By Rob Markman
Selling out arenas across the U.S. for his Watch the Throne tour was a good look for 2011, but Jay-Z still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve for the upcoming year. On February 6 and 7, Hov will play the famed Carnegie Hall — and it’s all for a great cause. “Any time I get a chance to expand and broaden the reach of hip-hop is a great thing for me on a personal level,” Jay said after announcing the shows Thursday (December 8).
“When we were looking at hip-hop, we were just happy to play club dates,” Jay told MTV News. “And then Run-DMC started doing arenas, and you’re like, ’Man, this is possible,’ and it just keeps going further and further.”
With the pair of shows — which will be held at Carnegie’s Stern Auditorium — Jay aims to raise millions of dollars for the United Way of New York City and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation in an effort to put low-income NYC students in a position to attend college.
Shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, Hov — as well as top brass from Carnegie Hall, the United Way and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation — gathered in Carnegie to announce the concert and talk about their fundraising efforts. Tickets for the dates will be sold privately and priced at a premium rate, fetching anywhere from $500 to $2,500 to raise a significant pot of money for the charity.
Regular fans aren’t completely shut out, though. On January 30, a number of reasonably priced tickets will go on sale to the public. The publicly sold seats are being released so close to the concert date in hopes of curtailing scalping.
After the press conference, Jigga sat down with MTV News to explain his motivation. “We’re not just doing a show for the sake of it,” Hov said. “For all these years, [the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation has] been really grassroots. My mom has been getting on the bus herself and taking kids to orientation and doing this work by herself. Now … we’re building this thing out.”
Jay hasn’t determined how his Carnegie set will look, if he will bring out any guests during his shows or how many times he will perform “N—as in Paris,” but all those questions will be eventually be answered.
“We have to do a rendition of ’N—as in Paris’ in Carnegie Hall; it just has to go down,” Jay said, laughing after being posed the question. “I ain’t think about that. That’ll be great.”