The ul­ti­mate shoutout from Jay-Z to Kaeper­nick

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Mesfin Fekadu

Jay-Z per­formed his first head­lin­ing con­cert in three years in his home­town of New York City on Fri­day, a show that fea­tured his pop­u­lar hits and a ded­i­ca­tion to out­spo­ken NFL player Colin Kaeper­nick.

Jay-Z per­formed his first head­lin­ing con­cert in three years in his home­town of New York City on Fri­day, a show that fea­tured his pop­u­lar hits and a ded­i­ca­tion to out­spo­ken NFL player Colin Kaeper­nick.

The Brook­lyn rap­per kicked off the first of three days of the Mead­ows Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val at Citi Field in Queens, per­form­ing a 90-minute set that in­cluded his well-known songs as well as po­lit­i­cal moments.

“I want to ded­i­cate this song to Colin Kaeper­nick tonight,” Jay-Z said of “The Story of O.J.,” a song about black­ness and manag­ing money that also ref­er­ences O.J. Simp­son.

“I want to ded­i­cate this to Dick Gregory. I want to ded­i­cate this song to any­one that was held back and you over­came,” he added about the song from his per­sonal and re­veal­ing al­bum, “4:44.”

Kaeper­nick be­came a po­lar­iz­ing fig­ure among NFL fans for his de­ci­sion to sit, and then kneel, dur­ing the na­tional an­them last sea­son to protest po­lice bru­tal­ity. Gregory, who died last month, was a co­me­dian and ac­tivist who broke racial bar­ri­ers in the 1960s and used his hu­mor to spread mes­sages of so­cial jus­tice and nu­tri­tional health.

Jay-Z’s per­for­mance, though full of en­ergy and ex­cite­ment, had some other se­ri­ous tones.

When the beat for the Kanye West-pro­duced 2003 song “Lu­cifer” came on — which sam­ples Max Romeo’s “Chase the Devil” and in­cludes the lyrics “Lu­cifer son of the morn­ing, I’m gonna chase you out of Earth” — Jay-Z told the mostly young au­di­ence: “I prom­ise we won’t take peo­ple out of this coun­try.”

Jay-Z also said to the crowd, sev­eral times, that “love al­ways trumps hate.”

At the show, the 47-yearold icon wore a white Tshirt fea­tur­ing the art­work of the 1965 Bea­tles film and al­bum, “Help!” Jay-Z said he wanted to trans­form the show into rock ‘n’ roll ter­ri­tory when he played his col­lab­o­ra­tions with Linkin Park, even pay­ing tribute to the band’s lead singer Ch­ester Ben­ning­ton, who hanged him­self in July.

“If you know this song, I want you to sing it so loud he can hear you in heaven,” Jay-Z said be­fore per­form­ing the Grammy-win­ning mashup “Numb/En­core,” stand­ing still and hold­ing the mi­cro­phone close with both of his hands.

Jay-Z’s set also in­cluded big hits from his 21-year-old ca­reer, from “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto An­them)” to “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” to “Em­pire State of Mind.” His last main show in New York was part of his 2014 On the Run Tour with Bey­once, though he’s had some per­for­mances for his Ti­dal stream­ing ser­vice and sur­prise ap­pear­ances.

Reg­gae artist Damian Mar­ley joined in for “Bam” from “4:44,” which was re­leased in June and fea­tures songs about Jay-Z’s per­sonal life and work as an en­tre­pre­neur.

The Mead­ows fes­ti­val, in its sec­ond year, will also play Satur­day and Sun­day, fea­tur­ing per­form­ers like Go­ril­laz, Red Hot Chili Pep­pers, Nas, Weezer, Fu­ture and LL Cool J across four stages. Mi­gos, Run the Jewels, Two Door Cin­ema Club and 21 Sav­age also per­formed Fri­day.

Through­out his set, JayZ of­fered con­cert­go­ers en­cour­ag­ing words.

“If any­body got a dream, you chase that (dream) with ev­ery­thing you got,” he said at one point.

When one fan was ea­ger for Jay-Z to sign some­thing, the rap­per asked if the fan had a pen. The fan did not. “How am I go­ing to sign your (stuff) with­out a pen?” Jay-Z asked.

“Got to be pre­pared,” he told the fan.

PHOTOS BY ANDY KROPA — INVISION — AP

Jay Z per­forms dur­ing The Mead­ows Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val at Citi Field on Fri­day in New York.

Jay Z per­forms dur­ing The Mead­ows Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val at Citi Field on Fri­day in New York.

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