The Borgata brings hip-hop royalty to town as Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘Throne’ tour hits Boardwalk Hall Nov. 19
ATLANTIC CITY — Hip-hop isn’t what it was during the late 1980s when there were a number of incendiary acts, none larger than Public Enemy, which rapped about what mattered with a palpable intensity.
That was a golden era.
A minority of contemporary hip-hop artists are rapping about what matters. You can put Jay-Z and Kanye West onto that list. The iconic recording artists aren’t like their peers, many of which are content to wax about conspicuous consumption.
Jay-Z and West impress in the studio and on the road. The hip-hop champs’ Watch the Throne tour is arguably the concert event of the year, with apologies to U2.
The Throne Tour, which is slated for Saturday, Nov. 19, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall is a tough ticket, which isn’t surprising since virtually every date of the tour is SRO.
Jay-Z and West offered a preview of the concert two weeks ago at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and they lived up to the considerable hype behind the tour and the pair’s Watch The Throne album, which is, in this writer’s opinion, the best hip-hop release since West’s 2010 offering My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
There are anthemic cuts (“That’s My Bitch”), deep tunes (“A New Day”) and earnest songs (“Why I Love You”). The lyrics are insightful and provocative. There are some bombastic moments, too, but what do you expect when two massive egos get together?
For the most part the tandem nail it in the studio. “Made in America,” which sounds biographical as West belts out the words, might be the controversial rapper’s finest work. He and his pal Jay have a chemistry and each has their finger on the pulse of hip-hop.
The only prep I had for the Throne show was West’s brilliant performance in March, which closed the mighty South By Southwest music conference. West, who played a 2,500 capacity venue in Austin, Texas had a number of costume changes and guests, including Jay-Z. The energy and excitement was off the charts as West ripped it up.
To West and Jay-Z’s credit, the juice at their recent Philly show was almost on the same level, which is a neat trick considering that they played a venue nearly 10 times the size of what they hit in Austin.
They know how to play it to make it seem like they’re performing an intimate show in an airplane hangar.
At the start of the Throne show, West and Jay appear at different sides of the stage as it rises, making it seem like the figures are larger than life, which is apt since they are just that and there are precious few stars in music that revel in their carefully crafted image like West and Jay Z.
In a perfect world, if the casinos had their way, the year would always end on a Friday or Saturday. It would never end on a Monday, as it does this year.
Rakim, Slick Rick, and Biz Markie, who will join Special Ed Friday, Aug. 24, at the House of Blues at Showboat in Atlantic City.
Unless he retires from the music business entirely, it is unlikely that Jay-Z’s Atlantic City 40/40 Club will ever keep pace in years with the famous rapper/producer/entrepreneur’s growing list of Grammy awards.
Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige -- perhaps the biggest respective male and female names in hip-hop and R&B music, with over 70 million combined albums sold worldwide and 12 Grammy wins between them -- have joined forces for the Heart of the City Tour, which stops Saturday at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, sponsored by Trump Entertainment Resorts. The tour marks the first time the superstars have done so together, but their professional relationship dates back to 1996, when Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, dropped his first album, Reasonable Doubt. That album kicks off with "Can't Knock the Hustle," and Blige, who had already established herself as an up-and-coming R&B/hip-hop star with the albums What's the 411 and My Life, is featured countering Jay-Z's nimble rhymes by singing the track's prophetic chorus, "Baby, one day you'll be a star." Every show on the Heart of the City tour opens with Jay-Z and Blige performing an updated version of "Can't Knock the Hustle." In an upscale setting that should be well suited for Boardwalk Hall, the dynamic duo performs the song on a chandelier-adorned stage, backed by a large, formally outfitted band that more closely resembles an orchestra. The moment...
Both stories include a pair of huge pop stars collaborating — or at least talking about collaborating — at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
Summer in the city is officially in my rearview mirror. This week's "Beat" will be a final ballad for the summer season as we ready ourselves for the 40/40 Club, NFL football (pay T.O) and NBA basketball (fans, please give Mo Cheeks a chance before calling for his job). After the Boyz II Men Show Prior to the Boyz II Men shows at the Tropicana last month, I had all kinds of problems with TSOP, located in The Quarter. Basically, I found the staff rude. They acted as if they were doing me a favor by taking my money as a patron. I took names of staff and reported them to the PR department at the Trop. After the third time, I pretty much kept my visits to TSOP scarce, short and rare. I shared my concerns with club manager Jeff Lawry who explained that some of the original employees had been replaced by staff that would make my (and others') experience at TSOP more customer friendly. Lawry also invited me to his birthday party on Aug. 20, along with a busload or more from Philly to help him celebrate. The party started with a post-concert meet-and-greet with Boyz II Men. Spinning that...
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