Jay Z


Hip Hop Elite Get Cuomo's Ear on Police Reform

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The governor has met with Jay-Z and Russell Simmons, among others, who are calling for a special prosecutor in potential police misconduct cases.

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Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hip hop writer Jeff Rosenthal shares his thoughts on Jay-Z's new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail.


The Brian Lehrer Show

Jay and Bey in Cuba: An Explainer

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Does Jay-Z and Beyoncé's trip to Cuba violate Treasury Department sanctions? Julia Sweig, Senior Fellow and Director of Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations tells Brian Lehrer how tourism regulations tie into the state of U.S.-Cuba relations.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Gun Deal; Freakonomics Names; Apes and Humanism; Jay-Z Goes to Cuba

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Deals on guns and the budget are being worked out in Washington. We get the latest. Then  Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics explains how the name you're given at birth can influence your life path and determine factors such as success in school and career opportunities. Plus: Primatologist Frans de Waal talks about what apes teach us about humanism; Julia Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations puts the Jay-Z/Beyoncé Cuba trip in context; and an update on the city's bike share program.



Watch Justin Timberlake's Sleek 'Suit & Tie' Video

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The stark black-and-white David Fincher-directed video for Justin Timberlake's single "Suit & Tie" further recalls the sleek look of classic Hollywood.

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The Mrs. Carter Show; Kishi Bashi; Beware of Mr. Baker

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

In this episode: Beyoncé has has been known by many names: “Queen B,” “Foxxy Cleopatra,” and, of course, “Sasha Fierce.” Arielle Loren and Ann Powers talk with us about Beyonce's newest persona: Mrs. Carter.

Plus: Kishi Bashi, aka K. Ishibashi, used to be the go-to guy when indie bands like Of Montreal needed a violin. Now, he’s struck out on his own -- and he joins us to bring his melodic chamber-pop to life.

And: When filmmaker Jay Bulger titled his latest documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, he wasn’t exaggerating. The film stars the legendary, volatile and reclusive drummer Ginger Baker, known for his work in bands like Cream and Blind Faith -- and, more notoriously, for his drug use and temper. We talk with Jay Bulger about the making of the film, and Baker’s musical genius.


Vote In The Musician In Chief Semi-Finals

Friday, October 26, 2012

We're in the final days of the 2012 presidential campaign, but for the past few weeks Soundcheck has been in the throes of it's own democratic process, our search for The Musician In Chief.

We asked six Soundcheck contributors to offer up a hypothetical nominee, an artist with plenty of vision, charisma and political savvy to lead the country for the next four years.

Now after the first round of voting in our very unscientific poll, the results are in! Here's our top four vote-getters and the matchups for the "semifinals":

-- Aimee Mann vs. Patti Smith

-- Dolly Parton vs. Jay-Z

This poll will be open from FRIDAY, OCT. 26. until FRIDAY, NOV. 2. So get to it and tell us which musicians should go to the "championship round."


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Jay-Z For Musician In Chief

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Soundcheck is looking for the nation's first Musician In Chief. Special guests nominate musicians and make a case for why that artist should become the leader of the free world. Today, we turn to Pitchfork's Ryan Schreiber for his pick, Jay-Z.



Jay-Z For President, Hot Pants, Alex Winston In The Studio

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Today on Soundcheck, another installment of our ongoing series Musician In Chief. This time around, Pitchfork's Ryan Schreiber gives his case for why Jay-Z would make a great president. Schreiber also sticks around to give a pick for one band he's looking forward to at this year's CMJ Music Marathon.

Then, singer-songwriter Alex Winston performs live in the Soundcheck studio.

And our own Gretta Cohn talks about the hot pants explosion, both in fashion and in music.

Transportation Nation

Barclays Center Subway Stop: Mornings, It's Totally Dead

Friday, October 12, 2012

When the NY MTA agreed to sell the Atlantic Yards to Forest City Ratner to build the Barclays Arena and some 17 other buildings, the authority's board waxed enthusiastic about how the city was getting a new subway entrance out of the deal.

Barclays Center Subway Stop, 7 am Photo: Maya Bernstein

But so far, in the mornings, it's totally dead.

Pretty much every morning since the stop's been opened, for about three weeks -- and we've checked --  it looks like this. Seven am, 8 am, no one. A sort of strange, post-Apocalypse feel.

Barclays Center Subway Stop, 7 am Photo: Maya Bernstein

As we've been reporting, lots of fans are going to events at the arena by transit.  The 18,000-seat arena has just 541 car spots on site, about 150 of those for season or VIP ticket-holders.   Even last night, when Brooklyn-born Barbra Steisand performed, and drew a heavy crowd from the suburbs, people took the train.

Barclays Center Subway Pre-Barbra Photo: Andrea Bernstein

The subway stop is set in a vast, uninviting plaza, with not much there to entice a morning subway rider, like newsstands or coffee-shops.

However, once you do cross Flatbush Avenue from Park Slope to get there, it is by far the cleanest and easiest way to enter the subway stop. Working escalators. Plenty of turnstiles. Tidy, well-lit hallways that don't smell (yet). And the shortest, least confusing ascent (or descent, in the case of the B-Q), from any entrance.

Word from transit officials:  "Use It!"

Ratner, BTW, paid $76 million for the new subway entrance.  But the whole deal with Ratner was heavily criticized at the time as a sweetheart deal for the developer, which was allowed to work with the MTA over a period of years to develop a bid to obtain the railyards for its arena.

Ratner offered $100 million less for the Yards than the rival developer -- but the MTA board argued that building a new subway entrance would in part compensate.

After much pressure, the MTA opened the bidding process for the rail yards to other developers, but then rejected the one other bid it got because it wasn't as detailed as Ratner's bid.


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Transportation Nation

19,000 Seats + Almost No Parking = More Foot Than Car Traffic at Barclays Arena

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Uptopian rendering of Barclays Center Arena in Brooklyn.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Jay-Z has been playing sold-out concerts at the 19,000-seat Barclays Center Arena in Brooklyn and, so far, the biggest traffic problem has been caused by crowds of people coming up from the Atlantic Avenue subway stop and streaming across the street to the arena before the shows. So few people are driving, the scant official parking spaces aren't even filling up.

That's according to Sam Schwartz, who was hired by Barclay's  Center management to come up with a traffic plan for the area during arena events. Neighbors had feared traffic bedlam because the center sits at a complicated intersection of three major thoroughfares notorious for its danger to pedestrians, and that's before the sports and entertainment complex came to town.

But now walkers are winning. "As the herd of pedestrians comes out, we shut down Atlantic Avenue for cars and get the people across the street for about ten minutes and then we let the cars flow," Schwartz said. "It hasn't backed up traffic much."

Schwartz says more than half of all concert-goers so far have come and gone by subway. Besides surges in turnstile use at the Atlantic Avenue stop, riders have also been using subway stops a short stroll from arena: the Fulton Street stop of the G, the Lafayette Avenue stop of the C, and the Bergen Street stop of the 2 and 3.

Others have walked, and about 1,200 people have taken Long Island Railroad trains.

Relatively few fans seem to be driving, judging by the lack of gridlock and the fact that the arena's surface parking lot, with its 541 spaces, has been half empty. Schwartz added that, as of now, not many drivers have been patronizing a group of satellite lots up to a mile from the arena that offer half-price parking and free shuttle buses.

The prospect of drivers circulating en masse through the nearby tree-lined streets looking for free street parking has also failed to materialize. "I've heard no complaints about parking," said Robert Perris, district manager of New York Community Board 2, which includes the area around the Barclays Center Arena.

In hearings and planning meetings leading up to the opening of the arena, residents have been vocal about calling for a parking permit program to keep fans who arrive by car from parking on their streets. The NYC Department of Transportation has so far declined to institute such a program.

Perris said he joined other city officials in inspecting the scene on opening night last Friday. "Traffic was heavy but moving in a well-managed way," he said. "There were police officers or traffic engineers at all major intersections, and pedestrian managers at the crosswalks, both sides. People were going where they were told."

Perris said traffic flow in the streets around the arena, which was heavy before the Barclays Center opened, might be benefiting from the small army of police and traffic managers. "My question is whether we’re always going to have the same level of resources as we had on night one," he said.

Despite the traffic plan's initial success, officials caution that results are preliminary. Brooklyn Nets games may draw greater numbers of fans who arrive by car. And planners will be watching to see how Barbra Streisand's fans choose to travel to Barclays Center Arena for her sold-out show on October 13.

The arena is accessible from 11 subway lines and commuter rail.

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Transportation Nation

Tonight: Will Perfect Traffic Storm Around Barclays Arena Paralyze Brownstone Brooklyn?

Friday, September 28, 2012

(Photo by Jim O'Grady.)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Here's what will be converging tonight on the area around the new Barclays Center Arena in Brooklyn: rush hour crowds pouring onto and out of nine subway lines that sit beneath the intersection of three major thoroughfares; 19,000 ticket holders on their way to a sold-out Jay-Z concert; massive thunderstorms.

And another sign of a looming traffic-pocalyse: the guy hired to devise a traffic plan for the arena has issued a Gridlock Alert for the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, right where the Barclays Center sits. Traffic engineer Sam Schwartz, known as Gridlock Sam, says ticket holders headed to the 8 o'clock concert will swell the area's normally heavy rush hour.

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority is adding extra subway service on the Q and 4 lines in the form of “gap trains,” or trains held in reserve to respond to a surge of customers. And double the number of late-night Long Island Railroad trains will run after the show. These “game trains” will arrive every 15 minutes and hold about 1,000 passengers each.

City planners have been trying for months to discourage driving to Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Fort Greene--brownstone neighborhoods with tree-lined streets that surround the Barclays Center arena. They've taken steps like reducing the arena's parking spots from 1,000 to 541. They've also launched a pro-transit publicity blitz that got The Harlem Globetrotters, who'll be playing a game at The Barclays Center on October 7, to ride the rails with reporters.

(Photo courtesy of the NY MTA)

"I'm Big Easy of the world famous Harlem Globetrotters," said Big Easy two weeks ago, while standing on a train platform at a transit hub in Queens that city-bound riders of the Long Island Railroad use to switch to the subway. "We’re going to take a train to the Barclays Center."  And then he did. The trip took 20 minutes, which was faster than driving, with or without a Gridlock Alert.

But planners know not everyone will heed the call to take transit to Brooklyn Nets games and concerts by Barbra Streisand and Rush. That's why they hired Schwartz to come up with a plan that would, in his words, "intercept drivers before they approach the arena."

Schwartz is setting up half-priced lots with free shuttle buses up to a mile from the arena. Fans can also pay to reserve a parking spot online, which is supposed to cut down on drivers circling around in search of parking. And Nets tickets will feature mass transit directions but nothing about how to drive to the stadium or park a car. There will, however, be plenty of parking right at the arena's entrance ... for 400 bicycles.

Still, it's not hard to find doubters of the plan. Neighborhood resident Gib Veconi came to the center's symbolic ribbon-cutting last week in part to protest what he sees as a looming traffic disaster.  "If you're coming to park here, you can try to get into one of the 500 spaces down on the other block there for the arena," he said. "But if you can't, you're going to circle these streets looking for a free place to park--streets that are already jammed."

Will the near-nightly migration of tens of thousands of people to and from the Barclays Center Arena turn out to manageable or chaotic? Tonight is the first test.

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Jay-Z Says 'Brooklyn Nets' Will Be New Name for NBA Team

Monday, September 26, 2011

When the basketball team known as the New Jersey Nets moves to its new home in Brooklyn next year, it will be renamed the Brooklyn Nets, rapper Jay-Z, an investor in the team, announced on Monday.

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Behind the Scenes with Spike Lee’s 9/11 Tribute

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Children from several New York public schools were part of Spike Lee's State Farm tribute to 9/11. Here's how it happened.

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Shots You Snapped: Rock The Bells

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Those are just some of the shots you snapped at Rock the Bells on Governors Island last Saturday. We weren't there, but fortunately you were. Check out the slideshow of photos you sent us from the concert floor.

Heading to live music in NYC? Send us your pictures! Post a link to your Web or Flickr site in the comments below, or email



Jay-Z, Beyonce, Will Smith: Fela! Heads to the Tonys

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You know that incredible, electrical connection that takes place when you look directly into Beyonce’s eyes, and she into yours? I do.

It happened just the other night, actually, when we were at the Palm, in midtown. We were there, technically speaking, because this guy she knows, Jay-Z, is a producer for Fela!, the Broadway musical, and they’re hyping the show for the Tonys (this Sunday). Will Smith was there too, with his girl Jada. They’re all producers on the show, all except for Beyonce. She didn’t have anything to do with Fela.


The New Yorker: Out Loud

Sasha Frere-Jones on hip-hop

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sasha Frere-Jones discusses the future of hip-hop.


The Takeaway

[Web Special] Jay-Z Grows Us Up

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Shawn Carter’s new album has echoes of an experience around John Edgar Wideman’s 2008 novel "Fanon." Ham-fisted and a bit less than what many wanted, Wideman's prose at first seemed an exercise only in personal growth and in pushing himself more than representing his popularly-appreciated strengths and accomplishments as a writer. Upon further consideration, however, it was more; it was a particularly good piece of work that pushed the reader’s thinking. Super-long sentences, weird punctuation and winding, layered connections to the Martinique revolutionary Franz Fanon were commonplace, and they were all put together in a way that justified Wideman’s MacArthur "genius grant" and the other celebrations of his skill.

And Shawn Carter, with his just-released album, "The Blueprint 3," presents no small contribution to mass cultural thinking this week. He grows us up a bit within a public space that considers black men largely less-than and further solidifies himself as a relevant pop-culture icon. (...continue reading)

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