Jay-Z stood on a tiny step-up of a stage on Monday morning, a giant American flag behind him and ahead, the steps run by Rocky Balboa that lead to the Philadelphia Art Museum. Against such huge backdrops, he still managed to be the biggest presence. The announcement for Jay-Z’s latest venture – the two-day Budweiser Made in America music festival set for Labor Day weekend, to benefit the United Way – was interrupted by screaming fans, as well as a surprise visit from his one-time signee Freeway. Wearing Yeezy 2 sneakers in the rain – “I know a guy. I’d hope I could get a second pair,” he cracked – with his blazer unbuttoned and a Jacob the Jeweler gold Mardi Gras rope half-hidden beneath his loose white tee, Jay-Z looked relaxed. “You’re the best, Jay!” fans shouted. He responded, “I know.”
On Blueprint 3, you put out a classic ode to New York. Your basketball team just moved to Brooklyn, and you helped design the logo. You’re always at the Yankees games with Mike Kyser. So, just what are we doing in Philadelphia?
That’s a great question. This was tailor-made for Philadelphia, home-made for Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s one of the most iconic cities: Declaration and the whole bit. I feel like I’ve done enough in New York where I feel I could branch out a bit, and she won’t get mad at me so much. And it’s a short trek from New York, so…
It’s the sixth borough. This will be a two-day festival with 30 artists playing across three stages. What is your presence going to be like that weekend?
I’ll headline the first night; I’ll probably get one of those silly headsets with the thing, just to look important. I don’t really need it, but I’ll just do that. Overall, have a good time. You’ll see me with probably a beer in my hand, just enjoying the festivities and the music like everyone else. I’ma try and keep it as normal and simple as possible.
You said you’re looking for artists that embody the American spirit. I’ve got a guy: he’s got a beautiful voice and he sings Al Green songs well. The only problem is that he’s super-busy and Donald Trump thinks he was born overseas.
[Laughs] Ah, yeah, that guy. I’m gonna try. I’m gonna tell you guys right now: I’m gonna give him a call and I’m gonna try to get him to perform – do a little rendition of Al Green – but I doubt it. I think that opens up the political season. He’ll be so far into helping the world that he probably won’t have time, but I’m absolutely going to ask him.
To read Jeff Rosenthal’s entire article, go to Rolling Stone