JAY-Z may be a product of Brooklyn, but he made Queens his home on Friday night.
The “Run This Town” rapper who was raised in the NYCHA-run Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant rocked, rolled and rhymed his way through a triumphant and career-spanning set at the Meadows Music and Arts Festival.
Although the 47-year-old’s nationwide tour in support of his new “4:44” album doesn’t begin for more than a month, fans were treated to a preview of sorts as JAY-Z seamlessly blended old and new material.
He launched the show with “Run This Town” off of 2009’s “Blueprint 3” and 2011’s “Watch the Throne’s” “No Church In the Wild.”
With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, JAY-Z told the cheering crowd he was going to stay away from politics before announcing that “love always trumps hate.”
The energy erupted as Bob Marley’s son Damian joined him on stage for “Bam” off “4:44.”
The nearly two-hour show was JAY-Z’s first in the city since 2014.
And the crowd was ready for his return.
A solid lineup of local rappers like Joey Bada$$ and El-P of Run the Jewels served as opening acts at the weekend-long festival in Flushing.
The hooks of “Give It 2 Me,” “Big Pimpin” and “99 Problems” had the crowd singing, chanting and swinging along.
He also performed an extended version of “Empire State of Mind,” his emotional ode to his hometown which he recorded alongside Alicia Keys.
As the night wore on JAY-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, returned to politics, performing the racially conscious “Story of OJ.” He dedicated the anthem to Colin Kaepernick.
The festival set ended with his biggest solo hit “IZZO,” and a rendition of “Numb” by Linkin Park, which he rapped over and dedicated to the band’s singer, Chester Bennington, who committed suicide last month.
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