Kevin Mazur, WireImage
During a night with expected surprises, Em created some of the biggest moments when he brought out New York's own 50 Cent, who then brought out his G-Unit crew. But it was Em's second surprise guest, Dr. Dre, who threw the crowd into a frenzy. Dre ran through 'Still D.R.E.' and 'Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang' while Em played hypeman and stood in for Snoop during his verse. "How many people want that f---in' 'Detox' album?" Em posed the question to the crowd as they roared in excitement. Dre exited the stage and Em closed out his set with 'Not Afraid' and returned again for 'Encore.'
Next up was New York native Hova, who's had some pretty big moments in New York. His 15-year career has seen him sell out Madison Square Garden in a day, hang with Oprah on a stoop in his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, and put on a memorable 9/11 benefit concert eight years after the tragic event. With all that under his belt, Jay-Z added to the hip-hop history books last night by taking over the house that George [Steinbrenner] built. "One of the most incredible feelings in the world is to be from New York and to be in Yankee stadium tonight," Jay told the crowd.
Kanye West was Jay's first guest of the night. Kanye, straying away from Hov's "all black everything" look, bounced on the stage donning a red leather suit and animal print blouse for his verse on 'Run This Town.' To make this night even more memorable, Jay and Kanye paired up for a few "firsts." The pair performed the 'Power' remix and 'Monster,' the latter with help from Nicki Minaj, for the first time since Kanye began rolling out the epic tracks off his upcoming album.
Jay continued his run of guests. He shared the stage with Swizz Beatz on the energetic track 'On to the Next One' and brought up pal and Coldplay singer Chris Martin on piano for 'Heart of the City (Ain't No Love).' Martin also played his Coldplay hit 'Clocks' while Jigga rapped his 'Lost' remix verse over the piano riffs.
Drake was the next guest and the newcomer appeared to nervously soak up the moment as he launched into 'Miss Me' before performing 'Light Up' with Jay. The night wouldn't have been complete without an appearance from Jay's superstar wife Beyonce, who joined him for 'Young Forever.' The one noticeably absent celeb was Alicia Keys, who recently tied the knot with Swizz Beatz and is pregnant with her first child with the super-producer. Roc Nation's artist Bridget Kelly stood in for Keys as Jay closed out the show with 'Blueprint 3's New York anthem 'Empire State of Mind' followed by 'Thank You.'
"This is a historic night," Jay told the crowd at one point. "There will never be another night like this." Indeed.