It’s often said that nothing is better than coming home, and for Jay-Z that phrase couldn’t be more true. On Friday night, the MC-businessman opened the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Barclays Center with the first of eight sold-out concerts in the borough where he was raised. While no hologram of fellow New York MC Notorious B.I.G. appeared, the Brooklyn Nets part-owner did rap alongside an image of the fallen rapper, as well as give the stage over to another hip-hop icon, Big Daddy Kane, for a moment during his encore performance, reports Billboard.
By now, every show that Jay performs is essentially a greatest hits review dotted by surprise guests to rev the crowd. But in the days prior to the grand opening, he said that he wouldn’t have any co-stars and almost entirely kept his word except for an eleventh inning appearance from Big Daddy Kane. The absence of guests merely underlined Jay’s star power. During his near two-hour show, the 42-year-old mogul fronted his Roc Boys live band with cuts both deep and fresh from his catalogue, showing uncharacteristic emotion at the event’s overwhelming significance.
“Everybody that’s in here tonight is from Brooklyn. So here we go Brooklyn, what’s up?” said Jay. “This was a long journey to be here. We started out in 2003. What’s up [Barclays developer] Bruce [Ratner]? Bruce came to meet at the 40/40 Club. He had this idea and vision to take this to Brooklyn. I said, wassup? I’ma tell y’all tonight. I’ve been on many stages, been all around the world. Nothing feels like tonight.”
The set played as an ode to BK, setting off with the bristling hometown anthem “Where I’m From.” While rumors flooded Twitter that he had shelled out bucks for a Notorious B.I.G. hologram, Jigga actually paid homage to the fallen rapper by projecting his image onto a silk screen as he recited “Kick in the Door” and “Juicy.” The show was a highlight reel of hits, with Jay pausing to take sips from two bottles of Ace of Spades between “99 Problems,” “Run This Town” and “Hard Knock Life.”
Read more at Billboard.