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A benefit concert that rapper Jay-Z is planning for Sept. 11 is a step in the direction that his career – and life – is heading in, he said Monday.

The 39-year-old is set to release his 11th studio CD, “The Blueprint 3,” the same day of the charity concert, which has been billed as “Answer the Call.” The performance will be at New York’s Madison Square Garden and air live on Fuse TV.

“The first ‘Blueprint’ was a return to my roots, like those soul samples my mom and pop listened to, and now on this one we’re becoming those guys we looked up to on all those records,” he said. “It’s my evolution and it’s me now in the forefront, not as the performer who looked back … but me taking the initiative being the one, and being the icon, or being the philanthropist,” he said in an interview after a news conference Monday.

Jay-Z was joined by his wife, singer Beyonce Knowles; Gov. David Paterson; Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Jay-Z said he will donate all proceeds from the concert to the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund. Tickets are being sold for $50, and the show is expected to raise $750,000 to $1 million.

Paterson says the rapper is best person to perform because of his connection to young people.

“It is outstanding that perhaps a younger audience, one that needs to know the dangers of terrorism and also the benefits of the freedom this country allows, (will experience this) all in one night,” he said.

“He has a message. He’s a great performer. He’s very sensitive to the problems of other people,” Paterson added.

Jay-Z, a Brooklyn native, has sold out Madison Square Garden seven times. He said plans to perform material from his new CD, and like many concerts in New York, fans can expect him to bring out special guests.

“I’m trying to put that together,” he said.

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