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Jay-Z Carnegie Hall Concerts Will Feature Rhymes & Charity

Andy Kropa, Getty Images

On Feb. 6, 2012, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will headline the first ever hip-hop focused concert series at Carnegie Hall. The two-night event is the result of a partnership between the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and United Way of New York City. The two organizations are hosting the performances as a fundraising initiative to benefit New York City public schools.

John Meneilly, Jay-Z’s business manager, says the performances look to raise a sum “hopefully in the millions of dollars,” though he declined to give a specific estimate. Private ticket packages will go on sale Mon., Dec. 12, with prices ranging from $500-$2,500. A limited number of single tickets will later be made available for public purchase on Mon., Jan. 30.

The partnership between the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and United Way of New York City has been a long time in the making. “Steven Dannhauser, who is on our board, is also the chair of the Police and Fire widows fund from 9/11,” Gordon Campbell, President and CEO of United Way, tells The BoomBox. “Jay-Z was talking to him about doing a concert to benefit the Police and Fire Widows Fund in Madison Square Garden, and that happened a couple years ago.”

Mr. Dannhauser went on to make the connection to Jay-Z and John Meneilly, on behalf of United Way. The resulting concert will take place in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium over the course of two nights. Jay-Z took the time to talk to AOL/Huffington Post about the momentous occasion. Check out his conversation about the event, the performers he’ll bring along and the spirit of charity below.

Why did you choose to partner with the United Way and how?

It actually came about with this whole thing, it was like these three parties coming together: my scholarship program, Carnegie Hall and United Way all came together in this weird way. It’s a brilliant idea.

Was it important for you to do a show in Carnegie Hall’s more intimate space after this bombastic Watch The Throne tour?

No it didn’t come about like that. It just really happened, it didn’t happen as a strategy of going after Watch The Throne. The opportunity just presented itself and it was just perfect. Getting to play a legendary venue, getting to do it for a good cause, getting to do it with someone who has been doing good for so long. Now my scholarship will have conversations with the United Way about furthering our cause and it all just worked on multiple levels.

Watch the press conference

You teamed with your mother for your scholarship foundation. What role do you think family plays in education?

Oh well, it’s very important. That’s where you get your ideals and your motivation. My mom told me I could do anything. I didn’t know it was a cliche when I was younger. I really believed her. I believed her up until I was an adult and I was like, “Wait a minute.” I really, really believed her, that’s how much respect I had for her. It’s very important, she motivated me in a way that I believed that I couldn’t fail. So family is very important, it’s who you are. The first thing the psychiatrist asks you — I’m guessing because I’ve never been — when you sit down on the couch it’s, “How is your home life?” It’s those important formative years that create the foundation of who you are.

The concert is in February and you are expecting a child in February. Are you trying to start your child’s life off with the spirit of charity?

Yeah, you just hope to raise a good person. A good person of high character and integrity and morals. From there it’s really their life. You’re almost a god, and then after that it’s out of your hands.

You said that you aren’t going to bring Kanye West along for these concerts. Do you have any other possible performers in mind?

No, I haven’t really thought about it. I just wanted to separate it from ‘Watch The Throne.’ I may bring Kanye. I just haven’t put together a set list or the structure of how the show will go.

You have 13 Grammy awards. With so many awards do the Grammys still feel exciting for you?

Yeah, it’s great. What’s really exciting to me is that you make an album and it connects with people in a certain way. These awards, we watch the stars before us on TV and we’ve all dreamed of being at these awards shows but the real award is really just the connection with people. You know, going to the concert and watching the people connect with this music that you’ve made. That’s where the best album award is given away and the best new artist is given away. So its cool, it’s always cool to be recognized, but for me the real joy is the connection with the people all the time.

Watch ‘The Life and Career of Jay-Z’

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