“Thank you, New Orleans.”—Jay –Z
On Nov. 9, Jay-Z took to the stage at the Smoothie King Center to not only bring forth a catalogue of hits, but also storytelling that captured moments of honesty that had its own significance.
Though doors opened up at 7 p.m., many concert-goers didn’t flood the streets and the venue until close to 9 p.m. Now here’s an approach that many may not take in the world of hip-hop kings such as Jay-Z. Let’s say you’ve never been big on rap, or you’re not “real big” on HOV in general; let the 4:44 Tour leave you with nothing but a douse of education.
The show had visuals whose imagery captured the “Otis” rapper at the core of his essence, including his beginnings at the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, New York, to his marriage to Beyoncé Knowles and the three children they created. It may be safe to say that HOV’s hip-hop optics platform compliments that of his wife’s consistent female empowerment theme during her own concerts.
Don’t forget—if you’re not really a hip-hop head, what would you expect to hear during the 4:44 tour era? Sure, you know you’re going to hear a set playlist with a tempo and a vibe that is supposed to generate a rhythmic pattern so that you won’t feel perforated throughout the duration, right?
Jay-Z’s playlist included familiar hits such as “No Church in the Wild,” “F***k With Me You Know I Got It,” the Alicia Keys-assisted “Empire State of Mind,” “Izzo,” “On to the Next One”—which featured production from Swizz Beatz—and more, spanning from most, not all, of his albums. When he performed the controversial “N****s in Paris” that featured Kanye West, Jay-Z stated, “Whatever color you are, don’t let no one tell you that you can’t go sit down in these five-star restaurants or fancy hotels … Especially to my black people, we gotta always be careful cause ‘they’ stay watching us. Dream big, that’s all I’m saying.” While he didn’t have any surprise features, outside of one great band, he was able to keep a good moderate cadence for his fans.
After hyping up the crowd with his more popular melodies, Jay-Z brought forward some touching moments to the audience. Back in 2005, Jay-Z was the presidential seat of Def Jam Records. It was during that time that his nephew, Colleek Luckie, died of injuries from a car crash while on Route 22 in Pennsylvania.
What was even more disheartening was that the vehicle Luckie died in was bought for him as a graduation present from Jay himself. Luckie’s friend, Roscoe Neely, was driving when they encountered a head-on collision with a tractor trailer, before colliding with a telephone pole; Neely survived his injuries.
In the song, “Heart of the City,” Jay pays homage to his late nephew and during the concert, he stated that Colleek was such a “sweet boy.” The emotional montage didn’t end there, as Jay continued with his respects to Linkin Park’s fallen member, Chester Bennington.
Bennington served as the frontman for Linkin Park, but his career was cut short when he was found dead by his housekeeper from suicide. Jay and Linkin Park teamed up on the 2004 release of Collision Course. It was no surprise when Jay performed “Numb,” which was lifted from the album as a single release.
Still thinking about checking out Jay-Z live? Hopefully, this briefing was beneficial. In conclusion, if you’re a diehard HOV fan, this concert would get a solid A. True fans might have wanted a bit more inclusion of classic songs they knew. As for those who may have some small hesitation before spending money, Jay-Z live isn’t bad at all!