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This album was released on November 4th in the year of our Lord 1997. I really don’t have anything to say about this shit before I start listening. I don’t know if I’ll like it or not. I definitely already know that I won’t like it as much as Reasonable Doubt. I’m not really clear on exactly which JAY-Z albums are considered classics. I don’t think this one is tho. I’m sure I won’t think this is trash. Honestly I’ll be shocked if I really feel that way about ANY of Jay’s albums. Well, I’ve heard really bad things about Kingdom Come. Magna Carta Holy Grail was rough too… Everything else should be fine tho.
Track 1: Intro / A Million & One Questions / Rhyme No More (Prod. DJ Premier)
Oh shit is this the song where that “MOTHAFUCKAS CAN’T RHYME NO MO ‘BOUT CRIME NO MO” line comes from? Awesome. It’s starting now. Ha. That Al Pacino imposter just said “OKAY! I’M RELOADEEEED” again. The song’s starting for real now. This beat is dope af. I like Jay’s flow on this track too. The first verse was dope. That Aaliyah sample is really nice. Okay, the beat just switched up. I guess Rhyme No More is starting now. This beat is fucking awesome. I just listened to the whole song. It’s really fuckin’ dope. I liked his flow a lot. There’s not much to say about it tho. It’s got a very simplistic structure. I don’t have any problems with it. I think this is great. DJ Premier put his ass in this beat. I wish he gave it to Nas… Lmao. Anyway, I really fuck with this song. This is dope af to me.
Track 2: The City Is Mine Feat. BLACKstreet (Prod. Teddy Riley & Chad Hugo)
Goddamn. Them BLACKstreet motherfuckers was singin’ they ass off on that hook. They sound great. I’m not crazy about this beat to be honest. It’s alright I guess. The first verse was fine. The second verse was dope. The final verse was okay. I don’t know man. This just isn’t really that great to me. Maybe if the production was better I’d like it more. The only verse that really stood out to me at all was the second one tho. I don’t think this is bad, but I can’t really say that I like it. I’m not ever gonna wanna listen to this again, but it’s an okay song.
Track 3: I Know What Girls Like Feat. Lil Kim & Puff Daddy (Prod. Puff Daddy & Amen-Ra)
This beat is alright. Jay’s flow on this first verse is really dope. The subject matter isn’t really for me tho. Oh my fucking God… This hook is fucking horrible. Jesus Christ. Lil Kim. No. Her actual verse wasn’t bad, but Jesus. That hook is catastrophic. Oh my fuck. Now Puff Daddy’s singing the hook. This is even worse. This is definitely the wackest song I’ve heard during this marathon so far. This is fucking terrible. Why is Puff Daddy even on this song? All he does is sing the shitty hook. This has to be one of the worst JAY-Z songs I’ve ever heard. Fuck this song. This shit is wack af.
Track 4: Imaginary Player (Prod. Prestige)
Oh shit. This beat is awesome. That sample sounds really smooth. So far a lot of the beats sound really trendy and mainstream, and this one actually does too, but not in a bad way. The first verse was decent. He’s just rapping about money. The second verse was cool. The hook is nothing special. The final verse wasn’t bad. I like this song. It’s not that good tho. Honestly, if I didn’t like the production so much I’d probably never listen to this shit again. Jay didn’t impress me at all. It’s great sonically tho. I love that sample Prestige flipped. This shit is dope.
Track 5: Streets Is Watching (Prod. Ski)
This beat is really dope. The first verse wasn’t bad, but I wish this song wasn’t censored. It’s edited on every version of the album, even if it’s labeled as “explicit.” Oh shit.
Now it’s hard not to kill niggas / It’s like a full time job not to kill niggas.
I didn’t know that was a JAY-Z line. Cool. The second verse was nice. Damn. He killed that last verse. Okay, this is more like it. This song is dope af. The beat is great, and I really liked the verses too. The only complaint I have is the censorship. It’s not that big of a deal tho. I fuck with this track. This is great.
Track 6: Friend Or Foe ’98 (Prod. DJ Premier)
This beat is dope. Okay, Jay’s continuing the story from the original Friend Or Foe song. This is actually more exciting than the first one. He’s layin’ the smackdown on the guy from the first one. The song just ended. It’s got the same structure as the original song. There’s not really much to say about it. It’s more aggressive lyrically, and I think this beat is much better. Pretty much everything about this song is better than the original in my opinion. This is dope af to me.
Track 7: Lucky Me (Prod. DJ Stevie J & Buckwild)
This beat is dope af. It’s another one of them happy sounding tracks. I love it. This beat would play during the credits of a movie that had a real happy ending. The lyrics are pretty dark tho. The first verse was great. I really like this. Oh God… Of course he drops an F bomb in the second verse. Fucking Christ. Is it hypocritical that I don’t get on Tyler about that shit? I don’t like it when he says it either, but that’s kinda the point of his music. He’s a troll. He says fucked up shit like that specifically to piss people like me off. Same with Eminem. Jay doesn’t seem like he was doing it for shock value. Anyway, I still really love this track despite what I just said. The female vocals on the hook are fantastic. The F bomb is pretty much the only problem I have with this track. This is dope af to me.
Track 8: (Always Be My) Sunshine Feat. Foxy Brown & Babyface [Prod. Prestige]
Ugh… I’m not feelin’ this beat. It just sounds super trendy. HELL no. This is exactly what the fuck I don’t want when I’m listening to music. This sounds like a fuckin’ Disco beat, and he’s fuckin’ rapping about some badass chick that he’s with. Jesus fucking Christ this song is so bad. This is even worse than track 3. This hook from Babyface is fucking horrific. This is just like the song on the last album with Foxy Brown, except it’s somehow worse. No more. I’m turning this shit the fuck off. I’m sorry. I’m not listening to this song. This shit is wack af to me.
Track 9: Who You Wit II (Prod. Ski)
This song was originally featured on the soundtrack for a movie called Sprung. The version on this album has an additional verse. It’s starting now. Oh shit. This beat is fucking awesome. Jay’s flow on the first verse is cool. It’s nothing special lyrically tho. The hook is dope. The second verse was nice. I can’t really get behind the shit he’s actually saying tho. Especially on that third verse…
If the money was the grass and your ass was a tee / When I hit it with this club, love, you coming with me / Grip you right up under your ass, put your back on the wall / Kinda tipsy, seeing triple, so I’m fucking you all / You remind me of this dream I had the night before / I’m kinda hoping the condom break to have a reason to go raw / I’m playing, hit the showers, hit the money spot / Where all the models play and big money is dropped.
Hell nah… At least his flow sounds good. I like this song. Again, the content isn’t for me personally, but this is pretty dope sonically. I fuck with this.
Track 10: Face Off Feat. Sauce Money (Prod. Trackmasters)
Oh nooo… Smh… This hook is fucking terrible. The beat is decent. Sauce Money & Jay are trading bars on the first verse and their flows are really nice. The content isn’t for me. Jesus fuck. This hook is unbearable. I really don’t like this beat. It’s not too bad during the actual verses, but during the hook it just sounds awful. Those horns sound so shitty. Literally the only thing I like about this track is their flows. The hook is fucking trash. The beat is wack. The content is uninteresting. Even the music video is terrible. It’s pretty much softcore porn. There’s a scene where it looks like they’re trying to stuff money into a stripper’s pussy. I can’t fucking stand this song. This shit is wack af to me.
Track 11: Real Niggaz Feat. Too $hort (Prod. Anthony Dent)
This beat is dope. The hook is fine. Jay’s flow on this first verse is good. This is a slower paced track, but he’s still flowing over this beat really well. It wasn’t anything special lyrically, but it wasn’t bad. Too $hort sounds really fuckin’ good on this beat. His verse was dope. The last two verses were nice too. I like this song. It’s not one of my favorites, but I didn’t really have any serious gripes with it. The hook was kinda boring, and it didn’t really impress me that much lyrically, but the beat was great and I think both MCs rode it very well. This is dope to me.
Track 12: Rap Game / Crack Game (Prod. Big Jaz)
This is another track that JAY-Z made from a Nas line. He samples Represent for the hook. The beat is alright. The first verse was fine. Ehhh… Just like with Dead Presidents, the way this sample is incorporated just doesn’t sound very good to me. You can hear the beats clashing. There’s an Outkast sample in there too, which sounds oddly distorted. This is a really fucking boring track. He’s just talking about selling music. The production is boring. I’m not feelin’ the hook. I’m never listening to this shit again. It’s not really wack, but I’m not gonna lie and say this is good. It’s decent tho.
Track 13: Where I’m From (Prod. D-Dot & Amen-Ra)
This beat is dope af. This is the song Kanye sampled for the Saint Pablo beat. This first verse is actually really dope too.
I’m from where niggas pull your card, and argue all day about / Who’s the best MCs: Biggie, JAY-Z, and Nas / Where the drug czars evolve, and thugs are at odds / At each other’s throats for the love of foreign cars.
This is definitely one of the more interesting tracks in terms of the subject matter. The hook’s fine. This shit is HARD. I loved the second verse. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album so far. I’m actually interested in what Jay’s saying for once. The third verse was dope af. I have no problems with this track. This is great.
Track 14: You Must Love Me Feat. Kelly Price (Prod. Nashiem Myrick)
This beat is cool. Jay’s rapping about his guilt for his past life as a drug dealer. This first verse is pretty good. It’s nice to hear some introspection from Jay for once. The hook from Kelly Price is fine. The second verse was great. The final verse was good too. It just ended. I enjoyed this track. It didn’t blow me away or anything, but I don’t think it’s bad at all. This is dope to me.
Holy fuck that was boring. Lmao. Jesus. I’m sorry, but JAY-Z is just so uninteresting to me. I will never understand why people think he’s so great. I think this is an okay album, but for some reason it was just such a chore to get through for me. I didn’t mention this when it happened, but at one point I literally fell asleep listening to this. It was during Rap Game / Crack Game. I don’t really think this is one of those albums that needs to be heard by everyone. If you’re a big fan of JAY-Z you’ll obviously enjoy this, but if you’re like me then you’re not really missing much. I’d skim it. You’ll pretty much know how you feel about each track within the first minute or so. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say. It’s slightly above average. Emphasis on “slightly.”
Favorite Song: Lucky Me
Least Favorite Song: Face Off
I remember when “Girls Like” came out. My local station JUMPED on that shit and played it from like ’98-’00. It’s just an example of how people get swallowed into the hype.
It only gets worse from here tbh. Jay imo is the king of mediocre album’s, and this right here is an example of said mediocrity. I give this shit here an 5.0/10
Good luck with these next album’s.