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Jay Z - Fade to Black
List Price: $12.98

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Product Description

FADE TO BLACK takes a look at the rappers career, providing a backstage glimpse during the concert and showing how his last album was conceived. Narrated by Jay-Z himself, the film features notable guest performances by Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Pharrell Williams, Foxy Brown and appearances by P. Diddy and 2004 Grammy-winner Kanye West.

Fade to Black is a document of Jay-Zs self-proclaimed final concert; a grand affair that took place before a sold-out crowd at New Yorks Madison Square Garden in November 2003. (But anyone who follows celebrity news knows that Jay-Z was out of retirement and back performing at the Garden just a year later.) Fade to Black is a legitimately powerful record of a truly historic event in the annals of rap. Muttering offhand narration with typical bored, streetwise affect, Jay hails the concert as a momentous occasion for being the first time a hip-hop show was allowed to headline at the Garden.

Its unlikely that the full impact of the live performances will hit home to viewers unfamiliar with Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella Records stable of artists. Another frustration is trying to identify the array of visitors who trade raps on Jays stage. Included in the star-studded lineup are Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown, Pharell, Ghostface Killah, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, and R. Kelly. One unmistakable figure--and we do mean figure--is Jays squeeze Beyonce, who raises the temperature and the roof with her skimpy outfit, flowing hair, soulful yowl, and sexed-up dance routine that leaves her boyfriend and the whole of Madison Square Garden slack-jawed with animal desire.

Twenty cameras captured the event, and some of the most powerful sequences are sweeping moves across the swirling, blissed-out masses as they lip sync along in perfect unison with Jay-Zs complex, profane, quick-witted raps. Less effective are intermittent cutaway segments that show the artist in various studio settings working up beats and rhymes. These amateurish home video breaks may give some insight to Jays perfectionism and dedication to his craft, but they detract from the visceral power of the beautifully executed performance footage. --Ted Fry

Customer Reviews:

  • Must have for hip hop fans...
    Great performance by one of the greatest rappers in the game. Chronicles his sold out Madison Square Garden concert with pretty much anyone he's ever done a song with...Performances range from his start, songs from Reasonable Doubt...all the way through the Black Album and has appearances from the hottest people in the he takes time to showcase the future of the Roc with performances with Memph Bleek, Beanie, and Freeway....more info
  • salute the king of new york
    With this concert, he proved he was the King of New York. For a rapper to sell out Madison Square Garden by himself, as quick as he did, was no real surprise when we all know Jay-Z's achievements over the years.
    This concert was the culmination of an incredible career. 'The Black Album' delivered what Jay-Z promised, he was back to his very best, and his incredible performance on this DVD showcases that.
    The live performance is very well mixed in with studio shots of Jay-Z at work with producers working on songs. It gives the viewer and understanding of what has to happen for a song to be completed, and it also showed Jay's unique way of delivering his rhymes, without any paper, just remembering them and spitting them on the fly.
    The concert was unbelievable. Jay-Z trotted out star after star to help him with all his collabo's over the years. The only time this let him down was when he had Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Freeway on stage at the same time. All 3 rappers detracted from Jay-Z being the main show, but this is how i felt on 'The Dynasty' so I guess it wasn't going to change.
    The night finished with Jay-Z performing Encore and December 4th so a crowd delerious with joy and satisfaction. After this performance, Jay-Z will go down in rap history as one of the best to ever grace the microphone.
    Definitely buy this, it's well worth it. ...more info
  • He knows what he's doing
    Jay-Z can easily be classified as haughty; he has been identifying himself as the best rapper alive for years. But, while I don't think he's the absolute best who has ever touched a microphone, he is one of the most skilled rappers ever. His vivid descriptions of life in the `hood and his all-around creative ways to tell stories via rap separate him from average rappers and place him in the ethereal positions that we have put rappers like 2 Pac and Biggie Smalls. "Fade to Black" is a nice documentary/concert starring Shawn "Jay-Z", "Jigga Man", "J-Hova", "Hovi" Carter.

    Jay-Z has a slew of celebrities he features in his flick including Twista, R. Kelly, Ghostface Killah, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce', Memphis Bleek (who got more air time than he deserved) and Beanie Siegal. Jay is very crafty, especially the way in which he writes his rhymes. He listens to a beat for awhile and writes his rhymes mentally. It was very intriguing to watch him mentally compose such great music. One thing I appreciated about this film was the candidness of it. Everything from the audience to the informal conversations he had with his celebrities comrades to him chilling at the studio all helped to make his documentary more intimate and personal. Further, I had no idea Jay was such an outstanding performer! He recites his lyrics effortlessly and has great stage presence, yet he is such a calm individual. He never seems to overreact, even when things don't transpire in his favor. He speaks his mind but he's always so unruffled, much like a quiet storm.

    He delivers some of his biggest hits like "Encore", "Can't Knock the Hustle", "Song Cry", "Best of Both Worlds" and "What More Can I Say?" He also pays homage to rappers who have passed on and played snippets of their music. Also, the first outfit he wore was a Biggie shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. He also wore a very nice suit and a New Jersey Nets jersey (how ironic, he's part owner of the Nets).
    I enjoyed watching Jay express himself musically and personally. He appears to be a mellow and down to earth individual with a good head on his shoulders. Hip hop and rap fans, take a few hours and view this movie.
    ...more info
    Excellent behind the scenes film including studio recording. This was one of the best hip-hop "documentary" I've seen....more info
  • very good documentary
    While I have enjoyed watching this 4 or 5 times, I'm left with some conflicting thoughts about "Fade to Black". Now I did say I enjoyed it; yet at the same time I'm thinking Jay Z could use to lighten up a bit and not take himself so seriously. I've got to think Nas had a few good laughs if he ever watched this. (Of course now Jay and Nas have buried the hatchet, thank God)
    One thing that bothers me about "retirement" claims from artists, is they rarely do just that (e.g. Bowie, the Who, etc.)
    Jay-Z would certainly have you believe he was going to do just that. I don't mind that he has come out of retirement, but this film would have you believe, that this is it...finnito. Therefore it was the intent to put out such a tour de force like this to pay tribute to Jay Z's greatness. Sometimes during watching this documentary (which is what it really is) I was left thinking that Jay Z takes himself way too seriously. What's with all the wardrobe changes, for instace?
    Most of the performances in the concert segments are superb; Mary J. Blige in particular, and some are too short like Ghostface and Missy Elliot. The scene with Ghostface getting additional bling from Slick Rick, before going out onstage, is much needed comic relief. The appearance of Foxy Brown helps in that respect as well, and she adds visual appeal to say the least. Beyonce certainly lights up the screen. Something about the R Kelly performance seemed very contrived, and I can't understand the rousing applause he receieved; it seems like he tried to upstage Jay.
    The studio scenes show Jay Z as a very serious artist. Maybe too much. He keeps mentioning that "the Black album" is his last record and how important it is to be perfect. Yeah, it's a great record, but perfect? Much is made of Jay's ability to write on the fly, which is admirable and no doubt Jay has skillz in abundance. Jay would have been smart to use more of Rick Rubin's and Timbaland's production. I like how Jay gives props to Rubin, who is arguably one of the best producers today.
    One thing I have to take issue with in this film is some of what are supposed to be candid shots in the audience. I've got to think some of these were staged, such as the guy who taps his heart twice before throwing up the peace sign in memory of Biggie, or when it appears people are jumping out of their seats, etc. I like the production of the live segments, and it's a fitting tribute to Jay's career, but at times it seems a bit overproduced. Just my opinion.
    All in all, if you like Jay Z you'll no doubt like this. If you're curious about Jay Z you'll see what all the hype is about. It's also a testament to Jay and his ability to steer his career, at times perhaps trying to hard. ...more info
  • "The Last Waltz" of Hip-Hop
    Jay is one of the few hip-hop artists who can not only fill the seats at the Garden, but play to an audience that large as well. There are tons of guest appearances here and they are universally strong. Even potentially mismatched performances such as Beyonce's appearance work extremely well. The behind the scenes footage of Jay in the studio is riveting. He has a soft, almost hoarse speaking voice yet a powerful voice on the microphone. Like his contemporary Biggie Smalls, he listens to beats with a frighteningly focused intensity and then writes and records all from memory. Some scenes, like when Jay visits Rick Rubin and spits an entirely new verse to the Public Enemy classic "Welcome To The Terrordome" are alone worth the price of admission.

    The picture quality of this DVD transfer is decent, though not stunning. Saturation is pushed a little high and the transfer can appear a bit soft at times. The audio track is a well executed surround mix that really captures the acoustics of the Garden. Audio and video sync appears to be quite good.

    This is one of the great hip-hop DVDs. Highly recommended....more info
  • It is what it is....
    What more can I say?... It's Hova baby.... The concert footage is hot... The studio footage showing the many producers he worked with in creating the Black Album was hotter... Only one reason for falling short of five stars... It wasn't long enough......more info
  • what a night
    this is the must have dvd for all jay-z fans. this dvd see's jay-z in the peek of his career and gives every fan out there an insight into the making of the fade to black album and "that night" in madison square garden..not only does the dvd include jigga but some of hip hop's finest artists who jay colaborated with ova the years..if you have it,i bet you love it, if you don't..go get it!...more info
  • Most Incredible!
    I love this DVD. I love Jay-Z as an artist. His style and skills are so impressive. The Black Album was a great album within itself. Just seeing his creativity and the creativity of the other artsts involved was incredible. The concert was amazing and getting a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the concert and album was truly awesome!...more info
  • Fade to Black
    Fade to Black to me is one of the best ever biographical movies. It deeply expresses amazing views,thoughts,and expressions of Jay Z's personal position on retiring. Far from being boring and dull, it brings life to how emotional and life changing events can affect ones decision on something as simple as retiring. To Jay it was more than that, it was like a thank you letter to all of the people, fans, whoever throughout his career helped him achieve his goal as a rapper. So to return the appreciation he searches for every element he can obtain to give back what we(people, fans) have gave to him. This movie is more than informative and interesting its like one of those good books you cant just put down! To me this is a must have. Thank you to Shawn Carter, Jay-Z, Young Hova, Iceberg Slim, etc.
    without you this would not be possible. Best rapper alive!

    Lenoir, NC...more info
  • My Inspiration
    This film shows Sean Carter is the most positive light. I see a man with a strong work ethic and so much drive. He's hungry for success and he never settles for anything. He always aims higher. I think I enjoyed the studio footage more than the actually concert footage. Much love goes out to Jay Z and his production crew!...more info
  • An Authentic Peek
    I recently began seeking out hip-hop documentaries after watching Jin's No Sleep Till Shanghai. I was pretty skeptical though as to how much a superstar like Jay-Z would be willing to show. It's actually a much more insightful doc than I expected, in terms of understanding the music process. I was surprised how much, and sometimes how little, effort goes into making an album, especially for an artist of Jay's stature. Of course, Fade to Black can also be enjoyed simply for its concert footage, which makes this an excellent film overall....more info