Chris Martin was there. So were Drake, Beyonce, Kanye West, Swiss Beatz,Â Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent and Dr. Dre. And, oh yeah, Eminem and Jay-Z.
Slim Shady and Hova rolled out the red carpet for guest after guest at the pair’s opening night at New York’s Yankee Stadium, Sept. 13.Â Yeah, you know, that gig that Eminem had to leave the MTV Video Music Awards for before he could collect any of his trophies.
It was the third show by the pair, following two gigs earlier this month in Eminem’s home town of Detroit. This time, they were on Jay-Z’s turf.
The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica praised the evening as a whole, but not without reservations:
“In New York, Eminem was no match for Jay-Z’s specificity, the intangible quality that allows songs to resonate more powerfully in one baseball stadium than in another several states away. It’s the thing that makes â€œBig Pimpin’,â€ Jay-Z’s most committed foray into the style of Southern hip-hop, actually the soundtrack of New York rap triumphalism.”
He went on to call Jay-Z and Beyonce’s take on â€œYoung Loveâ€ â€œdour,â€ but praised Jay-Z and Coldplay’s Martin’s take on â€œHeart of the City (Ain’t No Love),â€ â€œMost Kingsâ€ and â€œVida La Vida.â€
Of Eminem’s performance, Cararmanica wrote: â€œEminem worked hard, a combustion engine vibrating at full throttle, and did an impressive job of making what is essentially deeply technical, deeply insular art appear spacious and arena-worthy.â€
The New York Post’s Dan Aguilante was more effusive, calling Eminem â€œincredible…His raps were fast and clear, and his rhymes hit their targets with a marksman’s accuracy. In a way, it’s surprising how well Eminem’s music worked in a stadium setting. Power raps such as “Stan” and the new “Not Afraid” became unexpected sing-alongs, where the fans sounded like a hired choir.”
The Associated Press’s Nekesa Mumbi Moody also positively reviewed the show, calling Eminem’s portion “impassioned, if imperfect,”Â giving the slight edge to Jay-Z: “For Jay-Z, who has been hip-hop’s reigning king for some time now, mingling with rock stars, presidents and baseball champions with ease, Monday’s performance only seemed to confirm why he’s still one of rap and pop’s most engaging figures some 15 years after his debut,”Â she wrote. “He delivered hits like ’99 Problems,’ ‘On to the Next One’ and ‘Hard Knock Life’ with precision, backed by glitzy graphics. He gave West a moment to shine as West rapped his hits ‘Power’ and “Good Life,” and the two brought out Minaj for their buzzed-about new song ‘Monster.'”
Even though Eminem and Jay-Z will play Yankee Stadium again tonight in the closing night of their four-date tour, it sounds like Jay-Z summed up Monday night perfectly, telling the audience as the show moved past midnight,Â “This is historic: They ain’t never gonna be another night like tonight.”