When I told people I was going to night six of Jay-Z‘s inaugural Barclays Center shows, some said, “Well how exciting is that going to be on the sixth night? Wouldn’t you want to go either opening or closing night?” Though in most cases I would tend to agree, Jay-Z proved that night six is just as great, if not better than opening or closing night.
Before things really kicked off, the people at D’usse Luxury Cognac, a Jay-Z endorsed liquor meant to rival brands like Hennessy, escorted myself a few others to their VIP section and they certainly know how to treat people. We were treated to a little mix and mingle session. Obviously the bar was open and nobody hesitated to grab some from the bartender. As a whiskey drinking man, I will say D’usse caused me to second guess my choice of beverage. Actually, they served a D’usse drink called The Code and it definitely did the trick of loosening people up to enjoy the show.
New York City’s own DJ Enuff got the already excitable crowd eve more hyped by spinning jams from Brooklyn rap heroes. How do you begin to spin records in the Barclays Center and not have a Biggie record be the first thing you play? The answer is you don’t! DJ Enuff knew that and made his first record one from Biggie. As records were spun and more D’usse downed, the group I was with could no longer bear the anticipation. Right as you started to hear chants of “Hova!” permeate the center, Jay-Z coolly Denzel-Washington-swagger-walked on stage.
Jay-Z had to remind the buzzing building exactly where they were by opening the show with an impassioned rendition of “Where I”m From.” Without missing a beat, Hov went straight into his biggest selling single “Empire State of Mind.” Brooklyn’s native son continued to rip through hits while the crowd of 19,000 people screamed, danced, and two-stepped. Some the two-stepping was so bad, Jay-Z had to lead the crowd in how to two-step on beat. That was one of the more hilarious parts of the show, along with watching Beyonce enthusiastically rapping the words to “On To The Next One ” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” from her seat. Who knew Bey had it in her?!
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Jay-Z made it a point to tell everyone he was just a Brooklyn boy from a broken home that worked his ass off to become a partial owner of an NBA team. He then urged the audience to find the genius level talent inside of them and hone that talent until it garners you the desired result. After imparting words of wisdom, Jay-Z asked for the whole arena to put on their cell phone lights for his closing song “Young Forever.” It was at that moment I had the corny and cliched thought that no one man should have all that power. (See how corny that was?) But Jay-Z does have all that power and he wants you to be inspired by him to go and get your own version of power. After seeing that show, there’s no way you couldn’t have walked out of the newly erected Barclays Center without feeling a small twinge of inspiration. If that was Jay’s goal, mission accomplished.
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