by / July 11th, 2010 /

Oxegen 2010: Jay-Z

Last year’s Glastonbury controversy about Jay-Z headlining and the subsequent triumph of his set at the festival has been wheeled out at nearly every mention of this immiment Oxegen set. But Jay-Z was always the venerable hip-hopper, the only rapper alive born to do it. It, being able to headline festivals across the globe with ease.

With 11 albums under his belt, many of them revered rap albums, he has plenty of material to choose from, and tonight is a reminder that the Jigga man has the rap hits in spades. He doesn’t even play the whole song most of the time – he’s got too many key cuts – ‘Can I Get A’, The Doors’ sampling ‘ The Takeover’, ‘Jigga What, Jigga Who’, ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’, ‘Big Pimpin’ , ‘Girls Girls Girls’ ‘Public Service Announcement’ and a glut of recent hit singles ‘Empire State of Mind’, ‘Run This Town’, ‘On to the Next One’ , ‘DOA (Death of Autotune)’.

About 30 songs are crammed in over 100 minutes or so. Jay-Z live is the ultimate rap showman. He’s untouchable yet he’s with us all the way, right there thankful, grateful and supportive to the audience. Backed by a full band (the third best Jay-Z band – ‘give them a little them they’re working on it,’ he says) and Memphis Bleek, there are standout moments aplenty as the biggest crowd of the weekend show their diamonds to the stage. ’99 Problems’ is an early incendiary experience which segues into the Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’; ‘Heart of the City’ is respectably and suitably mixed in with U2’s ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’; the classic ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A)’ with its classic refrain “H to the izz-O…V to the izz-A…”; the Michael Jackson tribute, the Annie-sampling ‘Hard Knock Life’ singalong. Even, ‘Young Forever’ the tame cover that fizzles out The Blueprint III is a lighters-in-the-air moment where everyone sings along. His set is peppered with freestyles which are both exhilarating and clever, proving, if it were needed that his boasts of ‘best rapper alive’ is not without merits.

Jay-Z just has the common touch, the ability to make you feel like you know him even if you stand a few hundred metres away. He thanks the crowd for staying out in the pouring rain for the entire set, prompting a mass-singalong to Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’. Jay even picks out about 20 members of the crowd for special mention before launching into ‘Numb Encore’ to close up a blazing set. No Beyonce needed. Jigga owns Friday night all on his own.

  • Puck

    Wasn’t there or anything but did he really finish with “Numb/Encore”? that’s the Linkin Park mash-up he did with them a few years ago so I’d be surprised. Jay’s track is just called “Encore”. Sorry for being pedantic that just stuck out when I read this…

  • Puck, to be honest it was very difficult at that point to make out whether it was the crowd (who were loud) singing the “What the hell are you waiting for?” bit but I’m pretty sure it came from the stage too. It definitely had elements of the mashup.

  • Jack

    sorry to be even more pedantic to the people above, but the ‘what the hell are you waiting for’ bit is actually in the original Jay-Z song…

  • You’re right Jack. My bad. That’s what I get for listening to the version from the grey album – that version rules in my book.

  • Puck

    Let’s just blame Dangermouse and leave it at that, haha.

    Niall, did anyone review the Broken Social Scene set? I’d be particularly interested to read how that mismatch of band and festival went…

  • That review is a coming. The band played a great set to only about 250-300 people maybe? certainly a far from full Red Bull Academy tent.

  • Puck

    Thought as much, shame really that they were booked for Oxegen when EP would have been by far the better fit (At least in terms of target-audience if not financially speaking). I remember seeing The Hold Steady in one of the tents at Oxegen ’08, I’d be shocked if more than a hundred people showed up.

  • Elaine Buckley

    Reading this makes me question my commitment to Alison Goldfrapp… Seems like I missed out on a lot by skipping Jay-Z!

  • Dee

    It was the Linkin Park mashup version as the encore.

  • stephen

    it was the linkin park remix, it had the instrumentals from numb