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Meet the woman who rapped on-stage with Jay-Z on Thursday night

January 10, 2014|By Ernest Wilkins, @ErnestWilkins | RedEye Sound Board

During Jay Z's "Magna Carta Holy Grail" tour, he's been lending valuable stage time to a random concert-goer to spit his or her stuff for the audience. Thursday night at the United Center, the rapper in question was 19-year-old Monique "Mobo" Burrell of Kankakee. Her charismatic freestyle was captured and passed around social media -- watch the video, here -- garnering largely positive response and getting the attention of the Jiggaman himself. RedEye tracked her down, and the story of how she got that moment to shine will amaze you.

So, how does a 19-year-old get front row tickets to a Jay-Z show, anyway?

Man, that whole story is crazy. I actually bought my tickets to Kanye and Jay Z at the same time when they came out. He and Kanye are my idols. He's the greatest. I'm a big Roc Nation fan as a whole. My grandmother got mad at me and gave my Jay tickets to my brother. So I had to sell my favorite pair of Ray-Bans to get a front row ticket.

Damn, not the Ray-Bans!

[laughs] Yeah! I bought the tickets an hour before the show, too. Also, it's crazy I left my license at home and had to go home on the Metra and ended up getting stranded in University Park for three hours. My phone died. I was sure I wasn't making the show. Then I finally got my grandmother to pick me up ...

... the mean one?

Nah, this is the nice one.

Ah.

Yeah, so she picked me up and I got the ticket at 7, and the show started at 8. At that point, something told me that if I made it, then I'm supposed to be here again.

Wait, again?

Yeah, I rapped for Jay Z onstage three years ago during the Blueprint 3 tour back when I was 16. I bought my ticket with my grandmother. This is the mean one. She bought 300-level seats. I snuck down to the floor level from those seats. He does this thing [during the show] where he calls out folks who have nice gear or whatever. He called me out and asked if I wanted my hat signed. I got on stage, and he hugged me. I told him I wanted to be a rapper like him. He said, "Oh, you wanna be a rapper? Spit something then, but don't take up my whole show." So yeah, this was my second chance. That's why my sign said, "I was 16 when I rapped on stage w/you. Now I'm 19 and ready to go." He saw it, then asked "Wait, what does that say?" He read it and then said, 'Come on up here!' And then the video happened. I happy I charged my phone. [laughs]

So you mentioned you had a feeling you were supposed to be in that spot again. On the floor, with your sign.

The first time, I had no idea that I was going to get up there. I had three years to plan for this. I thanked him, and unlike last time, I worked the crowd and Timbaland [who played in Jay's band last night], and that made Jay laugh.

So what happened next?

After the show, his security said he left, but his reps asked for my information. I gave it to 'em. Haven't heard back, but it's only been a day. I can't expect to get signed off that, but I'm hoping to hear from them. My story is too good of marketing to pass on me, right?

Listen to Monique's rhymes at her Soundcloud.

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