Jay-Z gets political at NYC comeback show
The Brooklyn rapper kicked off the first of three days of the Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field in Queens, performing a 90-minute set that included well-known songs as well as political moments.
“I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight,” Jay-Z said of “The Story of O.J.,” a song about blackness and managing money that also references O.J. Simpson.
“I want to dedicate this to Dick Gregory. I want to dedicate this song to anyone that was held back and you overcame,” he added about the song from his personal and revealing album, “4:44.”
Kaepernick became a polarizing figure among NFL fans for his decision to sit, and then kneel, during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality. Gregory, who died last month, was a comedian and activist who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health.
Jay-Z’s performance, though full of energy and excitement, had some other serious tones.
When the beat for the Kanye West-produced 2003 song “Lucifer” came on - which samples Max Romeo’s “Chase the Devil” and includes the lyrics “Lucifer son of the morning, I’m gonna chase you out of Earth” - Jay-Z told the mostly young audience: “I promise we won’t take people out of this country.”
Jay-Z’s set also included big hits from his 21-year-old career, from “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” to “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” to “Empire State of Mind.” His last main show in New York was part of his 2014 On the Run Tour with Beyonce, though he’s had some performances for his Tidal streaming service and surprise appearances. AP