The Pepsi Center in Denver, CO hosted the Magna Carta World Tour Monday night and Jay Z brought out the most diverse audience I’ve ever seen. Families, couples, and groups of friends filled up 18,000 seats eager to witness a legend in what may be his last major world tour. Reasonable Doubt blasted prior to the start of the concert and even with the lights on people were energized with excitement.
9pm struck and the entire venue went black as Hov bursted out to “U Don’t Know” off his double platinum album The Blueprint. For about forty-five minutes, Jay went through hit after hit showcasing material throughout his entire career while also highlighting his new singles from Magna Carta…Holy Grail. Encouraging the audience to sing along to “Holy Grail,” “On To The Next One,” “Crown,” “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” “99 Problems” and his verse on “Pound Cake,” he killed each track and his energy was incredible.
There was a moment when the screens that had been projecting Hov went black and a spotlight dimly lit him as he shouted out his day one fans and said, “how many people in here got that Reasonable Doubt album? This one’s for you…” Jay then dove into “Dead Presidents II” and it was one of the greatest musical moments of my life. For those who have loved Jay Z, Reasonable Doubt is such an iconic body of work and I never imagined I would be able to experience that live. Not only was the performance of that song moving, but it solidified his greatness in 1996 and today, with the fact that the material is still relevant 17 years later.
Jay Z exited the stage leaving the legendary Timbaland a.k.a. Timbo The King to hype up the crowd with his most popular and hottest beats of his career. Paying homage to Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliot and Drake, Timbaland also shared some of his new material from his upcoming album titled Textbook Timbo.
Hov emerged back on stage performing my favorite track from his new album “Somewhere in America.” His unbelievable discography of hits continued as he transitioned into “Big Pimpin’,” “Ni**as in Paris,” “Jigga Who Jigga What,” and his verse from “Clique.” During his performance of “Dirt Off My Shoulders,” Jay gave an inspirational and heartfelt speech urging us that we all are geniuses and we all can achieve success in whatever we dream of. His single with Rihanna “Run This Town” appeared to close the concert.
Even after an hour and a half set, people refused to leave and began chanting “HOV!” in hopes of bringing Jay back out for one last song. After a solid ten minutes of waiting, he blazed the stage one more time with none other than “Encore.” Following with “Izzo” and “Hard Knock Life,” Jay then requested the lights be turned on as he acknowledged standouts from the audience. Showing love to fans who knew all the words, beautiful women, and the crafty audience member’s with signs, he also invited a boy with a Reasonable Doubt tee to come on stage and shake his hand. He shined the spotlight on a man who had hilarious dance moves and very sweetly brought all the attention to a woman who had Jay Z’s face tatted on her arm. She shed a tear as he thanked her for her dedication. It was such a humble moment as he stood in front of tens of thousands of people as one of the most successful rappers to date and genuinely thanked every member of the audience for their support and constant inspiration, which allows him to continue to create music and share his art with the world.
Jay Z ended with “Forever Young” and after almost three hours of performing, there was not a soul in the Pepsi Center who left feeling unsatisfied. Hov put on one hell of show and I am so honored to finally experience his brilliance live. As today is Dec. 4, I want to wish a huge birthday shoutout to this legend and his decades of commitment to hip hop.