Jay Z

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Jay had this song on Blueprint 3 that I always thought was one of his most potent moments in the late aughts: “On to the Next One.” There’s that standard braggadocio of platinum watches and stacking paper, but there’s also this brilliantly subtle acknowledgement of every single hip-hop trope of the past 25 years, suggesting he’s done all that and taken it to the next level, almost without our even knowing it. He’s all, “Oh, you got rims? I was rapping about rims like a decade ago, and now I’ve got a jet.” But it also nods to the urbanity of his nascence: projects, product, cyphers, street cred.

In that Made In America doc he made two summers ago, Ron Howard follows Jay through rehearsals and planning sessions. And one of the things that resonates loudest is his insistence on including “Murda, Murda,” or “Murda Marcyville (South Philly Niggaz),” a song that technically comes from Memphis Bleek’s 2003 M.A.D.E. Beanie’s on that track. It’s a small reminder that Jay Z’s had a long loyalty to Philly and to ‘hood talent, wherever it comes from.

What’s just a little bit funny is what he’s become: this polished and high-fashion-wearing, expensive-art-buying, brand-ambassadoring, platinum-selling entrepreneur. Through multiple supposed retirements, a handful of surprising production spots and unexpected team-ups—why does Watch the Throne have to be so damn flawless?)—Jay Z’s career has never really seen any brutal lows.

Oh, and an all-time favorite? That unbelievable Unplugged moment from 2001, with the Roots crew behind him and a slew of the most killer guests you could ask for on an MTV studio moment: Larry Gold providing strings, Mary J. Blige absolutely destroying “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” Jaguar Wright practically pulling out tears on “Song Cry” and the irresistible Pharrell on “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me).”

Thanks for the memories, Jay. Tonight’ll be another great one in the Philly scrapbook. / BILL CHENEVERT

8pm. $32.50-$150. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
 

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EVENT DETAILS

WHEN
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Recurring: ONCE

TIME & PRICE
- Price: Unknown

WHERE
3601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA
One time only on 01/29/2014. .

FOR MORE INFO
Wells Fargo Center

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