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“I heard people say I’m the luckiest man on the planet,” Jay-Z narrates at the beginning of Fade to Black. Though the multiplatinum-selling MC then goes on to say that he created his own luck, thank you very much, he does concede that once in a while, “all the stars align.” In this case, Jigga means the success of his blockbuster Madison Square Garden farewell concert in November 2003, which kicked off the tour to support his allegedly final work, The Black Album. And, of course, all the glitterati who showed up: Although the show is considered groundbreaking for being the first time a solo hiphop artist sold out an arena—as well as for being the first hiphop event at the Garden in years—Jay-Z is rarely alone in the concert footage that dominates Patrick Paulson and Michael John Warren’s 100-minute documentary. The guest lineup includes, among others, Mary J. Blige, Pharrell Williams, ?uestlove, now-former tourmate R. Kelly, and girlfriend Beyoncé, who delivers a knockout performance of “Crazy in Love.” Between concert scenes, the camera catches Jay in the studio as he created his swan song, of which he says, “Every single line needs to make a statement.” At one point, there’s a brief debate about what sort of statement that might be, about the responsibility hiphop artists have to keep violence out of their work. The accepted argument, of course, is that fans want the guns ’n’ hos, which prompts Jay to look into the camera and say, “See what you did to rappers? They afraid to be theyself!” But the stronger message that comes across from these sessions is Jay’s obvious joy at making and hearing music, which is apparent whenever he a samples a beat but is especially palpable in a scene with Kanye West: Hova listens to the up-and-comer’s grooves and pretty much freaks out in delight, as if he were just another fan. Given Fade to Black’s unabashedly worshipful tone, Paulson and Warren clearly understand that state of mind. Even better, though, they know how to produce it in others: It takes no more than a single pan of that night’s packed, ecstatic crowd to believe it when, in the appropriately titled “Encore,” Jay boasts, “I came; I saw; I conquered.” —Tricia Olszewski