The sought after item in New York City this week was not some crown jewels or fanciful gadget. Instead, it was a piece of paper with a simple bar code, it was the ticket to last night’s USA Basketball Showcase at Radio City Music Hall, where after a week of speculation, it finally confirmed that Jay-Z will perform as a kick-off point the first ever World Basketball Festival. So exclusive was this event that it took some of us feats worth the 36th Chambers of Shaolin Temple to acquire them. The value however, was priceless.
As audience settled in for the projected countdown to appearance, the entire hall trembled in the midst of pumped-out hip-hop titles, rather than the usually Radio City pipe organ. Once the countdown reached 0:00, the curtain opened to a complete set of instrumentalists. On cue, a flash of brilliant lights and Jay-Z surged forward to the awaiting crowd. A repeat of Kanye West’s songs on the pre-show warm-up mix had many speculate the appearance of West on stage. Instead, an unexpected appearance of Swizz Beatz for the performance of On To The Next One revved up the already crazed audience to another notch. Ever the veteran performer, Jay-Z tempered the crowd to an eased end with a mix of his classics and finally, Empire State Of Mind.