Jay-Z is “a work of art already,” so it’s only fitting that the Brooklyn Public Library put his life on display with “The Book of HOV.” Beyoncé and Blue Ivy were by his side to celebrate the opening night on July 13.
According to Billboard, DJ Khaled, Fat Joe, Alicia Keys, Babyface, Lil Uzi Vert, Victor Cruz, Jay-Z’s mother Gloria Carter, and more attended the premiere festivities. Beyoncé and her show-stopping successor Blue Ivy took a break from the Renaissance World Tour stage for the special occasion.
— Gage (@GAGEmusicx) July 14, 2023
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Jay-Z is one of the borough’s biggest icons. Now his larger-than-life legacy has taken over 40,000-square-foot of the library, which is home to the world’s largest collection of Brooklyn history.
The massive tribute features “archived objects, including original recording masters, never-before-seen photos, iconic stage wear, prestigious awards, and recognitions, as well as videos and artifacts from every facet of Jay-Z’s professional life.”
“He navigated the gritty streets of Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects to the halls of Roc Nation, and now he shines as one of the brightest stars in our constellation. With his rhymes sharper than a knife and beats hotter than a summer in the city, JAY-Z is a beacon of hope for those who dare to dream beyond the confines of their circumstances,” said a press release from the exhibit.
The installation draws its name from his epic verses on DJ Khaled’s “God Did.” The tribute transformed the library exterior into a literal “Book of HOV.”
“The design of the exterior plays with the building facade, which was built to symbolize an open book while paying homage to Jay’s words,” explained Ken Tokunaga, The Book of HOV co-creative director.
What can fans expect to see in “The Book of HOV?” Take a look inside the new exhibit after the flip!
A Look Inside “The Book Of HOV”
A blue LED cube at the entrance multimedia highlights from Jay-Z’s career. Inside, the library explores the prolific writer’s life in eight chapters dating back to 1996.
“Baseline Studios” is a recreation of where the record-breaking Grammy winner recorded classics like The Blueprint and The Black Album.
“Hov Did That” demonstrates how Jay-Z’s music transcended the genre of hip-hop while elevating it. The room features a guitar from his performance at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival, a hand-written letter from Frank Sinatra’s daughter. Visitors can also get a close-up look at his 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award.
“Business, Man” focuses on Jay-Z the mogul. Walk through some of his entrepreneurial accomplishments, like Rocawear, Roc Nation, and Tidal.
The children’s wing offers a paper plane station like the ones the “Hard Knock Life” rapper threw from his window in the Marcy Projects. Teens can learn about Jay-Z’s philanthropy and check out books from a collection he curated.
Starting Friday, July 14, the “Book of HOV” exhibit is free to the public. The exhibit does not require a library card, but supporters may want to collect the 13 limited edition cards with each of Jay-Z’s solo album covers.
“It’s not every day that an exhibit of this scope is housed in a public, actively used space. Typically, visitors would have to pay museum fees to access this type of immersive experience, and we’re thrilled to make it available free of charge to every New Yorker, from every walk of life, as part of their visit to our Central Library,” said Linda Johnson, Brooklyn Public Library CEO.
“The exhibit is a labor of love by Roc Nation and was created by people who have worked closely with JAY-Z and know him best. It was important to all of us that The Book of HOV be an enhanced library experience in which the public is able to attend programming, spend time browsing our collections, and check-out books and vinyl records, all while learning about this Brooklyn-born icon’s extraordinary and inspiring contributions.
Fans outside of New York City can still enjoy the immersive experience online. Radio icon Angie Martinez narrates the eight chapters of “Book of HOV” for remote visitors.
Check out more photos from the star-studded opening night below!
Congratulations to Jay-Z on this one-of-a-kind honor!