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Jay-Z Takes Cameras Behind His 9/11 Benefit in "NY-Z"

March 24, 2010 2:05 PM ET

The new mini-documentary NY-Z captures one of the biggest shows of 2009 — Jay-Z's September 11th Answer the Call concert at New York's Madison Square Garden — and the hours leading up to the big performance. Shot in black-and-white like iconic Big Apple odes Manhattan and The Naked City, director Danny Clinch's short doubles as a behind-the-scenes look at Jay-Z's life and the rapper's love letter to the city that serves as his "muse," from his earliest recollections of NYC to how it feels to sell out "the World's Greatest Arena."

In the video, recorded the day The Blueprint 3 was released, we see Jigga performing his hit "Empire State of Mind" during an empty sound check and later in front of thousands at a packed MSG. John Mayer cameos to explain how his team-up with Jay on "D.O.A." came about — thanks Twitter! — as well as discuss what New York City means to him. The film is so engrossing, it's actually possible to forget that it is a long-form ad for Absolut Vodka until Jigga is seen downing a shot in the closing minutes.

Related Stories:
Jay-Z's 9/11 Benefit Turns Into All-Star Marathon With Beyonce, Kanye, Rihanna, Mayer and More
Jay-Z Burns Through "Blueprint 3," Classics at Tiny New York Gig
Cover Story: The Book of Jay

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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