Jay-Z and Kanye balled so hard they broke their own record last night, performing the song 11 times in a row. And that was just the first night.
Written by Meriem Nassiri (@Meriem_N)
Last night was the first of three sold-out shows by The Throne at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in Paris, France. It was the first time the Watch The Throne tour came to Paris, the city name-checked in the duo’s biggest hit to date, “Niggas in Paris.” Apparently Jay-Z and Kanye West were in the mood to make the occasion by doing something special. So they decided to smash their previous record of performing the song 10 times in a single concert, which was set in Los Angeles.
Word on the streets of Paris was that they would be doing something special for this performance of “Nig**as in Paris”—which is as big of a hit here as it is all over the world. Or maybe even bigger for obvious reasons. Tickets for The Throne’s Paris shows went on sale three months ago and sold out in 30 minutes so a third date was added to fill Parisian fans’ appetite.
Last night at 8:45pm the 18,000-capacity venue was already packed. The crowd—a beautiful mix of hype kids, hipsters, hip-hop heads and celebrities (including Spike Lee and and Jaleel “Urkel” White) were in the house to watch The Throne and witness history.
Suddenly the lights went down and within seconds, Kanye was on, greeted by deafening screams of excitement. Then Jay appeared in the spotlight. Both rappers were dressed in all black everything except for the gold chains around their neck. Jigga was rocking black Tims while Kanye wore some Air Yeezy 2s.
After the 10th repetition of "Ni**as In Paris," Kanye took the mic, “Let me explain something to y’all. Rap music, rock music, stadium music, arena music—nobody does a song more than 10 times. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care which stadium you’re rocking in. Try to do your song more than three times and see what happen!”
They launched into “Otis” and Paris was screaming loud—very loud. But then the duo separated to perform solo songs. First Kanye hit the crowd with “Flashing Lights,” “Jesus Walks,” “All Falls Down” and “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” Then Jay came back and said, “Allow me to reintroduce myself”—and you know the rest.
After finishing “P.S.A.” and a few more classics, Jay asked the crowd, “Can I take you to my hometown.” As Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played in the background everybody screamed yes as “Empire State of Mind” kicked in. At the end of the song Jay took off his leather cap to show off the Brooklyn Nets logo.
The stadium seemed to get hotter and hotter—and the fire-scenery behind the stage didn’t help cool the venue down. “On To The Next One,” “Touch the Sky,” “All Of The Lights,” “Big Pimpin,” “Gold Digger,” “99 Problems”—it felt like the show would never stop. Then they launched into their latest single, “No Church In The Wild,” playing the music video by French director Romain Gavras playing in the background.
Finally, it was time for the moment everybody had been waiting for. “We’ve been around the world,” Ye said, “and for the first night of all the Watch The Throne tours, you are about to witness it in Pariiiiis.” That’s when the crowd totally lost it. For 45 minutes, every time “Niggas in Paris” came to end Jay-Z screamed “Again!” The crowd of 18,000 was using every bit of energy they had left after a 3 hour show, jumping and singing over and over “That Shit Cray, that shit cray…” And indeed it was.
By the fifth time they played the song, men were shirtless and women were wishing they could do the same. Even if they had their hair done, nails done and everything did—well, too bad. Nobody was able to resist the energy of that moment. “This is no studio bullshit,” Kanye explained. “We recorded this motherfucking song right here in Paris.” (Excuse his French).
After the 6th repetition, Jay was in a playful mood, saying, “It’s time to take this shit to another level.” In between each song, he asked the people in the pit to put their diamonds in the air, or do the wave, or let Hit Boy crowd surf, or give away two French flags. The crowd pretty much did whatever these hip hop royals commanded them to do.
After the 10th repetition, Kanye took the mic, “Amazing. That was 10 right? You just tied the record Paris. Let me explain something to y’all. Rap music, rock music, stadium music, arena music—nobody does a song more than 10 times. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care which stadium you’re rocking in. Try to do your song more than three times and see what happen!”
Then the crowd counted down—10, 9, 8…2, 1, Again! Jigga’s voice resonated in the venue, and Paris rocked the song one last time with love. “Paris you have officially the record of the Watch The Throne tour” screamed Jay. “It’s just different,” Ye concluded. “I love this city” And clearly the city loved them too.