DJ Irie on the Duo of Justin and Jay-Z
Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z onstage during the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
On a steamy night this August, in front of thousands of people, something truly magical is going to happen in the Magic City. In a sort of musical dream, two entertainment icons, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, will perform back to back on the same night, closing out their 12-city Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour at Sun Life Stadium. The only words that come close to describing it are “epic proportions.”
Between the two, Jay-Z and Timberlake have won more than 23 Grammy Awards and sold more than 67 million albums. But what makes this tour so unique is that its two performers are changing the face of music and entertainment, mixing styles and genres, creating never-seen-before collaborations and blurring the lines between music, acting, producing, and entrepreneurialism (with five Emmys and a roughly $600 million-plus combined net worth to prove it). They’re true renaissance men.
In terms of their music, what’s really cool is their ability to cross over into other genres. Both are infused with the soul of R&B. But I’d go a step further and get literal in terms of the DNA of their music. Jay-Z is from the hood. He’s a hip-hop artist who has pop and multigenre success, appeal, admiration, and respect. Timberlake is from Middle America—Memphis, Tennessee. He’s a pop artist who actually has hood and street credibility. Justin’s music is accepted in the streets because he’s one of the first pop acts to really embrace urban producers such as Timbaland and Pharrell.
Take “SexyBack”: That song went triple platinum and won him the 2006 Grammy for Best Dance Recording. It was executed in a rock vibe, but featured Timbaland in the background and was played on not only pop stations but also urban stations. Then he released “My Love,” the second record from FutureSex/LoveSound, featuring T.I. It went to No. 1 and was played on urban stations. And guess what? It also won a 2006 Grammy for the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Which leads us to “Suit & Tie” (cowritten by and featuring Jay-Z), one of the hottest records right now, produced with Timbaland and the lead-up for the Legends tour. This has come to fruition because of Tim’s relationship with both of them. It’s the bridge that delivers the same universal feel that someone down in Liberty City can get with, but also someone kicking it in South Beach can get with. That’s pretty impressive, and that’s why this is the perfect combination for a tour.
It’s going to be two people who are changing the face of music, and bringing together one of the most vibrant audiences we’ll ever witness. It really is epic. Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake perform at 8 pm Friday, August 16, at Sun Life Stadium, 2269 NW 199th St., Miami Gardens; livenation.com
photography by polk/getty images for naras
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.