A friend had asked me to get her the The Black Album and it’s companion The White Album so she would have some Jay-Z in her collection. I’m gonna make her learn a bit more than she may want to, but before the end of the year you’ll have those two requests miss Caroline!
But before we get ahead of ourselves let’s make it clear from now until the two double 0 nine I’ll be delivering a Jay album on Wednesday’s – it’s Jay Day.
Jay-Z has been around this game for a long time now. While he has become a household name, at one point he wasn’t even able to command interest from the big dog majors and had to deliver his debut through the lesser known Priority records. But Priority also let him and his partners Dame Dash and Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burke establish there own label.
Roc-A-Fella Records and a dynasty was born.
That dynasty that ruled the end of the 90s and the beginning of this decade began with one record, a record that was suppose to be the only one from one Shawn Carter.
But you all know the story, he drops a classic and his BIG Brooklyn homie passed – who else was going to carry the crown? It wasn’t going to be Memphis.
Filled with tales of the hustler life that left him still spending money from ’88 (does anyone believe this?) we were introduced to a kid who saw the downfall to the street life and took the business mind to the board room.
Rocking over beats from some of NY’s finest we see Ski make his name with the brilliant flip of Lonnie Liston Smith’s beautiful “Garden of Peace” and of course with the scratched in Nas vocal we have the track that helped inspire the greatest battle of the century.
Elsewhere we see Ski preparing us for what he would deliver the following year as “Feelin’ It” has Camp Lo written all over it filled with that bounce only their style of club music can induce.
Irv Gotti shows up as DJ Irv for “Can I Live” probably my favorite track here both for the brilliant looping of Isaac Hayes “The Look of Love” (Is this the best rendition of this track? I know Dionne Warwick’s doesn’t have nothing on it) and for Jigga’s rhymes about the trap before that was it’s name.
My mind is infested, with sick thoughts that circle
like a Lexus, if driven wrong it's sure to hurt you
Dual level like duplexes, in unity, my crew and me
commit atrocities like we got immunity
You guessed it, manifest it in tangible goods
Platinum Rolexed it, we don't lease
we buy the whole care, as you should
My confederation, dead a nation, EXPLODE
on detonation, overload the mind of a said patient
When it balls to steam, it comes to it
we all fiends gotta do it, even righteous minds go through this
True this, history school us to spend our money foolish
Bond with jewellers and, watch for intruders
I stepped it up another level, meditated like a buddhist
Recruited lieutenants with ludicrous, dreams of
gettin cream let's do this, against T-D-S
So I keep one eye open like, C-B-S, ya see me
stressed right? Can I live?
Quoteables abound left and right here, as do top notch beats. Primo delivers some classic work, along with Clark Kent and a then unknown Sean C who some may know as one half of Diddy’s most recent incarnation of the Hitmen, responsible for a significant portion of the beats of Jay’s most recent effort American Gangster.
From opening with the beautifully haunting “Politics as Usual” featuring a stunning performance from MJB (what performance of hers isn’t?) that makes you fiend for their rumored in the works collaborative record to hearing Biggie and Jay trade bars in an attempt to be titled “Brooklyn’s Finest” to the guest verses from Bleek that have left fans disappointed in him ever since, Reasonable Doubt is an un-ignorable record for any Hip Hop head, but fans of good music should give it a listen as this is a classic in the cannon of music.