Oakland, CA – Jay-Z brought his 4:44 Tour through Oakland tonight and just like his past performances, he was simply outstanding. The icon, he stands alone commanding the crowd, needs no backup dancers or background singers. Just a mic and a band.
The stage was unlike any other, four huge video screens that come down from the ceiling and hang tilted in mid-air also connect into two screens that captured past and current music videos. Jay-Z doesn’t have to worry about anyone not being able to fully enjoy his concert.
The show began with “Kill Jay-Z”, No Church in the Wild” and “Lucifer”. The sellout crowd knew all the lyrics, but it was the intro to “Jigga My Ni**a” that brought the house down, an oldie but goodie followed by “Izzo (H.O.V.A)”.
Not many Hip Hop artists tell a story, over Jay-Z’s career he rose from the projects to stardom and each album told that part of his story. “On To The Next One”, Public Service Announcement” and “99 Problems” these lyrics came across the video screens:
“License and registration and step out of the car
“Are you carrying a weapon on you, I know a lot of you are”
I ain’t stepping out of shit, all my papers legit
“Well do you mind if I look around the car a little bit?”
Well my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk and the back
And I know my rights so you goin’ need a warrant for that
“Aren’t you sharp as a tack? You some type of lawyer or something?
“Somebody important or something?”
Child, I ain’t passed the bar, but I know a little bit
Enough that you won’t illegally search my shit
In today’s world social media has captured many situations that have left our country divided on social issues. However, many of those in the black community have been dealing with the injustice of law enforcement for a long time. It was reintroduced and now we all are taking a stand.
“It’s not about disrespecting the flag, its about injustice. We should all be effected by what’s going on in the world today!”
Jay-Z throughout his performance touched on political issues involving police brutality, the civil rights movement and mental illness. he dedicated the “The Story of O.J.” to Dick Gregory and Muhammad Ali. That message along with good music separates Sean Carter from the rest.
But what’s a concert without some of his favorite hits, Jay-Z said referred to “Allure” off the Black Album as being his favorite joint. And despite the ongoing feud with Kanye West, Jay-Z couldn’t leave off one of their greatest hits, “Niggas In Paris” while featuring a few clips from their hit video “Otis” on the video screen.
To close Jay-Z did the New York anthem, “Empire State of Mind” but before that he played E40’s “Hyphy” just to let the fans know, he enjoys Oakland music. His last message was the best one to end the show:
“Believe in yourself, keep yourself around positive people. Love always trumps hate!”
And with that “Hard Knock Life”, another one of his hits which was probably the most jubilant performance. The message, anyone on earth facing hard times, can overcome with focus, determination and dedication. His story is motivating to so many.
Jay-Z ended the set with the song “Smile” dedicated to his own mother on his 4:44 album. Then “Numb/Encore” was dedicated to his late friend and artist Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington who committed suicide. He stated mental illness is a issue and always check on your friends and family at all times.
His ability further educate through music is the new generation of Hip Hop. Jay-Z cover over 25 songs in two hours and while doing so delivered powerful messages throughout his performance. The 4:44 Tour is more than Hip Hop, it’s a look into the future of Hip Hop.