Few stars would announce a performance with lesser-known material, let alone at the grand re-opening of an iconic New York City venue. But Jay-Z is a hip-hop star like no other.
Jay-Z’s concert at Webster Hall on Friday night, April 26, 2019, was the first to be held inside the historic venue in Manhattan’s East Village since it closed its doors in 2017 for renovations.
The entrance to Webster Hall is at 125 East 11th St., between Third and Fourth avenues, near Astor Place, but the line of fans stretched to the corner, wrapped around Third Avenue, snaked down the block and wrapped around the corner of 12th Street and Third Avenue. Braving pouring rain, the huge crowd expected a memorable performance from the legend and received two before the night was over.
In a concert advertised as “Jay-Z B-Sides,” the Brooklyn native, clad in a black suit with black bow tie and his signature iced-out medallion, performed for two hours. But no moment was greater than when fellow hip-hop legend Nas joined Hova onstage to perform the “Success” remix. The Illmatic one then performed the first verse to his classic “The World Is Yours,” which flowed into the Jay-Z song that sampled it, “Dead Presidents.”
But Nas wasn’t the only one Hov brought out who he’d had conflict with in the past.
Harlem rapper and former Roc-A-Fella recording artist Cam’ron, joined onstage with Jim Jones, performed the classic “Welcome to New York City.” The Dipset member then performed “I Really Mean It” before hugging Hov and leaving the stage.
Other hits performed Friday night included the Kanye West-produced “Lucifer,” “Allure,” “Where I’m From” and his verse from the recent Meek Mill album, “What’s Free.”
Jay-Z B-Sides was not only a once-in-a-lifetime New York City event, but it was also a memorable night in the history of hip-hop.
“What a magical night,” Jay exclaimed. Acknowledging that there were other options fans could have chosen on this rainy Friday night, he joked, “I know Avengers is playing down the block but those n—-s ain’t even real!”
“The energy in here feels amazing,” Jay-Z told the crowd, before explaining the root of his material. “The music I make is from the heart — right, wrong or indifferent.”
Jay-Z bid farewell to the fans with a simple but heartfelt “I love you New York City!”
Judging by their response to the two-hour performance, New York City loves Jay-Z, too.