Welcome To The B-Side.
For one night only, Hov will headline his highly requested B-Sides concert at an undisclosed location in New York City. There’s no album to promote. In fact, it’s been nearly two years since his last LP Magna Carta Holy Grail. Instead, the show is in support of his recently acquired TIDAL streaming service.
To the frustrations of resellers, tickets aren’t for sale and entry is based on user submitted playlists. For TIDAL subscribers however, the concert will be streamed on the platform.
While most artists lean on their latest recording as a concert draw, Hov is banking on his “old shit”. Album cuts. Songs tucked away on soundtracks, compilations, and mixtapes. Barring his 2003 “retirement party”, this will be Jigga’s most important gig to date.
For nearly three years, I’ve been petitioning for this concert. Sure, its fun to sing along to platinum hits like, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” and “Can I Get A…” but what about those underground classics like, “Reservoir Dogs” and “It’s Like That” ? For far too long, pricey tickets and set list redundancy have dissuaded long time Jay Z fans. But with this concert, he can appeal directly to his core.
The thing that makes Jay Z’s b-sides so appealing is that his non-singles actually sound like singles. Thanks to producers like Kanye West and Just Blaze, Hov’s sound has been brewed for mass consumption. Songs like “Public Service Announcement” off The Black Album have been fermented from an interlude into the greatest performance hip-hop track of all time.
At last year’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, fans reveled when Jay sauntered on stage to his mixtape favorite, “Young, Gifted, and Black” before following it up with “We Made It (Freestyle)” and “Shiny Suit Theory”. Perhaps it truly is a gift a curse. With a catalogue deeper than a Brooklyn pothole, the toughest part about being Jay Z then, is pleasing everyone now.
Respectfully, Hov isn’t the only rapper with this much clout. Take Kanye West. At Tyler The Creator’s annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, The Odd Future frontman requested and joined Ye for a performance of his bonus gem, “Late”. Drake’s Soundcloud offerings generate the same (or even more) fervor as his serviced material. Nas made a classic off salvaged recordings. Eminem’s best moments aren’t on Billboard. 50 Cent’s mixtape material could double as karaoke in the hood.
He’s got to be pioneer to this shit, so it remains to be seen whether or not more rappers will follow Hov’s blueprint (It would be appreciated). But what is clear is that quality music bears no expiration date. Will he ever fall off? I think we all know the answer to that.