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OTRC: Jay-Z to headline two benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall

Jay-Z will become the first solo hip-hop act to headline at Carnegie Hall and he's doing it for a good cause.

The venue announced on Thursday, December 8, that Jay-Z will headline two concerts at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium in New York City to raise money for the United Way of New York City and his own organization, the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation. The concerts are set to take place on Feb. 6, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. and Feb. 7, 2012 at 9:30 p.m.

The two charities aim to boost on-time graduation rates in underserved New York City schools and put college within reach for low-income students across the five boroughs.

"It's every artist's dream to play a venue as legendary as Carnegie Hall," Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, said in a statement. "The fact that I can use the arts and my talent to benefit the education of the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs, and great thinkers makes for a legendary night. I'm proud to be a part of the continuing work of United Way of New York City and expanding the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation."

"It will be a thrill to welcome Jay-Z to Carnegie Hall as he joins an illustrious list of top popular artists who have appeared at the Hall throughout its history," Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall's Executive and Artistic Director, said. "It's wonderful that he and the United Way of New York City have come together with the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation for these performances, putting a spotlight on an important cause, creating greater access to higher education."

Private ticket packages go on sale on December 12th. Tickets in the private sale will range from $500 to $2,500. A limited number of single tickets will be offered to the public on January 30 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Though Jay-Z is the first solo hip-hop act to headline at a concert, he is not the first hip-hop act to ever perform at the venue. Wylcef Jean performed at there in 2001 with Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston.

Jay-Z was born Shawn Carter in Brooklyn, New York. He began his music career in the mid-1990s and in 1996 dropped his first album, "Reasonable Doubt," which also featured late rapper The Notorious B.I.G.

Two years later, Jay-Z released what would become his breakout single, "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)."

Jay-Z, 41, and wife Beyonce are currently expecting their first child, due in February. The 30-year-old singer announced her pregnancy during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in August. During her 2011 MTV VMA performance she told the audience, "I want you to feel the love that's growing inside me." At the end she opened her sequined tuxedo jacket and rubbed her stomach, to the delight of the crowd.

The couple got married on April 4, 2008. The nuptials were so secret that no photos or video from the event were released. The couple got married with a close circle of 40 friends and family members after dating for six years.

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