Last night was the opening of Barclays Center, Brooklyn’s very own rust-covered arena, and to celebrate the occasion, Jay-Z played the first in a series of eight shows. He debuted a new verse, brought Queen Beyonce along, and performed “Can I Live,” which isn’t so much notable as it is awesome because Reasonable Doubt is the best. But the highlight of the highlight-laden show was when Jay-Z’s borough brother Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G., appeared, sort of. According to Global Grind:
Jay definitely made the building shake when he brought out Biggie Smalls as a hi-tech video (earlier reported as a hologram, but word from folks inside is that it was just a hi-tech video). Word from our girl Miss Info is that stage cost $400,000. (Via)
The Wall Street Journal adds:
Jay-Z undoubtedly could’ve had his pick of guest stars, but he rapped alone through his main set, which included songs famous for featuring Rihanna (“Run This Town”) and Alicia Keys (“Empire State of Mind”). Instead, the presence looming over the evening was that of a long-dead rapper: Notorious B.I.G., who Jay-Z and others have celebrated (and competed with) since his killing in 1997. Two songs by Biggie played out early in Jay-Z’s set, followed by his call for a moment of silence. (Via)
Just as well that it wasn’t Coachella all over again — an East Coast vs. West Coast holograms rivalry would be like having a gun fight where everyone’s armed with Super Soakers. Anyway, footage of the Barclays performance isn’t online yet, so here’s a video of Biggie freestyling in 1989 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, approximately two miles west of where Barclays now stands. Things done changed.
UPDATE: Real Talk NY has some fantastic footage of the show: