Rock 'n' roll isn't just about rock 'n' roll. Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, Maradonna, Bob Marley are all rock 'n' roll. It's about excitement, performance, excellence and charisma. Last night at the Hackney weekend concert Jay-Z was all of the above; rock 'n' roll.
He presents himself as a confident performer full of bombast but without the hard stares and fake gangsterism of many of his peers. He is genuinely likable as a performer. The nemesis of Hip Hop in it's live form is repetition and sloppy standards of professionalism. Jay-Z can be accused of neither. In much the same way that his other half, Beyonce, stormed the bastion of Rock; The Glastonbury Festival, he gave the 50,000 strong audience a masterclass.
Not even an embarrassing cameo appearance by the insipid MIA could halt the Jay-Z express, and when Kanye West joined him onstage the master was a notch above the protege.
The most impresive and inovative element of his performance is the quality of his live band and the imagination of the production. His impresive set list features sounds that are a hybrid of Kraftwerk/Led Zepellin/James Brown, and it is in this respect where he stays ahead of the game. Samples used in his music are also used as instrumentation.
What Jay-Z delivered to the Bronx equivalant of London; Hackney was rousing and rivetting and proved that Jay-Z's position at the very top of the Hip Hop tree is merited.