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The Top 5 things Jay-Z has taught us

Jay-Z was kidding around with host Jonathan Ross on the BBC recently, joking about all the things he has taught Beyoncé.

"The whole Uh-Oh Dance, I started that," he said, smiling, quickly adding that he also taught her the famous "Single Ladies" dance. "I said, 'You should do this,' " Jay said, twisting his hand, back and forth. "And, you know, she did it.

"I wouldn't really tell anybody this, but you asked me," he added. "I don't want to make it seem like I'm making myself more important."

Well, of course not. After all, as Jay-Z's "Blueprint 3 Tour" winds down with a stop at Nassau Coliseum Friday, he's taught us so much already. Here are his Top 5 lessons:

PHOTOS: Jay-Z performances

PHOTOS: Beyonce in concert


1. Your Fourth Amendment rights in a traffic stop. In "99 Problems," he clearly explains a driver's rights when an officer stops him and asks, "Do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?" With nothing meeting the plain-view exception, Jay replies, "Well, my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk and the back / And I know my rights, so you gon' need a warrant for that."


2. Car financing and money management. In "Can I Live," he offers this: "We don't lease, we buy the whole car, as you should. . . . History school us to spend our money foolish / Bond with jewelers and watch for intruders."

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3. Idealism vs. pragmatism. In "Moment of Clarity," Jay-Z laments that the best rappers aren't the best known. "We as rappers must decide what's most important and I can't help the poor if I'm one of them / So I got rich and gave back, to me that's the win-win."


4. The importance of optimism on the economy. In Newsweek, George Will says economic pessimism is bad because "in the long run it is always wrong; in the short run it can be self-fulfilling." In "D.O.A.," Jay-Z says, "I know we facing a recession, but the music y'all making gonna make it the Great Depression."


5. The Iran-Contra link to the rise of crack. Though there have been many investigations and counter-investigations about whether the CIA was involved in letting crack cocaine into the Los Angeles projects to help fund the Contras in the '80s, Jay-Z revives the debate in "Blue Magic," saying, "Blame Reagan for makin' me a monster / Blame Oliver North for Iran-Contra / I ran contraband that they sponsored."

PHOTOS: Jay-Z performances

PHOTOS: Beyonce in concert

What the critics are saying

"Jay-Z conceivably could record the first meaningful rap concert album. . . . The difference between rapping to tracks and rapping to a band is the difference between pro wrestling and boxing."

- Keith Spera, New Orleans Times-Picayune

"There's an engulfing quality to his music, from the thunderous beats to the rhymes, which have messiahlike potency. Disciples are more than understandable."

- Mario Tarradell, Dallas Morning News

"Even if rap isn't your game, a Jay-Z show is a must-see - if only for the nonstop frenzy of male groupies that linger on his every word and lip-sync every lyric."

- Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle

 

 

WHO Jay-Z

WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nassau Coliseum

INFO $36-$126; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com

 

Setlist

Though Jay-Z switches a few songs up in his medley, his setlist remains pretty much intact:

"Run This Town"

"Diamonds From Sierra Leone"

"On to the Next One"

"D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)"

"U Don't Know"

"99 Problems"

"Show Me What You Got"

"I Just Wanna Love U"

"I Wanna Rock"

"Jigga My -- "

"Hovi Baby"

"Jigga What, Jigga Who"

"Public Service Announcement"

"Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)"

"Dear Summer"

"Already Home"

"Empire State of Mind"

"Real as It Gets" (featuring Young Jeezy)


Young Jeezy set:

"My President"

"Dirt Off Your Shoulder"

"Swagga Like Us"

"Thank You"

 
Medley: "Can I Get A ... " / "Big Pimpin' " / "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" / "Encore"

 

Tale of the Tape: Frank Sinatra vs. Jay-Z

There's no doubt Jay-Z can make it anywhere. But is he "the new Sinatra," as he puts it on his New York anthem, "Empire State of Mind"?

"Empire" has been giving "New York, New York" a run as the official song of the city since it came out last year. We take a look at both.

- KEVIN AMORIM

 

SONGS AND SINGERS

FRANK: "New York, New York," Frank Sinatra

JAY-Z: "Empire State of Mind," Jay-Z (with Alicia Keys)

FOR STARTERS

FRANK:

"Start spreading the news/

I am leaving today/

I want to be a part of it/

New York, New York"

JAY-Z:

"Yeah, I'm out that Brooklyn/

Now I'm down in TriBeCa/

Right next to De Niro/

But I'll be hood forever"

YOU TALKIN' TO ME?

FRANK: John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote the song for Martin Scorsese's 1977 film of the same name for Liza Minnelli to sing. But co-star Robert De Niro thought the first version was too weak, so Kander and Ebb rewrote it on the spot.

 

JAY-Z: Beyoncé, Mrs. Jay-Z, performed "New York, New York" for the American Film Institute's tribute to De Niro in 2003. (The Lovely One is referenced in "Empire," when hubby raps, "BK is from Texas.")

FIRST TIME LIVE

FRANK: Oct. 13, 1978, World Mercy Fund Benefit, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel

JAY-Z: Sept. 11, 2009, Answer the Call Benefit, Madison Square Garden

SHOUT-OUTS

FRANK: Unless Sinatra is singing about Fresh Kills (" . . . And find I'm king of the hill / Top of the heap"), there's no name-checking

JAY-Z: The Yankees, Afrika Bambaataa, Notorious B.I.G., the Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center

LASTING IMPRESSION

FRANK: The Sinatra version brings to mind a simpler time. A quaint keeper.

JAY-Z: It was Derek Jeter's at-bat music last fall as he led the Yanks to a championship. A modern winner.

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