Jay Z & His Rival Nas Performs Together


Nas_f.jpgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Bling took a back seat to brotherhood as Jay-Z surprised bloodthirsty fans by performing side-by-side with his rival Nas in a concert dedicated to squashing rap beefs.

The star-studded event at Continental Arena on Thursday night was promoted by New York radio station Power 105 as "Jay-Z Declares War," presumably against his rivals in the treacherous rap world. Leading up to the show, the station quoted Jay-Z as saying, "I gotta smash a couple people... everybody better make up and be my friend."

Fans stood as the curtains parted to reveal Jay-Z as Commander in Chief seated in his Oval Office, flanked by four Secret Service men. He rocketed into his performance with "Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is HOV." An spectacular fire and light display emphasized the magnitude of the moment.

The crowd roared for Jigga Man as he displayed a youthful hunger and
Michael Jackson mystique behind aviator glasses and a navy military blazer with all the trimmings. Standing alone on stage with no entourage, he went from hit single to hit single, encouraging the crowd to say the name they've grown to love.

He was flawless with his vocal delivery, paired with choreographed hand movements reminiscent of Caesar addressing the Romans. The masses, on the other hand, wanted to know whom Jay would attack. Several web sites had speculated on the victims: Former partner Damon Dash? Harlem hothead Cam'ron? Movie star 50 Cent?

The crowd wanted war. But first they had to sit through a subpar performance from Teairra Mari and an Usher clone, which took the wind out of the action-packed show.

And then expectations were shattered.

T.I., the high-energy rapper from Atlanta, took the stage alongside Jay-Z, instantly smashing rumors of conflict (although T.I. had trouble keeping the crowd's attention due to faulty mic).

Young Jeezy, a.k.a. the Snowman, performed "Soul Survivor" alongside Akon. Akon brought excitement to his part, but Jeezy seemed stuck to the stage with double-sided tape.

A newly freed Beanie Sigel showed up to give Jay-Z support. Then Jay-Z (now on his third wardrobe change), Freeway, Memphis Bleek and B Sigel helped revive the energy level with gutter word play and lessons from Handgun 101. The crowd loved Jay for it.

The peaceful plot started to reveal itself once the Lox got on stage next to Beanie Sigel. These two camps have fought vicious mixtape battles, but Thursday it was all about the Benjamins. The Lox also performed with their old nemesis Sean "Diddy" Combs (without the infamous shiny suits this time) as Diddy brought his energetic yet dated antics to the stage.

Kanye West showed up as advertised, but he didn't get a rise out of the audience until he blurted out, "White people, this is your only chance to say n-----," referring to his song "Gold Digger."

But the story of the night was Nas and Jay-Z, two stars who haven't had a kind word to say about each other for years. They performed "Dead Presidents" together (Jay sampled Nas' voice on the track from his classic debut album, "Reasonable Doubt") before Nas kicked off his own set.

Jay-Z and Nas finished with Jay's horn-drenched "Encore" as LeBron James hit the stage like micless hype man - a fitting basketball-related finale on the home court of the New Jersey Nets, of which Jay is part owner. Jay-Z may be "retired," but with the Nets moving to Jay's hometown of Brooklyn, no way this king will be able to resist another return to his court.

-The Associated Press.