Rap superstar and New York native Jay Z paid tribute to Brooklyn's other son, the late Notorious B.I.G., on Friday (28Sep12) as he kicked off his eight-night residency at the city's new Barclays Center venue.
The highly-anticipated show officially opened the new $1 billion home of Jay Z's Brooklyn Nets basketball team and 19,000 fans packed the arena to witness him in action as he christened the stadium.
He opened the sold out two-hour gig with the songs Where I'm From and Brooklyn Go Hard, before a huge image of B.I.G. was displayed across the stage backdrop as he performed covers of Biggie's Kick in the Door and hip-hop classic Juicy.
Jay Z, sporting the brand new Nets jersey and a matching black cap, then used the opportunity to boast about his minority ownership of the Nba team, rapping: "I got shooters on my team/No really, I got shooters on my team/Juan or Deron... Pick a arm (sic)".
His hits-packed set included tracks Empire State of Mind, Big Pimpin' and Encore, and Jay Z almost convinced the crowd that he would stick to his promise of having no surprise guest appearances - only to bring out legendary rap pioneer Big Daddy Kane towards the end of the show to perform Ain't No Half Steppin', much to fans' delight.
However, the Barclays Center's opening night wasn't championed by everyone - a handful of campaigners from various organisations, including the Occupy Wall Street movement, held a small street protest outside the venue in a bid to spoil the rapper's big night.
While some demonstrated against the building owners' failure to build affordable housing in the area around the Barclays Center, Occupy protesters staged a teach-in in an attempt to send an educational message to Jay Z after he recently confessed he had no idea what the anti-big business activists were fighting for last year (11).
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