When tickets went on sale for Powerhouse 2005, radio station Power 99 (98.9 FM) advertised the event as the concert of the year. Despite the showing at the Wachovia Center on Friday starting well past the scheduled time, Powerhouse, headlined by “Jay-Z and friends,” ended up much more than the best concert of the year.
Fans were expecting to hear Jay-Z humiliate some artists because the retired rapper labeled the concert “I Declare War,” but this did not happen. Instead, the self-labeled “Hova” organized a more spectacular performance than the audience could have imagined.
Jay-Z spent almost the entire show on-stage, but the undisputable biggest moment of the night came when Hova brought out Nas. “We did this for ya’ll; we did this for hip-hop” spoke Jay-Z before his former enemy came on-stage and shook his hand, ending the dispute between the two.
Nas not only performed his own songs, including “Hate Me Now” with Sean “Diddy” Combs, but Nas and Jay-Z rapped Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents 2” together.
Even before Hova and Nas ended their squabble, D-Block and Diddy performed “All About the Benjamins.” This was a shocking feat because D-Block, formerly the LOX, had left the “Bad Boy Entertainment” label, owned by Diddy, because of financial disputes. Jay-Z was able to get the musicians to forget their problems and they instead worked together to excite the crowd.
One of the premiere moments for the Wachovia audience occurred when Philadelphia rapper Beanie Sigel made his way on-stage to join Jay-Z and Freeway. Sigel, who was recently acquitted of attempted murder charges, had been considering leaving Roc-A-Fella. As he came out, Sigel declared he is part of “the Roc for life.”
Another exciting moment was when Jay-Z was performing “What More Can I Say.” When Hova reached the line “bring ’em out,” T.I ran out, getting the already revved up crowed going with one of his most famous songs, “Bring Em Out.”
After a few more songs from T.I., the Atlanta rapper gave way to another Atlanta native, Young Jeezy. Jeezy performed some of his most popular songs, including “Go Crazy” with Jay-Z and “Soul Survivor.”
Other performers to hit the stage were Memphis Bleek, Ghostface, Peedie Peedie, the Young Gunz, Teairra Mari, and the Hot Boyz.
It was not only the musicians on stage that received recognition.
In a touching display, Jay-Z asked fans to put two fingers up into the peace sign while the screen behind him changed through displays of deceased artists Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Big Pun, Aaliyah, Jam Master Jay, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez and Eazy-E. The final person acknowledged was civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died less than one week prior to the concert. During this exhibit, Jay-Z had the tunes of Notorious B.I.G., Shakur, and Jam Master Jay played, but after a few seconds into each song, the music stopped, and instead, Jay-Z held his microphone out for the crowd to keep singing. Hova ended this presentation with his song for Aaliyah, “Miss You.”
The concert kicked off with Jay-Z sitting in a chair on the stage, which looked identical to the White House’s Oval Office. There were two “secret service agents” who stood idle at the back doors of the office. After a few moments of remaining still, while the crowd went wild, Hova jumped up and broke into “Public Service Announcement” from The Black Album. This has been the most popular song for Jay-Z to start his concerts off with because the first words out of his mouth are “Allow me to re-introduce myself; my name is Hov’. Oh! H to the O-V.” The show concluded with “Encore,” but instead of the song finishing out, it ended with the crowd on their feet chanting “Hova.”
Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at The.Jeff@Temple.edu.