For its 121st year, Carnegie Hall will host its first solo hip hop artist headliner. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will once again make history by performing at the historical music venue during his benefit concert to raise money for both the United Way and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.
With the release of his most recent solo studio album “The Blueprint 3,” Jay-Z now holds the record for the solo act with the most No. 1 albums in Billboard history and the second-most No. 1 albums altogether. The only thing stopping Jay-Z from holding the record for the most No. 1 albums are The Beatles.
The Jay-Z and The Beatles comparisons have always been discussed, and this historic event will only perpetuate them. Although not the first rock band to perform at Carnegie Hall, The Beatles did change the culture of the venue. Historically, Carnegie Hall was a venue for classical music and, as time progressed, it evolved. Classic jazz artists such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and even Count Basie began to perform at the Manhattan concert hall. When The Beatles performed at Carnegie Hall during their first trip to the U.S., those in charge began to diversify the styles and genres of the artists that they booked, and allow underrepresented genres more frequent acts than they had previously hosted.
Despite debates over who is better or who will be the most timeless popular music icon(s), this is a perfect example of how the music industry should and can be a cooperative effort between artists even if they represent different genres or different time periods entirely.