Running through even more hits, more humble brag rhymes turned reality continued to spew from the speakers. “Empire State of Mind” with its aforementioned State St. shout out or “On To The Next One” where he raps, “Now I rock a tailored suit, looking like an owner,” which he is, serve as just a couple of examples.
And just when purists may have started getting restless about all the mogul Jay-Z tracks and wondering where were the introspective cuts from that classic debut, he asked, “How many people here got that Reasonable Doubt album? Can I go there Brooklyn?”
Surely. But only a couple of those gems made it (“Dead Presidents” and “Can I Live”) before giving way to selections like “Ji–a My Ni–a,” “H To The Izzo,” and “Ni–a What Ni–a Who.” What, you thought the “Ni–as In Paris” rapper’s N-word exploits were a byproduct of hanging out with Kanye West?
Around this time, things started winding down, with Hova saying, “I don’t know how I’ma do eight nights after tonight,” before closing the show, so we thought, with a rousing rendition of “Encore.”
“I want to thank ever single person in here tonight,” said Jay in closing. “This night was a dream. I look around in this arena…holy sh-t.”
“Thank you Brooklyn for making me the man that I am tonight,” he added. “Everybody is from Brooklyn tonight.”
That could have been a dope closer to the evening, but the house lights not coming on where a giveaway that there were still more songs to be performed. This is also when Hova was proven a liar.
With audio of Russell Crowe saying “Are you not entertained” from Gladiator serving as his entrance cue, fans were treated to more hits including “What More Can Say” and “Do It Again (Put Your Hands Up).” Then Jay-Z gives up the stage to a legendary Brooklyn MC that helped put him in the game, Big Daddy Kane.
The King Asiatic ran through “Ain’t No Half Steppin’,” “Set It Off” and “Warm It Up Kane,” even kick stepping along the way.
Jay-Z returned, working in current heat like his verse of G.O.O.D. Music “Clique” and Rick Ross’ “3 Kings,” the latter which features more bars turned true (“Ex-D-boy, used to park my Beamer/Now look at me, I can park in my own arena.”).
Closing the show for real this time, Shawn Carter got reflective while trying to be inspirational. “I believe every single person has genius level talent. You just gotta find it,” said Jay before closing the show with “Forever Young.” “I’m standing on this stage as living proof if you apply yourself to what you genius [have] you can do anything in the world.”
That may be so, but a lyrical genius of Jay-Z’s caliber is no common occurrence. And tonight proved that Hip-Hop’s model example of lyrical brilliance is very much Brooklyn’s own.
Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.