“There’s a different set of rules we abide by here,” Jay Z rapped form centerstage at New York City’s Terminal 5 yesterday (May 18). The line’s from his nearly forgotten 2003 offering, The S. Carter Collection Mixtape song “Young, Black & Gifted.” 12 years later, it still seems to ring true for the musician-turned-mogul. This weekend Jay, powered by his digital streaming service Tidal, held two concerts. Titled the B-Sides show, they were an opportunity for fans to hear songs he rarely performs, because they were never hit singles. It also served as a great branding opportunity for Tidal, which gives artists as big as Jay or as unknown as some indie rocker trying to make ends meet a greater profit per play of their songs or albums. He’s making new rules and giving his peers more.
Last night capped off the weekend and boasted several noteworthy moments—be they wifey Beyonce looking like every bit of the queen she’s called, Jay taking time to talk about rampant violence in the black community or just plain ol’ good music. Check out our list of the four best parts of last night’s shows.
BEYONCE DRESSED TO PLAY
Fresh off a plane from Haiti, where she likely did a world of good on a humanitarian mission with the United Nations, Jay’s wife Beyonce strutted right into Terminal 5 looking stage ready. In a sequined Chicago Bulls jersey and stilettos, show-goers either quietly snuck in smartphone pictures of Bey’ or loudly asked if she’d please perform one of her many songs with Jay. She didn’t, unfortunately. But she definitely looked like she had a blast rapping along to all of her husband’s lyrics.
Haiti. Humanitarian mission with the UN.
A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on
JAY DISSES YOUTUBE, SPOTIFY
The greatest goal behind Jay’s Tidal is that artists get a greater cut of the pie for their art. It’s a fact that he takes much pride in and, conversely, hates any team or company that doesn’t give people their fair share. That said, Jay had some new venomous rhymes this weekend for both Spotify and YouTube. “I feel like YouTube is the biggest culprit,” he rapped. “Them ni**as pay you a tenth of what you supposed to get/ You know ni**as die for equal pay right?/ You know when I work I ain’t your slave right?/ You know I ain’t shucking and jiving and high-fiving, and you know this ain’t back in the days right?” Basically, it’s a new day and Jay wants everything he deserves.
JAY: “WE ARE KINGS AND QUEENS”
The hip-hop community suffered a loss yesterday (May 17) when up-and-coming rapper Lionel “Chinx” Pickens was gunned down in New York City. Jay took a break from his set to talk to the crowd about senseless violence. "We need to understand that we are kings and queens,” he began. “We gotta protect our own. I know how hard it is. You understand what I'm saying? Let's not make it harder on ourselves.” The five-minute campaign for peace amongst the community was well-received.
OLD FRIENDS FROM PHILLY
Not only did Jay dust off some classic cuts, he brought some old buddies along for the ride. Before he was the boss at his Roc Nation record label, he ran Roc-a-Fella Records, where artists like Philly studs Beanie Sigel and Freeway called their stomping grounds. Both surprised the amped audience to perform Freeway 2002 jam “What We Do.” Jay appeared to be as happy as anyone else in the room, grinning as a bearded Freeway cruised through his verse. See full concert below.