Reporting from New York
The plan was to rock the mike, not cause an identity crisis.
In 2008, when Jay-Z was named as a headlining act for Britain's fiercely rock-centric Glastonbury Festival -- a first for any hip-hop performer, let alone one of rap's epochal superstars -- the island nation erupted in furious debate. They're giving a rapper domain over one of rock's elite events? Critics derided the decision as "a disaster" and "tragic," assailing Glastonbury itself as "contaminated." No less an eminence than Noel Gallagher of the Brit-pop quintet Oasis provided an antagonistic voice of dissent. "I'm sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance," Gallagher said in an interview with the BBC, citing the festival's "history of guitar music."
To Jay (birth name: Shawn Corey Carter), the situation smacked of segregation. "That was the old guard standing in the way, saying, 'This is rock music. This is sacred,' " he said, seated in his wood-lined corner office, a stone's throw from Times Square. "It was one of those hurdles we had to break down."
Read More: Jay-Z widens the festival tent [LA Times]