The newly built Barclays Center is the home of the Brooklyn Nets, and the team’s co-owner, Jay-Z, christened the venue Friday night in uniform, sporting a Nets hat and jersey as he rapped two dozen jams onstage in front of thousands.
Jay-Z performed for an excited and rowdy crowd of 18,000, wearing a jersey that featured his last name, Carter, and the number four. It was his first of eight shows at the venue.
As he emerged onstage, a video highlighting some of Brooklyn’s historical moments — like when it was named an official borough of New York City — played in the background. There were also pictures of famous faces who were born in Brooklyn, from Michael Jordan to Al Capone to Aaliyah to Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys.
Jay-Z opened the show with the hometown anthems “Where I’m From,” a song about his upbringing in Brooklyn’s Marcy projects complex, and “Brooklyn Go Hard.” He followed that with a tribute to one of Brooklyn’s icons: the late Notorious B.I.G. He performed some of the rap vet’s hit “Juicy” as the crowd joined in.
“Sing loud so he can hear you in heaven,” said Jay-Z, who also held a moment of silence for the rapper, who was shot to death in 1997.
Another Brooklynite — Big Daddy Kane — made an appearance, performing songs like “Ain’t No Half Steppin'” and “Warm It Up, Kane.” He received a roaring cheer from the crowd when performing old-school dance moves with two dancers in all white.
Jay-Z said Friday’s concert was incomparable to most of his other top-level performances, including the Grammys, Glastonbury or Coachella.
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