The digital EP features eight live songs and eight video clips from his October 6 show at the newly minted Barclays Center.
“Is Brooklyn in the house?” Jay asks on the EP-opening “Empire State of Mind.”
It’s impossible for any live recording to completely duplicate the concert-going experience, but the audio mix on Live In Brooklyn perfectly blends Jay’s unassisted vocals with his Roc Boys backing band, his DJ Young Guru and of course the 19,000 fans in attendance. So, when Jay-Z spits his “[If] Jeezy’s payin’ LeBron” lyric on “Empire,” the crowd’s “I’m payin’ Dwayne Wade” response comes through crisp and clear.
Even Jay’s live miscues were corrected in post-production. During the concert Hov missed his mark while Beyoncé was performing “Crazy in Love.” The global rap icon was backstage admiring his wife’s performance and forgot that he had a verse to do, but regained his vocal footing after about two bars.
In concert, Hov would later admit that he got so wrapped up watching B from the monitors backstage that he forgot he was supposed to come out to rhyme. “Oh sh–, I should probably rap here,” Jay later explained of his mental lapse.
But any remnants of the hiccup have been corrected. On the EP, the God MC comes in right on time spitting “Young Hov, y’all know and the flow is loco.”
The EP doesn’t take one continuous chunk of Jay’s performance instead choosing highlights like the spirited “Run This Town” and rock-tinged “Public Service Announcement.” During the video clip for the crowd-favorite “PSA,” fans can be seen throwing their Roc diamond hand-signs up in the air as Jay, who was dressed in a custom black Brooklyn Nets jersey, orchestrates the party from the stage.
The video adds a nice touch, especially on the set-closing “Young Forever” with Beyoncé where the crowd lights the arena with lighters and cell phones.
While the EP does a good job in encapsulating Jay’s catalog and representing his hometown in such a limited space, adding a BK-themed track like “Where I’m From” or “Brooklyn Go Hard” would have only helped to mark the occasion. The inclusion of the lush-sounding 1996 classic “Dead Presidents II” would’ve also gone a long way in marking Jay’s homecoming, a journey which he began with his first album Reasonable Doubt. Still, in all, Live In Brooklyn is the perfect souvenir for a most memorable night.