Once upon a time, I almost shared sweat with Jay Z at the best concert ever. It was 2006 — I had just fallen off the blueberry truck from Kalamazoo, Michigan — and I tried to score a ticket to the rapper's Reasonable Doubt anniversary show at Radio City Music Hall. It sold out. I wasn't in "the industry" back then, so the notion of contacting a publicist or record-label flack was out of the question. By some stroke of luck, Jay announced an intimate dress rehearsal for the night before at Best Buy Theater (then the Nokia Theater) and tickets were available. I waited in line for hours and eventually elbowed my way to the front row to see one of my favorites in the flesh. I was heady. In the middle of the set, my "little girl in the big city" moment crystallized when Jay nonchalantly tossed his perspiration-soaked towel into the crowd — directly to me. Everything moved in slow motion. I reached for the Shroud of Hov, but before I could get a firm grasp, some teenage punk snatched away the holy terrycloth. I still think about that show (and what I would do if I ever see that punk in a dark alley) and the pure, unadulterated experience of watching Jay Z for the first time.
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Live Nation Jay Z and Memphis Bleek perform during Tidal X: Jay Z B Sides in NYC on 5/17/15.