Jay-Z Pays Tribute to Nipsey Hussle, Brings Out Nas at ‘B-Sides 2’ Webster Hall
A show of Jay-Z’s B-sides and cult favorites isn’t by default “gutter,” as Kent took to describing the star-studded performance that doubled as the reopening of New York’s storied Webster Hall, for his discography is simply too varied. But it certainly gave the rapper an opportunity to tap into a specific cross-section of his discography that he doesn’t always have the chance to imbue with his elder statesman charisma and wisdom the way he does with tour staples like “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Hard Knock Life.”
The elegance of the band and Hov’s sartorial choice most naturally connected with the handful of American Gangster cuts he broke out, including “Sweet,” “No Hook,” and “Success,” which featured the first of two starry cameos, as Nas emerged to deliver his verse over the thunderous organ and crackling snares and hi-hats.
Knowing the power of the moment, the pair quickly jumped back more than two decades to what is often considered the foundation of their beef, as Nas’ “The World Is Yours” blended into Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents II.” The coordination between that medley and the ensuing one of “N.Y. State of Mind” and “Bring It On,” which originally was supposed to have a Nas verse, showed that this was far from a spur-of-the-moment decision.
During the concert, Cam’ron took the Webster Hall stage, joining Jay and a live band for the performance, prompting an eruption of applause from the crowd. The moment happened more than 15 years after the two New York City artists were in a perceived beef shortly after Cam’ signed to Jay’s Roc-A-Fella Records.