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Brooklyn Public Library Unveils Exhibit on Jay Z’s Career


The Brooklyn Public Library recently unveiled a new temporary exhibition chronicling the career of hip-hop legend Jay Z. 

Officially opened on Friday, the exhibit, titled “The Book of HOV” after his lyric in his 2022 “God Did” collaboration with DJ Khaled, includes thousands of archival materials from the artist’s professional life. 

Using original masters, clothing, awards as well as videos and photos that have never been released before, the exhibit gives insight into his albums, the equipment he used at the famed Baseline Studios, his businesses and more. 

Covering the entire 325,000-square-foot library, the inspiration behind his work is also explored. A section is devoted to celebrating the albums that were sampled in his work through an interactive vinyl listening station. The books that inspired the rapper’s lyrics are also on display. 

In honor of the exhibit, the library will also offer visitors the chance to get limited-edition library cards. Thirteen cards decorated with the artwork from each of Jay-Z’s albums are currently being offered. 

According to music magazine Pitchfork, Roc Nation provided all the financial support for the exhibit and will be donating money to the library alongside books and vinyl records. 

While the exhibit is now open at the Brooklyn Public Library, it’s expected to be expanded to include the Marcy branch library near Jay-Z’s home. In the upcoming months, the branch is expected to provide new content for “The Book of HOV.” 

The exhibit is set to run throughout the fall until September. For those who are unable to attend in person, a virtual version of the exhibit is available online; detailed entries mark the history of  each object included in “The Book of HOV.” 

“We’re certainly hoping to engage and inspire young people, many of whom might be interacting with the library for the very first time,” said the President of the Brooklyn Public Library, Linda Johnson, per Essence. “We hope the exhibit will help Brooklyn youth discover the wide range of programming and services the library offers, including e-books, robotics, a vinyl record collection, and even a recording studio.”

The announcement and opening of the new exhibit comes after Jay Z was recently announced as a nominee for the 2023 Emmy Awards. The musician was nominated under the Outstanding Music Direction and Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category as a co-director for Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show. 

The exhibit also comes one month before the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, which is celebrated this year on Aug. 11. 

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