Jay-Z performed an energetic set and introduced Barack Obama in Ohio on Monday. Though the rapper’s voice was noticeably hoarse, the election eve performance picked up when he debuted a special version of “99 Problems.”
After noting that he “didn’t get that one vetted [by the campaign],” Jay ripped through the track. He punctuated the rest of his set, which included mainstays like “Run This Town,” “Public Service Announcement” and “On to the Next One,” with parroted Obama campaign slogans. “Are we ready to move forward Ohio?” he yelled. “Forward!”
“This is testament to how someone’s voice can be so powerful, that we’re standing in Ohio. I got a phone call, like ‘Jay? I need you down in Ohio. I need you to come down with the Boss.’ And I said, ‘Michelle’s coming?'” Jay joked. “And [Obama] said, ‘no, Bruce Springsteen.'”
Dressed in a black hoodie adorned with a “B” — a clever shoutout to Obama and Jay’s own Brooklyn Nets — the rapper seemed at home on the big stage.
“How many of you already voted?” Jay asked. “How many going to vote right after this concert? Not that many of you? You already voted? The whole building? What am I doing here?!”
After the short set, Jay-Z asked fans to make some noise for “your president,” leaving the stage for Obama.
“It is an incredible honor to have Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen both on the same bill,” Obama said. “And not just because I have them both on my iPod … but because they tell American stories.”