Jay-Z at Barclays Center: A Hip Hop King's Triumphant Return Home

FUSE TV - Jay-Z at Barclays Center: A Hip Hop King's Triumphant Return Home

Jay-Z's opening night show at Brooklyn's Barclays Center Arena – the first event ever at the arena - was a triumphant return to Brooklyn for the hometown hero. The evening was, for sure, Hova's moment, the culmination of a dream, but it was also a celebration of Brooklyn itself.

In an opening montage projected against (or from beneath) the stage's giant, slanted obsidian-colored set, a mini-history of Brooklyn was presented, with dedications to famous Brooklyn-related athletes (Jackie Robinson, Michael Jordan), artists (Aaliyah), buildings and films (Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing). A small portal opened from the stage, shooting light out over the crowd. Then, a voice. "What's up, New York City! Tonight is a celebration of the borough I'm from!"

Jay-Z emerged wearing a sleeveless vest and, of course, a Brooklyn Nets jersey. A seven-piece band appeared above Hov. The first two songs were obvious shout-outs to BK: "Where I'm From," about Jay-Z's upbringing in the Marcy Projects, which, as he noted later, are just 15 minutes from the arena, and "Brooklyn Go Hard."

A tribute to Brooklyn's late great rapper the Notorious B.I.G. was next. After a moment of silence, Hov led the audience in a massive rap/singaalong to B.I.G.'s hit, "Juicy." A camera zoomed in on Jay during the singalong; he had a huge smile, and seemed genuinely thrilled at the moment.

Hov would go through another 28 songs, including mega-hits "99 Problems" and "Big Pimpin'", but he kept coming back to Brooklyn. "I've been on many stages, all around the world," he told us at one point. "I played the Grammy's, performed at Glastonbury. I tore Coachella to pieces. But nothing feels like tonight."

And later, an emotional Jay-Z paused again to take it all in: "Y'all don't mind if I take my time. I'm overwhelmed. I grew up 15 minutes that way," he said, pointing in the direction of Marcy Projects.

Before getting to the rest of the of the show, let's pause and say that yes, Beyonce was there, in the front of the VIP section, cheering harder than anyone as her husband ripped through "Empire State of Mind." 

After just over an hour, Jay-Z wound things down, ending the show with his hit, "Encore." He left the stage, the lights went down. Show over? Ha. Yeah, right. Slowly a "Hova, Hova!" chant built up. "F—k it," said a voice off-stage, Jay's. Then he was back on stage, and the band launched in "What More Can I Say?"

After, Hova introduced out his only guest of the evening. It's worth noting that, after a massive world tour with Kanye West and his recent performance at the Made in America festival, during which he brought out Kanye and the G.O.O.D. Music crew, Jay-Z performed all songs tonight on his own. No guest verses. No Kanye, no Alicia, no Beyonce. It's hard to see this as anything other than Jay-Z claiming the moment; this was his show, in his hometown, in his arena.

But with his ownership of the night clearly established, Jay-Z brought out Brooklyn legend Big Daddy Kane to perform two of his classic hits "Ain't No Half Steppin'" and "Warm It Up, Kane." It was a fitting tribute, Brooklyn's current king ceding the stage, if only for two songs, to a Brooklyn hip hop innovator, who, it should be said, absolutely killed it.

Kane eventually sank into the stage – literally, some elevator lift just took him down – and Jay came back to rip through five more songs. "Clique," "Three Kings," "Money Ain't a Thing," "Money, Cash, Hoes," and, for the last song, "Forever Young."

It was a great show. There were sing-a-alongs, lazers, dancing, inspirational speeches. But even with all that, you got the sense that Jay-Z was holding back, pacing himself. He has seven more shows to go at Barclays. One suspects they'll just get bigger and better.  

Hip-Hop Houdini

Hip-Hop Houdini

Hip Hop Houdini - Trailer

1m

Hip Hop Houdini - Trailer

Beyoncé & Jay-Z: Power Love

49m

Beyoncé & Jay-Z: Power Love

Hip-Hop Stars & NBA Legends Signature Sneakers

6m

Hip-Hop Stars & NBA Legends Signature Sneakers

Cardboard Box Trick With Fat Joe: Hip-Hop Houdini Extra

3m

Cardboard Box Trick With Fat Joe: Hip-Hop Houdini Extra

King Keraun Learns How To Make The Perfect At Home Pillow Fort

6m

King Keraun Learns How To Make The Perfect At Home Pillow Fort

Live at Home, Loser?

24m

Live at Home, Loser?

Jay Critch

20m

Jay Critch

King Keraun Becomes a Cowboy

3m

King Keraun Becomes a Cowboy

Feat. Jay Phillips

22m

Feat. Jay Phillips

King Keraun Becomes A Wolf Rescuer

6m

King Keraun Becomes A Wolf Rescuer

Superduper Kyle's Stay At Home Staycation

20m

Superduper Kyle's Stay At Home Staycation

King Keraun Becomes A Professional Bee Keeper

6m

King Keraun Becomes A Professional Bee Keeper

King Keraun Becomes A Clothing Crocheting Expert

6m

King Keraun Becomes A Clothing Crocheting Expert

King Keraun Attempts to Become A Ventriloquist

6m

King Keraun Attempts to Become A Ventriloquist

Pigeon Kings

1h 16m

Pigeon Kings

King Los

20m

King Los

King Britt

10m

King Britt

King Bach Plays 2 Truths and a Lie

1m

King Bach Plays 2 Truths and a Lie

Home Sweet Home

23m

Home Sweet Home

Smoothini Meets Waka Flocka Flame At His Home

1m

Smoothini Meets Waka Flocka Flame At His Home

New Cage King

44m

New Cage King

Pigeon Kings - Trailer

1m

Pigeon Kings - Trailer

Fluffy At Home Ep. 3: Gabriel Iglesias Hooks a Fan Up With Fluffy Merch

2m

Fluffy At Home Ep. 3: Gabriel Iglesias Hooks a Fan Up With Fluffy Merch

King Push and FILA

10m

King Push and FILA

Hail To The King

22m

Hail To The King

King Keraun Learns How To Crochet A Face Mask From A Pro Knitter

8m

King Keraun Learns How To Crochet A Face Mask From A Pro Knitter

Fluffy At Home Ep. 1: So Fresh and So Clean

2m

Fluffy At Home Ep. 1: So Fresh and So Clean

King Keraun Learns To Make Bread From Scratch From A Baker

8m

King Keraun Learns To Make Bread From Scratch From A Baker

King Keraun Falls Into a Sunken Place While in the Woods

2m

King Keraun Falls Into a Sunken Place While in the Woods

Three Kings: Meet the Cast

2m

Three Kings: Meet the Cast

King Keraun Tries Aerial Fitness

3m

King Keraun Tries Aerial Fitness

Return of the Ewing 33

5m

Return of the Ewing 33

King Keraun Attempts to Fly Board

6m

King Keraun Attempts to Fly Board

King Keraun Gets Into Tiny Houses

6m

King Keraun Gets Into Tiny Houses

Lebron James: King of the Court

41m

Lebron James: King of the Court

The King and Queen of  Bounce

21m

The King and Queen of Bounce

King Keraun Slides Down the Slopes

2m

King Keraun Slides Down the Slopes

The Fat Jewish and King Bach

20m

The Fat Jewish and King Bach

King Bach Crashes Into His Ex

2m

King Bach Crashes Into His Ex

King Keraun Goes "Back to the Future"

6m

King Keraun Goes "Back to the Future"

Fluffy At Home Ep. 2: Gabriel Iglesias Shows Off His Vintage VW Bus Collection

2m

Fluffy At Home Ep. 2: Gabriel Iglesias Shows Off His Vintage VW Bus Collection

No Place Like Home

21m

No Place Like Home

Xristina Tries To Romance A Ghost At A Haunted B&B

2m

Xristina Tries To Romance A Ghost At A Haunted B&B

Fila Returns with 96s and Ninja Turtles

6m

Fila Returns with 96s and Ninja Turtles

King Keraun Attempts to Become An "Archery Master"

6m

King Keraun Attempts to Become An "Archery Master"

King Keruan Steps Into the World of Ghosting

1m

King Keruan Steps Into the World of Ghosting

King Keraun Steps Into the World of Goth

2m

King Keraun Steps Into the World of Goth

Lil Jon Meets Smoothini at L.A. Winery

1m

Lil Jon Meets Smoothini at L.A. Winery

DeRay Mckesson Addresses Shaun King Controversy (Extended Cut)

13m

DeRay Mckesson Addresses Shaun King Controversy (Extended Cut)

King Keraun Attempts to Become An "Archery Master" YouTube

6m

King Keraun Attempts to Become An "Archery Master" YouTube

A$AP Rocky & Trinidad James At H-Town Sneaker Summit

9m

A$AP Rocky & Trinidad James At H-Town Sneaker Summit

Ate Mile

8m

Ate Mile

So You Can't Get Pregnant By Smiling at a Boy?

2m

So You Can't Get Pregnant By Smiling at a Boy?

Love at First Sight

24m

Love at First Sight

Bionka Performs At Beaux

1m

Bionka Performs At Beaux

Stevie Nicks: Wild at Heart

3644s

Stevie Nicks: Wild at Heart

Is Everything Love At The Carters?

39s

Is Everything Love At The Carters?

Statik Selektah

10m

Statik Selektah

Once a Stripper, Always a Ho

24m

Once a Stripper, Always a Ho

A Sexplanation

1h 16m

A Sexplanation

Dikembe Mutombo on Adidas at Sneaker Con

5m

Dikembe Mutombo on Adidas at Sneaker Con

Knuckles at the Tattoo Parlor: G-Thing

2m

Knuckles at the Tattoo Parlor: G-Thing

Success at the Tattoo Parlor: G-Thing

2m

Success at the Tattoo Parlor: G-Thing

Nya and Bambiana Bond At Cat Cafe

1m

Nya and Bambiana Bond At Cat Cafe

At the Buffet, There Are No Rules

21m

At the Buffet, There Are No Rules

Smoothini Schools Iggy Azalea In Magic

2m

Smoothini Schools Iggy Azalea In Magic

Big Trouble In Little Chinese Restaurant

9m

Big Trouble In Little Chinese Restaurant

A$AP Ferg Learns A Magic Trick

4m

A$AP Ferg Learns A Magic Trick

It's Not a Vacation, It's a Movie

20m

It's Not a Vacation, It's a Movie

A Glove That Fits Like a Dress

41m

A Glove That Fits Like a Dress

Sole Searching

Sole Searching

16 Bars - Trailer

1m

16 Bars - Trailer

16 Bars

1h 32m

16 Bars

Fuse+ is the Home for Big Freedia Means Business, Sex Sells, Made From Scratch & More!

30s

Fuse+ is the Home for Big Freedia Means Business, Sex Sells, Made From Scratch & More!

Junction 48 - Trailer

1m

Junction 48 - Trailer

Eminem: Count Me In

3657s

Eminem: Count Me In

Ice-T and Coco

22m

Ice-T and Coco

Fat Joe

20m

Fat Joe

Rock the Bells

21m

Rock the Bells

Attack Of The Tethered Strippers

8m

Attack Of The Tethered Strippers

Iggy Azalea Gets Mind Blown

1m

Iggy Azalea Gets Mind Blown

Junction 48

1h 31m

Junction 48

THEY. Does Magic With Smoothini At Firefly 2018

3m

THEY. Does Magic With Smoothini At Firefly 2018

A Soldiers Story

24m

A Soldiers Story

A Model Recap

43m

A Model Recap

A Sexplanation - Trailer

1m

A Sexplanation - Trailer

A$AP Ferg

20m

A$AP Ferg

A Big Splash

21m

A Big Splash

DJ Khaled: Another Win

41m

DJ Khaled: Another Win

Snoop Dogg: Uncaged

41m

Snoop Dogg: Uncaged

Peter Rosenberg

10m

Peter Rosenberg

A New High

1h 39m

A New High

What a Bummer

47m

What a Bummer

Inside Reebok and Future's Fury Pop-Up Shop

5m

Inside Reebok and Future's Fury Pop-Up Shop

Sole Searching: Inside DXC Sneaker Con 2013

4m

Sole Searching: Inside DXC Sneaker Con 2013

Jill Michelle Melean, Eric Schwartz

45m

Jill Michelle Melean, Eric Schwartz

Calmatic

20m

Calmatic

Strike a Pose

1h 25m

Strike a Pose

A Perfect 14

1h 42m

A Perfect 14