On Friday night, Jay-Z ended his Magna Carter World Tour at the Bryce Jordan Center in front of thousands of screaming fans hanging on his every word. The king of rap played through his old songs, new hits, and featured verses with mastery and flow like no other rapper today.
With just a simple “Penn State what up?” Hov sent the crowd into a frenzy while starting the show with the classic “U Don’t Know” and “Crown,” one of the singles off his latest album.
While the King of Hip Hop may have put on a great show, singing hits like “On To the Next One” and “Holy Grail,” the night will be partly remembered for the lack of a certain Queen. Rumors were rampant throughout the day that Beyoncé, Jay’s wife, was in State College and might perform during the show. Whether he knew about the rumors or not, Jay-Z teased the crowd as the opening bars of Queen Bey’s hit “Drunk in Love” dropped. Unfortunately, Beyonce didn’t make an appearance and only Jay’s short verse in the song was sung, which left the crowd in a stunned daze.
The buzzkill didn’t last long, though, as “99 Problems” and “Picasso Baby” brought the mostly-inebriated students back to life. After a few more songs, the headliner actually left the stage for about 15 minutes, allowing rapper/producer Timbaland to play a few songs.
Jay-Z played a few more songs before starting his hit “Paris,” which was easily the wildest song of the night to that point. After finishing his verse, Hov exclaimed, “What’s that verse again? ‘What’s 50 grand to a mother fucker like me?'” He then proceeded to tell the students “Fuck the fire code, and the security guards better lay off,” and encouraged everyone to stand on their chairs and rush the floor as he played “Paris” for a second time.
With the stands half-full, and the floor packed, Carter went into a different mode. He played hit after hit after hit, and fed off the crowd’s energy more than anyone that’s performed at Penn State this year. While reminding the crowd, “Ain’t nobody fresher than my Penn State clique,” he played songs such as “Public Service Announcement (Interlude),” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).” With a touching version of “Young Forever” dedicated to Nelson Mandela, the Magna Carter World Tour was finished.
Instead of bringing an elaborate stage, wearing a mask, or distracting the crowd with dancers and lights, the aging rapper relied on his stage presence, extreme eloquence, and massive catalog of hits to perform a great show. Jay is a professional, and on Friday night, he showed why he’s still the best out there.