On Friday, October 30th the King of New York graced Montreal with his presence, his repertoire and with his place in pop cultural history. After a 10-year absence, Jay-Z was finally back in a City where he is deeply loved, despite the obstacles. I could speak of the man’s excellence or of his accomplishments but that would be, for anybody not leaving under a rock, déjà-heard. Instead, I prefer to pay homage to the thousands who, for years, have loved and supported Jay-Z. Those who could recite his anthems way before he was part of the hottest couple in music and before he made it to the top of every multimillionaires’ list known to the publishing world.
Those thousands of fans are like me, part of a legion; this is la familia as Hova would say. Montreal calls itself a cultural metropolis but it boasts no Hip Hop & R n’ B radio stations. How could that be? Musical programmers are somewhat clueless when it comes to the genre and to its culture.It’s a pathetic and embarrassing reality. Montrealers have always had to love Hip Hop in a clandestine way but Hip Hop lives here because of promoters (like such luminaries as Donald Robins and Rickey Daley) who know their craft and understand that Hip Hop is neither a phase nor is it an incitation to violence as many stereotypes would have you believe. Hip Hop also lives here because of a handful of journalists (amongst that handful, two veterans: T’Cha Dunleavy of the Montreal Gazette& Philippe Renaud of La Presse) who not only know and love it, but I’m sure often have to justify to their editors why it is primordial they cover Hip Hop artists.
So to the Montreal Hip Hop heads, the gutsy promoters and ballsy journalists, I tip my Yankee hat to you. This is Roc Nation: pledge your allegiance.
Jay-Z opened the Montreal show with “Run This Town”. Watch it here , via Webpresse.ca
Hardcore Jay-Z fans will always get a kick out of this: