DENVER - For rappers in particular there’s a fear of losing potency with age — hip-hop is for the young and scrappy. At some point Snoop Dogg must start to think his “izzles” are childish, or Lil Wayne would grow out of aliens and codeine. But not Jay Z. Two days before his 44th birthday, Jay Z showed the Pepsi Center why he’s a hip-hop artist who can perform hits from 10 or almost 20 years ago with the same conviction.
Take for example when Jay Z dropped into “Dead Presidents II” midway through his set on Monday. He rapped the track from his 1996 debut like a ballad, accompanied by no beat and only that drifting piano line. It was a moment of honesty (or clarity if we’re making shameless Jay Z puns), especially compared to the “Magna Carta Holy Grail” material that he’s currently touring. When it comes to Jay Z, even some of his biggest pop hits have aged like wine — there’s nothing silly about a 44-year-old Hova singing “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” in 2013.
Read the full review or view a photo gallery of Monday's concert in Denver here.