On Wednesday night (Mar. 2) during his “Blueprint 3” tour stop at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Jay-Z said the famous venue should be called “The House that Hovie built,” and the rapper wasn’t kidding.
While Jay kept it quieter this time around — with less guest performances on this night than on his previous MSG stop in November (which included appearances by Kid Cudi, Rihanna, Beyoncé and John Mayer), the Brooklyn rapper reminded fans why his hometown is the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” when Lil Wayne hit the stage with Young Jeezy.
Wayne was supposed to be sentenced to a year in jail the same day, but it was postponed due to a courthouse fire, and he took his extra day of freedom to light a quick fire of his own before the excited crowd.
After spitting a few verses, including the one from Shawty Lo’s “Dey Know,” Jeezy gave a “shout out to my homie Lil Wayne — hold your head up.” He then said he wanted to bring someone out to dedicate a record to him, which was when Nicki Minaj, sporting gold tights, a fitted black blazer and her staple black-and-pink wig, entered the stage, performing her verse from the Young Money hit, “Bedrock.”
After the song, Jeezy asked Nicki to stay on stage as the beat from “I’m Goin’ In” dropped. Lil Wayne then emerged from the mini stage where Jay-Z’s Roc Boys band was playing and jumped on the main stage with Jeezy and Minaj. The surprise appearance set the concertgoers into a frenzy.
Drake then came out wearing all white — unlike the rest of the performers who wore “all black everything” — and dropped his verse. The crowd seemed just as thrilled to see Drizzy Drake, giving him a raucous response. Jeezy closed the song with his verse, then all three men chanted the chorus in unison: “I’m goin’ in, I’m goin’ in, and I’mma go hard!” as Minaj paraded her curvy figure up and down the stage.
“Jeezy, you a real n*gga,” Wayne said before walking off stage. “We with you 100 percent,” Jeezy replied.
After asking the room to “make some noise” for Wayne and Young Money, Jeezy hit the crowd with his own hits, like “Crazy World,” “Trap Star/Go Crazy,” and “Go Getta.” He ended his set by bringing out his final guest, Akon, for “Soul Survivor.”
The otherwise mellow evening was highlighted by newer Jay-Z tracks, like “Run This Town,” “On To The Next One,” “D.O.A.” and “Empire State of Mind.”
The night’s opening act, Trey Songz, not only performed a 30-minute set of his own which included recent hits like “Invented Sex” and “Neighbors Know My Name,” — during which Trey appropriately went shirtless — but also joined Jay-Z for renditions of “Already Home” and “Heart of a City.” Trey also brought out Fabolous for “Say Ahhh” and poured liquor down a female concertgoer’s throat.
After a fake out with the track “Thank You,” and thanking “New York City for coming out tonight,” saying he had “a beautiful time,” Jay suddenly took his jacket off and stated, “Fuck it, let’s go on overtime. Bleek, where you at, Bleek? You ready?” he asked his longtime friend/rapper Memphis Bleek, who served as Jay’s hypeman the entire night. “If you a ‘Blueprint’ fan, then, we appreciate you for coming out but this might be a good time to go home,” Jay-Z said with a chuckle, “because we about to go way back.”
At this point Jay-Z performed a slew of classic tunes, including “Excuse Me,” “La La La,” “03 Bonnie and Clyde,” “Ain’t No N*gga,” “Money Ain’t a Thing,” “Can I Live” and “Big Pimpin’,” among others.
Jay-Z wrapped up the night by shouting out individual concertgoers, a long-running ritual at the end of shows. “I see you over there in the stripes waving the towel,” he said pointing to the center, “and I see you over there, homeboy was holding me down the whole time,” he addressed a young man wearing a baby blue shirt at the front of the venue.
As the horns from “Encore” blasted through the speakers, Jay-Z asked his fans to “make some noise for Memphis Bleek. Make some noise for the band. Make some noise for another sold out concert. It feels good to be home,” he said putting the diamond up in the air before disappearing into the ground.