As Jay-Z walked onto the Carnegie Hall stage last night, becoming only the second emcee to perform at the famed venue, he brought many with him. The New York emcee came backed by a full orchestra, supported by ?uestlove and Bilal. Alicia Keys and Nas would also be joining Jigga on stage on this evening, as Jay ran through selections of his discography.
While Jay performed songs from early on in his career, one of the highlights came with his latest release. The Brooklyn emcee performed “Glory,” a song released shortly after his daughter’s birth, making it the first time he’s done the track live. The cut followed two other hits, “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Song Cry.” Once “Glory” ended, Jay admitted it was difficult to perform.
“I didn’t think I was gonna make it through that one,” he noted after an emotional performance. “That was tough.”
Other highlights included anthems about New York. Alicia Keys joined Jay for the more recent “Empire State of Mind,” as the two linked for their hit song adorned in black and white attire. Right after, the show traveled to 1994 as Nas got a moment to perform Illmatic’s “N.Y. State of Mind,” supported by Jay and Keys. The two emcees embraced, both also sporting matching outfits. The New York anthems didn’t end there as the orchestra paid homage to other N.Y. anthems like Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” More New York love came from Jay, who celebrated the New York Giants as Super Bowl champions by asking the crowd that included Liza Minnelli and C.C. Sabathia, to “make some noise” for the recent Bowl winners.
This was one of two benefit shows meant to raise money for his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and United Way of NYC. Other notable tracks Jay-Z performed included “U Don’t Know,” “Hard Knock Life,” “So Ghetto” and “Can’t Knock the Hustle.” For more from the event, check the video footage below.