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In Reopening Webster Hall, Jay-Z Transforms Rivals Into Old Friends

Jay-Z

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Roc Nation

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In Reopening Webster Hall, Jay-Z Transforms Rivals Into Old Friends

As he helped launch a new age of the revered East Village music venue, Hov publicly mended fences with Cam'ron and Nas, and even paid tribute to fallen rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle

GRAMMYs/Apr 29, 2019 - 11:18 pm

The night was enchanting.

So many beautiful things came to life at Jay-Z’s "B-Sides 2" concert held at the iconic and newly renovated Webster Hall in New York City. A designated landmark for the Big Apple and its oldest operating music venue, Webster Hall underwent renovations for nearly two years before swinging open its doors on Friday night for a homecoming concert (no pun intended, Beyoncé fans!) with the 22-time GRAMMY award-winning artist. It was Jay-Z’s first time performing at the East Village venue, which is now owned by AEG Live and BSE (of the Barclays Center), but he seemed at home. 

Maybe that's because he was.

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Just a hop, skip and train ride away is Brooklyn, i.e., the place that molded Jay-Z, tested his belief in self, and provided the inspiration for many of his most introspective and greatest songs, some of which he performed at Webster.

But first, we had to wait. DJ Clark Kent, a legend in his own right who produced three tracks on Jay’s debut album, Reasonable Doubt, spun records on his turntables for over two hours before Jay hit the stage in a sleek tuxedo, bow tie, headband and heavy gold chain. When he walked onstage—eyes wide open, a slight grin on his face—and placed both hands on the microphone, time seemed to stand still. The crowd roared, and hands shaped like diamonds flew in the air. The intimate ballroom—a space that sold out just hours after tickets went on sale—held an energy of anticipation, excitement and awe.  Something special was happening, and everyone in the room knew it. Hovi's home.

"I can’t help it if my B Sides are A sides," Jay-Z bragged during the show. Never a fan of humility, but also never needing to be, most of Jay-Z’s B-side tracks are bonafide hits. He bolted out cult favorites like "Allure," "Lucifer," and "Prelude," with an extraordinary live band behind him. Like his first "B-Sides" concert at Terminal 5 in 2015, where he reunited with his Roc-A-Fella familia Beanie Sigel and Freeway, he brought out special guests. 

First up, Nas. The two superstars have a soiled past and one of hip-hop’s greatest feuds on wax, so no one expected this kind of reconciliation. Sure, they’ve made up since then but their onstage collaboration appeared rooted in a genuine love and respect for one another. It was an honorable disregard for the past, and a sincere embrace of the now. During Jay-Z's performance of "Success," Nas emerged in a butter-soft black leather trench and his own QB heavy chain adorning his neck. The audience screamed along, not fully understanding the gravity of the moment, but appreciating it nonetheless. The two legends performed Nas' "The World is Yours," which led into Jay's "Dead Presidents," a song that borrowed its chorus from Nas. 

Minutes later came an even bigger surprise: an appearance by Cam'ron, former Roc-A-Fella artist whose relationship with Jay was more than strained. Most didn’t know they reconciled, which made the performance of "Welcome To New York City" even more epic. Diplomats rapper Jim Jones, who is currently signed to Roc Nation, hit the stage to perform "I Really Mean It" alongside Cam'ron. "Nas ain't my enemy, Cam ain't my enemy," Jay later declared. "Those are my brothers."

Jay-Z even blessed the crowd with new material. After performing "Some How, Some Way" from the Blueprint 2 album, he broke into an impromptu verse on friend and slain rapper, Nipsey Hussle. It was a string of powerful words to wake us up. "Gentrify your own hood before these people do it / Claim eminent domain and have your people move in / That's a small glimpse into what Nipsey was doing," Jay rapped.

Jay-Z’s "B-Sides 2" at Webster Hall, a revitalized century-old staple, is a testament that there is beauty in making old things new again. Threaded throughout the tapestry of the night was forgiveness, collaboration and redemption. Jay breathed life into decade old songs. He painted his childhood neighborhood beautiful with metaphors. He transformed rivals into friends. He made beauty from ashes.

Jay-Z Will Re-Open Historic NYC Venue Webster Hall

DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs

DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs

DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend take home Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 27, 2020 - 09:05 am

DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend, has won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher" at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The single was featured on DJ Khaled's 2019 album Father of Asahd and featured Hussle's vocals and Legend on the piano. DJ Khaled predicted the track would win a GRAMMY.

"I even told him, 'We're going to win a GRAMMY.' Because that's how I feel about my album," DJ Khaled told Billboard. "I really feel like not only is this my biggest, this is very special."

After the release of the song and music video -- which was filmed before Hussle's death in March -- DJ Khaled announced all proceeds from "Higher" will go to Hussle's children.

DJ Khaled and co. beat out fellow category nominees Lil Baby & Gunna ("Drip Too Hard"), Lil Nas X ("Panini"), Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch ("Ballin") and Young Thug featuring J. Cole & Travis Scott ("The London"). Hussle earned a second posthumous award at the 62nd GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle." 

Along with Legend and DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to Hussle during the telecast, which concluded with "Higher."

Check out the complete 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees and winners list here.

Recordings By Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Odetta & More Inducted Into The National Recording Registry

Janet Jackson

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

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Recordings By Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Odetta & More Inducted Into The National Recording Registry

Selections by Albert King, Labelle, Connie Smith, Nas, Jackson Browne, Pat Metheny, Kermit the Frog and others have also been marked for federal preservation

GRAMMYs/Mar 25, 2021 - 02:37 am

The Librarian of Congress Carla Haden has named 25 new inductees into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. They include Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814,” Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” Nas’ “Illmatic,” Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” Kermit the Frog’s “The Rainbow Connection” and more.

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Hayden said in a statement. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”

The National Recording Preservation Board is an advisory board consisting of professional organizations and experts who aim to preserve important recorded sounds. The Recording Academy is involved on a voting level. The 25 new entries bring the number of musical titles on the registry to 575; the entire sound collection includes nearly 3 million titles. Check out the full list of new inductees below:

National Recording Registry Selections for 2020

  1. Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878)

  2. “Nikolina” — Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single)

  3. “Smyrneikos Balos” — Marika Papagika (1928) (single)

  4. “When the Saints Go Marching In” — Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra (1938) (single)

  5. Christmas Eve Broadcast--Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941)

  6. “The Guiding Light” — Nov. 22, 1945

  7. “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues” — Odetta (1957) (album)

  8. “Lord, Keep Me Day by Day” — Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)  

  9. Roger Maris hits his 61st homerun (October 1, 1961)

  10. “Aida” — Leontyne Price, et.al. (1962) (album)

  11. “Once a Day” — Connie Smith (1964) (single)

  12. “Born Under a Bad Sign” — Albert King (1967) (album)

  13. “Free to Be…You & Me” — Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album)

  14. “The Harder They Come” — Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album)

  15. “Lady Marmalade” — Labelle (1974) (single)

  16. “Late for the Sky” — Jackson Browne (1974) (album)

  17. “Bright Size Life” — Pat Metheny (1976) (album)

  18. “The Rainbow Connection” — Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)

  19. “Celebration” — Kool & the Gang (1980) (single)

  20. “Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs” — Jessye Norman (1983) (album)

  21. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” — Janet Jackson (1989) (album)

  22. “Partners” — Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album)

  23. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What A Wonderful World” — Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single)

  24. “Illmatic” — Nas (1994) (album)

  25. “This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money” (May 9, 2008)

Learn To Make Beats With Library Of Congress' New Digital DJ Tool

Remembering Nipsey Hussle On The Anniversary Of His Death: "I Just Wanted To Be Really Intentional"

Nipsey Hussle

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Remembering Nipsey Hussle On The Anniversary Of His Death: "I Just Wanted To Be Really Intentional"

The Recording Academy celebrates the life of Nipsey Hussle, the late Los Angeles rapper, who earned two posthumous GRAMMY Awards this year

GRAMMYs/Mar 31, 2020 - 11:49 pm

Since the tragic loss of Los Angeles rapper, entrepreneur and activist Nipsey Hussle on March 31, 2019, his motivational music and inspiring message of investing in your community are continued by the many lives he touched. Here in L.A, you see countless murals painted in his likeness, his inspirational words reminding us greatness and kindness are not mutually exclusive.

Nipsey Hussle, Beloved L.A. Rapper And Activist, Lived As A Patron To His Community

In 2018, after a decade of perfecting his storytelling and flow with hard-hitting mixtapes, Hussle released his victorious debut album Victory Lap. It earned him his first GRAMMY nomination, for Best Rap Album, at the 2019 GRAMMYs. The week following the show, he released his final single during his lifetime, "Racks in the Middle," featuring rising L.A. rapper Roddy Ricch and powerhouse producer Hit-Boy.

At the 62nd GRAMMY Awards this year, he posthumously earned three more nominations and took home two wins. "Racks in the Middle" won Best Rap Performance and "Higher," a track he was working on with DJ Khaled before he died, won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher." Khaled released the uplifting track, which also features John Legend, in Hussle's memory on May 17, 2019.

How Nipsey Hussle Transcended Hip-Hop, Starting In The Los Angeles Streets

Hussle's family, including his grandmother and his partner Lauren London, took the GRAMMY stage to accept his awards in two tearful yet celebratory moments. Khaled, Legend, Ricch, Meek MillKirk Franklin and YG also celebrated the rap hero with a moving tribute performance during the show.

"The biggest thing that he left behind in his legacy is to go the extra mile for other people and be aware of your community," singer Tinashe said in a recent interview. "That spirit is really important. It's important to bring people together. I think that's part of his message. It's looking out for one another."

Meek Mill And Justin Timberlake Deliver Uplifting Message, Honor Nipsey Hussle In Powerful "Believe" Music Video

That message of hope and community is echoed in so many others' words about Hussle; his positive impact is immense and immeasurable. It is reflected in a message from none other than former President Barack Obama. Hussle's longtime friend and marketing manager Karen Civil read Obama's powerful words about him during his moving memorial service:

"While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that, even through its flaws, taught him to always keep going. His choice to invest in that community rather than ignore it—to build a skills training center and coworking space in Crenshaw; to lift up the Eritrean-American community; to set an example for young people to follow—is a legacy worthy of celebration. I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it."

The Marathon Continues.

GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Selena Win Best-Mexican American Album For 'Live' At The 1994 GRAMMYs

Beyoncé & JAY-Z To Be Honored With GLAAD Vanguard Award

Beyoncé and JAY-Z

Photo: Larry Busacca/PW18/Getty Images

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Beyoncé & JAY-Z To Be Honored With GLAAD Vanguard Award

The GRAMMY-winning pair will receive the honor for their work as LGBTQ+ allies at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on March 28

GRAMMYs/Mar 13, 2019 - 01:44 am

On March 11, GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ social justice non-profit organization, shared they will be honoring Beyoncé and JAY-Z for their work as allies of the gay community at their 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

The GRAMMY-winning pair will be presented with the organization's Vanguard Award, which, as GLAAD explains, "is presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Beyoncé and JAY-Z are longtime allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community who use their global platforms to share messages that inspire and change the world for the better."

The annual awards ceremony celebrates "fair, accurate and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues" in the media, recognizing LGBTQ+ changemakers—and their biggest allies—across music, film, TV, print media and more.

"Beyoncé and JAY-Z are global icons and passionate defenders of human rights and acceptance for all people," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement on their site.

She continues: "When Beyoncé and JAY-Z speak, the world becomes inspired and when it comes to LGBTQ people, their voices of acceptance have been heard loud and clear. We could not be prouder to stand with them to send a message of love during the biggest LGBTQ event in the world and to honor their work to bend the arc of justice forward for LGBTQ people, people of color and marginalized communities everywhere."

GLAAD points to the couple embracing the queer community on their social-media platforms, in their music and videos, and more. They highlight Beyoncé choosing to include queer individuals and couples in her videos for "All Night" and "Formation," the latter which won Best Music Video at the 59th GRAMMY Awards. They also underscore her advocacy for the community, as she continues to speak up against laws that would discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community and proudly supports marriage equality.

The org explains that JAY-Z also publically supported the nationwide passage of marriage equality, and points to examples of celebrating LGBTQ+ leaders in his work. The music video for "Family Feud," from his 4:44 album, opens with a quote from the late social justice writer James Baldwin, a queer black man, and features a cameo from transgender activist Janet Mock.

"Smile," also from 4:44, tells the story of Jay's mother, Gloria Carter, who came out as a lesbian publically for the first time on the song. Both Jay and Carter were presented with GLAAD's Special Recognition Award at the 2018 event for the touching, personal song and video.

Jay and Bey are among the top GRAMMY winners of all time. Most recently, at the 61st GRAMMY Awards, they each earned another GRAMMY, for the collaborative album they released as The Carters. The powerful LP, Everything Is Love, won Best Urban Contemporary Album.

GLAAD will also hold an awards ceremony in New York City on May 4, where another GRAMMY-winning musical/pop culture icon, Madonna, will be honored with the Advocate For Change Award. The nominees up for awards this year include GRAMMY winner Brandi Carlile, GRAMMY nominees Janelle Monáe, SOPHIE, plus Hayley Kiyoko, Christine and the Queens, Troye Sivan and BROCKHAMPTON.

The L.A. event will be hosted by Ross Mathews and will feature special guests that include the cast of "Queer Eye" and GRAMMY winner Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons.

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