ABOVE: Photo by Curtis Rowser III
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Brooklyn Public Library’s 40,000-square-foot “The Book of Hov” exhibit yet, you’re in luck. The Library recently announced that the career-spanning Jay-Z retrospective is now scheduled to run through October. “Stop by any time this summer to see this free exhibit, or plan your visit for the fall,” read a tweet from the institution.
The exhibition opened on July 14 in a splashy premiere that included an A-list group of VIPs, including Questlove, Rakim, Babyface, DJ Khaled, Fat Joe, Yo Gotti and Lil Uzi Vert as well as the guests of honor, wife Beyoncé and their daughter, Blue Ivy.
The good news is that even if you can’t make it, the interactive “Book” website has a chapter-by-chapter recap of the items in the exhibit, with New York radio legend Angie Martinez providing the narration for the special collection whose name is inspired by a lyric from Khaled’s 2022 Grammy-nominated anthem “God Did.”
The exhibition 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.” Lyrics from Jigga’s “Sweet” and “Encore” are splashed across the building’s facade, which is made to look like the pages of an open book. In addition, a blue LED cube outside the library plays content from the rapper’s career as a greet to fans entering the building.
Spanning eight sections, rooms such as “Hov Did That” contain a huge collection of career curios, including his 2008 Glastonbury Festival guitar, a hand-written 2009 letter from Frank Sinatra’s daughter and Jay’s 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award. In addition, “Baseline Studios” is a re-imagination of the space where Hov recorded some of his most famous albums, such as 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, 2001’s The Blueprint and 2003’s The Black Album.
No library card is needed to enter and the library has created 13 limited-edition library cards that fans can collect, with each one featuring the cover of one of Jay’s solo albums dating to 1996’s Reasonable Doubt.