WEB EXCLUSIVE: Jay Z greets the Nation

Jay-Z is arguably the most successful personality in hip-hop today. Now, after completing his fourth album in five years, it appears he is not going to stop anytime soon.

Jay-Z stopped at Nation in D.C. Sunday as part of his “Blueprint Lounge Tour” to support his most recent album, The Blueprint. The idea behind the tour is to let Jay-Z and his fans get more acquainted with each other by playing small venues.

Jay-Z chose a small venue, Nation, deviating from his norm of playing arena shows. The show featured the entire Roc-A-Fella Records (Jay-Z’s record label) family. Additional performers included Memphis Bleek and Beanie Siegal. Jay-Z even brought along old-school king Biz Markie to warm up the crowd before he came on.

When the curtains opened, a stage set resembling a casual bar appeared, with drinks on a counter and women dancing on both sides of the stage. Jay-Z appeared and asked the crowd for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent terror attacks. He proceeded to drop a freestyle that would have impressed even the most critical hip-hop fan, making reference to Osama Bin Laden and proclaiming his album was number one, despite being released the day of the tragedies.

He then broke into his summer-hit single “H to the Izzo,” and never looked back, maintaining a high level of energy throughout the show. He also did a good job mixing up the songs, most of which came from his new and previous two albums.

At one point the music stopped, and he paid tribute to Aaliyah, which he followed with the somber track from his last album, “This Can’t Be Life.” The intensity of the show grew as he threw disses at industry foes Mobb Deep and Nas. He deftly commanded over the performance throughout, and the entire audience seemed more impressed with Jay-Z when they left than when they arrived.

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