At an otherwise marvellous concert last week at Rogers Centre, a rapper-mogul presumed too much authority. At the stadium show he co-headlined with Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, when he wasn’t spouting his vainglorious couplets, often ordered his paying fans to raise their hands, to do a side-by-side, do this or that.
Here’s an idea: You do your music, Jay-Z, and let the crowd decide what to do with their arms and legs. Also in Toronto last week, Mathangi Arulpragasam (the electro-rap provocateur known as M.I.A., who is coincidentally managed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation company) excited a crowd more organically, with gunfire beats and audacious charisma.
At one point, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to her; at the end, she handed them roses in appreciation. Jay-Z, on the other hand, judged his audience as a “seven” and told them he expected a “10.” Now we hear he wishes to be Jay Z, not Jay-Z. Not only is this guy losing the hyphen, he’s missing the point.