Rapper Jay-Z has always been proud of where he came from. Raised in Brooklyn's Marcy Projects, the Roc Nation mogul has literally shown the world the true definition of reinventing yourself—despite the hand you were dealt. His contributions to music and the landscape of Black entrepreneurship are undeniable; so the Brooklyn Public Library decided to honor that in a special way.
The historic library experience was officially unveiled during a star-studded party on July 13, 2023. Beyoncé, daughter Blue Ivy, and tons of hip hop greats were in the building to give flowers to Mr. Sean Corey Carter.
The Book of HOV, a multimedia exhibit housed at the library, presents thousands of 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. A highlight is a replica of Baseline studios, the longtime studio of the rapper, which Rock-a-Fella producer Just Blaze personally helped build for the museum rollout.
"We’ve been holding on to this one for a few months now. Baseline back, only for a limited time in Brooklyn," Just Blaze said in an Instagram post.
A special website, by the same name as the exhibit, was also launched, and it gives fans an interactive digital version of some of what you will find in the physical experience. There are sound bites of Jay-Z from different—and pivotal stages—of his life and career, including the release of his iconic records "The Blueprint," "Reasonable Doubt" and more.
"Our goal, with The Book of HOV tribute exhibition, is to provide a behind-the-scenes look at a Hall of Fame songwriter and performer, successful business person, and a consequential philanthropist who has never forgotten the lessons he learned on the road to success," the museum said. "And the borough where his journey began."
The Brooklyn Public Library exhibit is broken into eight parts and spans most of the library's space. Many of the Brooklyn rapper's industry colleagues praised him on social media, once the experience was announced.
"Congrats, my brother@SC on The Book Of Hov! My hero," Diddy shared on Twitter.
"This brings back great memories, and it's a testament to what this man has done in the game. It's a blessing to be here, to witness it, and to experience it with him," DJ Clark Kent shared during the exhibition launch party.