty years old! FORTY!! In such an age-conscious industry, he has remained relevant without compromising who he has grown to be. Each show is more mature; like now he has a band...he used to have a DJ. Now it’s all-black-everything...it used to be throwback jerseys. Now it’s just him, and maybe Bleek...it used to be ALL of Roc-A-Fella on stage! He told the crowd he wasn’t jaded, and that he still appreciated all the love, and he hopes he has given some of that back. LOVE HIM! And that swag...........
What I would LOVE, is for his next tour to be in smaller HOB-ish venues, and he only performs non-single songs from his albums...he can call in The Deep Cut Tour!
“Jigga been cold as f*ck before ice”....