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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

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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