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Jay Z heats up Hackney

HEATING UP HACKNEY: Jay Z and Rihanna

JAY Z PROVIDED a show-stopping performance at BBC Radio 1's Hackney Weekend, last night.

The New York rapper, who headlined the east London gig at Hackney Marshes, provided the crowd of over 50,000 people with an energetic hour-long set , which included surprise performances from Rihanna and Kanye West, the latter proving to be ever-popular with the diverse crowd.

Together Jay Z and West, who recently completed two sold out nights at London O2 Arena, treated those who missed out on the coveted gigs to a sample of their Watch The Throne spectacular, which included three repeat performances of Ni***as In Paris.

Wife Beyoncé proudly looked on as her man entertained the masses with a carefully selected set list spanning his career, which included hits 99 Problems, Empire State Of Mind, Dirt Off Your Shoulder and Girls Girls Girls.

British rapper M.I.A. performed two of her own tracks< Paper Planes and Bad Girls during the 42-year-old's set, but technical problems with her microphone meant the crowd struggled to hear her.

Rapper Nicki Minaj's performance earlier in the day was also a victim of microphone problems, but the rapper, dressed in a black all-in-one, persevered and provided fans with a fun and energetic set.

Afrobeats star, D'Banj, who reached number 9 in the UK charts with hit, Oliver Twist was another highlight of the day. His performance on the 1Xtra stage had the crowd, who had packed into the reasonably-sized tent, heaving. He was joined on stage by a trio of flexible dancers who moves became a focal point towards the end of the Nigerian singer's set.

Local girl Leona Lewis, who said she felt honoured to be asked to sing on her own turf, was joined on stage by UK rapper, Wretch 32 for a cover of Diddy Dirty Money's song Coming Home. The singer, who was introduced on stage by DJ Trevor Nelson as 'the most famous singer to ever come of Hackney,' also debuted a new song Come Alive.

Other performances throughout the day, and on various stages, included west London singer Rita Ora, US singer, Trey Songz, who was interviewed by The Voice, and UK rappers Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk, to name a few.

There were various food and drink stalls to wash down all the entertainment on offer during the event, billed as the station's largest free roadshow.

The festival, which continues later today, emerged after local young people said they felt left out of the Olympics. “Here at Radio 1 and 1Xtra we wanted to make sure that we marked this in a way that would give young people from London and beyond, who might not necessarily be engaged with the Games, a chance to celebrate as part of Festival 2012,” explained BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper.

Over the weekend, 100,000 people will attend the festival, part of the BBC's Olympic celebrations.

Over 250,000 people applied for tickets for the free event, with residents from the neighbouring boroughs given priority.

Rihanna will headline the festival later today.

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