The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMA CITY —
To say Shawn Corey Carter (Jay-Z) has won in life would be an understatement.
To travel from the streets of New York to become a Grammy winner, CEO, entrepreneur, philanthropist, friend to President Barack Obama and husband to Beyonce, he has definitely made his mark in his 44 years on this earth.
In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter’s net worth at nearly $500 million.
Despite the various hats Jay-Z now wears, he is still first and foremost a rapper. And he showed that Wednesday when he made a stop at the Chesapeake Energy Arena for the Magna Carter World Tour.
“I’ve heard legend of how loud it gets in Oklahoma City,” Jay-Z told the sellout crowd. “My man Kevin Durant is here tonight. He told me y’all are loud as (stuff). I told him we shall see. We are about to have a legendary night in here tonight.”
For the most part, Jay Z kept his word. Despite not taking the stage until almost 9:30 p.m., it took a little bit for the crowd to really get into the show. Many were still trying to make it to their seats. So the start had a disjointed feel to it. That included Durant and most of the members of the Oklahoma City Thunder who caused just as much of a hysteria when they took their seats in the section in front of the stage.
But by the time Jay-Z got to his latest hit, “Holy Grail” off the Magna Carter album, everyone was on their feet and it stayed that way for the rest of the night.
Unlike most acts that have performed at The Peake this year, Jay Z didn’t have an opening act, a crew of dancers or any other side shows. Dressed in all black and white, it was just Jay Z, his band and a microphone on stage. It was a very old school approach that his fans engulfed.
“Let’s take this night to another level,” Jay Z said. “I still think we can take it to another level. Y’all want to take it to another level in here tonight?”
That led right into his performance of “99 Problems,” which had his fan base going wild.
Jay Z took one break during the entire night. This allowed Timbaland to shine. Perched on one of the high risers, he went through a melody of songs he has produced from artists such as Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliot and Aaliyah.
Since Jay Z has been around since the mid-90s, his catalog of songs is seemingly infinite. That allowed him to move from one album to another throughout the night. But he got his biggest reactions from the fans anytime he did performed anything from Reasonable Doubt (1996), The Blue Print (2001), The Black Album (2003).
“I need a little confusion in here,” Jay Z said. “It’s too clean. The isles are clean. I need some people in the isles. I need some dancing and (stuff). I need a little chaos. Y’all are being too polite in here tonight. Hey security, stand down. It’s OK. They paid a lot of money for these tickets. If you want to stand in your seat, you do what you got to do to make sure you have a great time tonight. Every body in the isle. Stand on your seats. Let’s do this right.”
After almost an hour and a half, Jay Z said good-bye as he walked off the darkened stage. But the fans weren’t fooled. They knew he would be coming back for more. He bolted back on stage to his song “Encore.”
The last half hour of the show included him stopping the music and giving several shoutouts to fans he noticed who had really been into the his performance or had on unique clothing. He gave them all a little camera time.
“A special shout out to my man KD in the building (KD is part of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency),” Jay-Z said. “I told him when he walked into the room, this is my building tonight. He said slow down.”
Then, just when you thought it was over, Jay had one last song left in him. He dedicated “Forever Young” to the late Nelson Mandela and asked for everyone in the arena to bring out their cell phones and lighters.
“No matter how many Grammies; no matter how many No. 1 record, nothing beats this sort of feeling right here,” Jay Z said. “I love this. I appreciate every single person in this building. I will never get jaded. I will never get tired of this feeling.”