By Rob Markman
If you’ve ever been to a Jay-Z show then you know to always expect the unexpected. It was during 1999’s Hard Knock Life Tour where Jigga really emerged as a force on stage, and he’ll continue that run tonight with his first show at the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In 2001, while performing at Hot 97’s annual Summer Jam concert, the King of Rap brought out Michael Jackson the King of Pop. Then, in 2004, Jigga corralled Mary J. Blige and Usher after R. Kelly split on their Best of Both Worlds show in Madison Square Garden.
So now that Jay-Z has the chance to christen the new Barclays Center in his native Brooklyn (with the first of eight shows kicking off on Friday night), the expectations are sky-high for the God MC.
“I really hope it’s just a celebration,” Jay-Z told MTV News on Wednesday night, as he walked the red carpet at his Manhattan 40/40 Club for the release of the top-selling basketball video game, “NBA 2K13.”
Anyone who has ever been to a Jay show knows that he commands a ton of crowd participation, especially when he performs favorites like “Hard Knock Life,” “Jigga What, Jigga Who” and the Kanye West-produced “Encore.”
“Pretty much all the concerts are loud and sing-a-longs, but I hope that this is a special thing,” Jay said of his homecoming. “It’s pretty much a celebration of having a team in Brooklyn — you know, again, everybody knows we hadn’t had a team since the Dodgers, so it’s really a happy time in Brooklyn.”
Of course the team Jay is referring to is the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA basketball team which he helped relocate from new Jersey to BK as a minority owner.
Whether Jay has a list of surprise guests or any tricks up his sleeve, the veteran spitter is unlikely to slip-up and give a reveal. Through his career he has always maintained an element of surprise. Still, Jay does promise one thing for his Barclays home stand: “An amazing time.”
We expect nothing less.