Bring ’em, bring ’em out. JAY-Z returned to the stage in his hometown for his “B-Sides 2” concert on Friday night (April 26).
The Brooklyn legend celebrated the reopening of New York’s iconic Webster Hall, which reopened after undergoing a year-and-a-half renovation, with his most intimate concert in years. Hov, who had never previously performed at the East Village venue, delivered nearly 40 lesser-known tracks from his three-decade catalog and brought out some special guests during the two-hour extravaganza.
“Thank you all for being here,” he told the sold-out crowd at the 2,500-person-capacity-venue (via USA Today). “This shit means a lot to me. I know the ‘Avengers’ is playing in a theater down the block and all, but the Avengers aren’t even real.”
Looking dapper in a black tuxedo with a bandana around his head and gold rope chain around his neck, Mr. Carter took fans back with rare performances of “Young and Gifted,” “Don’t You Know,” “So Ambitious,” and “Allure,” accompanied by an eight-piece band.
Later in the evening, Nas surprised the crowd when he came out during “Success” before delivering a medley of “The World Is Yours,” “Dead Presidents,” and “New York State of Mind.”
The surprises continued when Cam’ron took the stage to perform “Welcome to New York City” and “I Really Mean It,” which also featured Jim Jones. “Nas is my brother, Cam is my brother,” said Hov after his guests left.
At one point, the Roc Nation boss deviated from the set list to spit a freestyle dedicated to Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed outside of his Marathon Clothing store last month. “Gentrify your own hood before these people do it / Claim eminent domain and have your people move in,” he rapped. “That’s a small glimpse into what Nipsey was doing / For anybody still confused as to what he was doing.”
He continued, “I told Neighborhood Nipsey stay close / There’s a $100 million on your schedule, lay low / Tell your team to be on point in the places that they go / I never dreamed he’d get killed him in the place that he called home.”
The epic evening came to a close around 12:30 a.m. with a jazzy rendition of The Blueprint 2 cut “Hovi Baby.” Hov handed a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne to a lucky fan before making his grand exit.
“The music I make is from my heart,” he said (via Billboard). “Right, wrong or indifferent. You know, I’m not a perfect guy. So the music I make is just me, of what I been through and what the people around me have been through. Even my flaws, I put them out there. You can learn from my flaws, or you can connect to my flaws. Maybe even take it further than when I’m trying to take it.”