Lately, Jay-Z has proved himself to be, if nothing else, a guy who needs a bit of competition to get out of bed in the morning—not for nothing did his “retirement” coincide with one of the most historically dull stretches in rap, ever. So, to Lil Wayne‘s myriad accomplishments this year—including hip-hop’s as-yet-undisputed heavyweight champion album of the year, Tha Carter III—let us add that record’s “Mr. Carter,” the song that brought Jay-Z off the shelf in 2008. Jay, forced to defend himself against a younger, feistier rapper with whom he shares not just a government name but an ambition to be better than everyone else, period, sounded awake for the first time in years; Wayne, for his part, got the coronation he deserved from the only guy left with the stature to give it. Expect some or all of the rest of rap’s current top 10—Young Jeezy, Kanye, T.I., etc.—to stop by tonight to give these two a hand, or to just pay homage. With Ne-Yo.

Tue., Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., 2008