Jay-Z will make history in New York City, establishing himself as the first hip-hop solo act to headline at the legendary Carnegie Hall. Hova announced on Thursday at a press conference that he’s doing back-to-back shows — February 6 and 7 — at the hall’s Stern Auditorium, raising millions of dollars for the United Way of New York City and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation. Jay says he’s proud to join the organizations in their effort to boost on-time graduation rates in underserved New York City schools, and make attending college a possibility for low-income students.
Speaking about what it means to him to perform at Carnegie Hall, Jay told reporters, “I feel like they bent the rules so it could make sense for me right now, but I’ll take it!” He explained, “But music is music. I believe all sort of music plays in all sort of venues, I’ve always believed that — from Yankee Stadium to Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall. I think if music is great, it works in great venues.” He added, “And I have great music!,” eliciting laughter from the crowd.
When asked if this particular cause — helping kids secure bright futures through education — means more to him now that he’s about to become a father, Jay casually replied, “No,” drawing more laughs. He added, “I mean, it’s larger than my immediate family. This scholarship program is about giving other people an opportunity.” Noting that he was lucky because he had a talent that allowed him to rise above his circumstances, Jay stated how important it was for him to provide opportunity for those less fortunate. “My story is a bit of an anomaly, you know, so just making sure that people are prepared for the future, prepared for this world…if the thing that’s holding them back is something financial, then I don’t think that’s right.”
As for whether or not he plans to welcome special guests to these shows, Jay said his new thing is not having any surprises, because these days, he said, “it’s almost expected.” He explained, “There’s no guests on Watch the Throne, maybe no guests on this, and then the next time there are guests, you’ll be surprised!”
Private ticket packages the Jay-Z’s Carnegie Hall shows go on sale Monday, and a limited number of single tickets will be offered to the public on Monday, January 30. Ticket prices will range from $2500 to $500 apiece, but there may be some lower-priced tickets released in January. The goal, said organizers, is to raise as much money as possible.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio