This weekend Saturday Night Live posted its best ratings since Sarah Palin joked with Tina Fey in November 2008 thanks to a very odd couple: host Betty White and musical guest Jay-Z. The octogenarian Golden Girl grabbed headlines with her comedic chops (and pairings with beloved SNL performers including Amy Poehler, Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon) and Jigga delivered one of the most impressive SNL performances in recent memory.
It’s been eight years since Jay-Z last took the SNL stage solo — though he did cameo during Beyoncé’s 2003 performance — so the Blueprint 3 rapper reintroduced himself to the late-night audience with an awesome, eight-minute-long medley that covered four of his biggest hits: “Public Service Announcement,” “On to the Next One,” “99 Problems” and “Empire State of Mind.” Jay’s full band gave Rick Rubin’s Black Album hit “99 Problems” extra bombast with a ferocious metal arrangement, and singer Bridget Kelly handled Alicia Keys’ soaring chorus on “Empire State.” When Jay returned for his second performance of the show, Mr Hudson sang the Alphaville sample on the rising Hot 100 single “Young Forever,” which Jay-Z dedicated “to the most incredible Betty White.” Video of both performances are available on Nah Right.
Jay-Z also revealed this weekend that his newest best-of collection, titled The Hits Collection, Volume 1, will be released on June 29th. Fans can sign up for e-mail updates at the Jay-Z Hits Collection site. Hits Collection will be Jay-Z’s second release under his new Roc Nation label and his fourth best-of collection of the decade, following 2002’s Chapter One: Greatest Hits, 2003’s Bring It On: Best of Jay-Z and 2006’s Greatest Hits.