“Tonight, we’re gonna step over all the lines that separate us.” -Jay-Z
The stars were out as hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z broke yet another barrier at Carnegie Hall as one of the few hip-hop artists to play a concert on the stage. The show, a collaboration between The United Way and the Shawn Carter Foundation was an effort to raise funds for college education.
With big names like Yankee C.C. Sabathia and Liza Minelli in attendance, Jay-z put on a show like never before, with simultaneous sophistication and impeccable swag. Donning tuxedos and backed by an orchestra, Jay was also accompanied by The Roots band and a bottle of Ace of Spades (filled with tea).
Spewing out solo hit after hit, from his classic studio albums The Blueprint 3 to classics from his earlier efforts, Jay-Z proceeded to give donors and fans alike an unforgettable show.
Highlights of the night included appearances Alicia Keys and Nas, who performed “Empire State of Mind,” “New York State of Mind,” and “If I Ruled the World,” commemorating New York’s Superbowl victory. Jay-Z also performed his ode to his daughter Blue Ivy Carter, “Glory,” for the first time in front of a live audience.
“I didn’t think I was going go get through that,” he admitted in front of the packed orchestra house. Hov’s most surprising feat of the night would come when he entered the crowd of fans in the balcony of Carnegie Hall, to perform some of his earliest hits from “Reasonable Doubt,” rocking his signature “all black everythinga,” a striking change from his exquisitely tailored suits earlier in the night. By evening’s end the Brooklyn hustler-turned-rapper had achieved his goal; Carnegie Hall will never be the same. –Iyana Robertson