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This album was released on September 8th in the year of our Lord 2009. I’m not sure how I’m gonna feel about this one. I remember when this album was coming out. A lot of the singles were everywhere. I couldn’t avoid them, and this was before I was even listening to Hip Hop. I think this is where a lot of people think Jay started falling off. Or maybe not. I don’t know. All I know is this is a super commercial album, and a lot of people have mixed feelings about it. If you only listen to Pop Music and you’re trying to get into Hip Hop, I feel like this is one of the first albums you’d start with. I’m saying this before listening to the entire album tho, so I may feel differently by the end of this review.
Track 1: What We Talkin’ About Feat. Luke Steele (Prod. Kanye West & No I.D.)
Oh fuck. This beat is fucking amazing. Lmao. The first verse was actually good. Jesus fucking Christ. This is God level production. The hook is dope. His flow on the second verse is nice. Okay, I think I’m gonna like this album. Jay was really rapping on this shit. I think the vocals on the hook sound a little strange, but not really in a bad way. The best thing about this song is definitely the immaculate production, but Jay did his thing too. I fuck with this shit. This is dope af.
Track 2: Thank You (Prod. Kanye West & No I.D.)
Okay, the production on this album is fucking pristine so far. This album sounds like money. It sounds like me wearing a tuxedo sitting at the top of the Eiffel Tower drinking champagne. The first verse was dope.
That is no reason to treat me like I’m somehow from outta heaven / Heaven knows that I’ve made my mistakes; Thank God, what a guy as I say my grace / Who woulda thought by making birds migrate for the winter I’d be fly all summer might I say.
Oh wow. I’ve just gotten word that the streets are really torn on this album. They’re literally split 50/50 on it. I would’ve thought that they’d love it, but that’s why I’m not the streets. The hook is nothing special. This is a really celebratory track. This is the kinda shit Donald Trump would put out if he was a good rapper. I’m enjoying it tho. I don’t care for the content, but I think he’s doing it really well. It’s hard to sound bad over a beat like this. I fuck with this song. The hook kinda sucked, and the content doesn’t really interest me personally. I think Jay did a good job with it tho, and the production is fantastic. This is dope to me.
Track 3: D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) [Prod. No I.D.]
Okay, just based on the title of this song, I feel like this is gonna be really fucking stupid. I find it kind of ironic that Jay decided to get on his Hip Hop Is Dead shit one year after Kanye released 808s. It’s starting now. The beat’s alright. Wow… That first verse was pretty fuckin’ terrible. What the hell is he talking about? He just keeps saying “Man, this song is so edgy! You guys who like autotune aren’t gonna like this! This is really gonna make people who like autotune upset! This is gonna put an end to autotune!” That’s literally all he’s doing. He’s saying he’s gonna do something, and then not doing it. The hook—if you can even fuckin’ call it that—is terrible. Wow. This whole song is bullshit. Did he not fuckin’ listen to this song before releasing it?
I made this just for Flex and Mister Cee; I want niggas to feel threatened.
…BRUH… Smh… JAY, YOU CAN’T THREATEN PEOPLE BY SAYING “THIS IS BAD FOR YOU! I HOPE YOU FEEL THREATENED!” Jesus. This might actually be the dumbest shit he’s ever written. This song is fucking terrible. It’s wack af.
Track 4: Run This Town Feat. Kanye West & Rihanna (Prod. Kanye West & No I.D.)
This is one of the songs from this album that I can actually remember before listening to it. I just remember Rihanna saying “HEEYEEEYEYEEEYEEYAY AAAY EH AAAAY.” It’s starting now. I’ve never really liked that hook from Rihanna to be honest… It’s not really bad, but I could’ve done without it. Is that an unpopular opinion? Do people actually like that hook? Well, whatever. I’ve always thought Rihanna was a pretty shitty singer to be honest. This isn’t anywhere near as bad as her hook on Famous by Kanye West tho. The beat’s decent. The first verse was fine. The second one was fine too. Kanye had a really nice verse, but it still wasn’t really enough to make me wanna listen to this again. It’s not bad at all, but it’s just boring to me honestly. I’m never coming back to this.
Track 5: Empire State of Mind Feat. Alicia Keys (Prod. Angela Hunte, Al Shux & Jane’t Sewell-Ulepic)
I’m pretty sure this was the biggest single from this album. The beat is cool. The first verse was fine. The content of this song isn’t really that interesting to me. I’ve never understood why people have so much pride in their home states. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s not like I’m super proud of being from North Carolina. I was just born here. It could’ve been anywhere. Lyrically, this song is equivalent to me saying “NORTH CAROLINA!!! NC IS AWESOME!!!!! WE HAVE TOBACCO AND KLANSMEN!!!!!” The hook from Alicia Keys is definitely the only thing that really makes this song stand out honestly. She sang her motherfucking ass off on this shit. Seriously, she was singin’ like a motherfucker. She did an amazing job. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say. Alicia Keys stole the show. She’s the only reason I’d ever come back to this. I wasn’t really feelin’ Jay’s flow. It was pretty nice on the final verse, but the downside is the misogynistic undertones of the verse. He was pretty much just like “New York is awesome, but women shouldn’t go there because they won’t be able to handle it.” I’m also not really crazy about the bridge from Alicia Keys. Yeah… Nah… I’m not feelin’ this shit. It’s kinda cool, but nah. It’s like… I like the hook, but everything else about this song just kinda… I don’t know. It’s kinda stupid. Lol. It’s not bad tho. Just not for me.
Track 6: Real as It Gets Feat. Jeezy (Prod. The Inkredibles)
Okay this album is actually not very good so far. Lol. Hopefully that changes soon. This beat is pretty dope. Yeah, this whole album just sounds like a rich person paid a shit ton of money to throw the biggest party ever. Almost every beat on this thing sounds really celebratory. The first verse from Jeezy was fine. Eh… The hook’s not bad. I just… This is kinda boring to me. The production’s nice, but… They’re just not really saying anything interesting honestly… The second verse was fine. Uuuuh… I’m bored. Damn… Is this gonna end up being my least favorite JAY-Z album? I’m almost halfway through this shit and so far I’ve only liked two songs… This isn’t bad, but it’s not something I’d ever come back to. It’s alright.
Track 7: On to the Next One Feat. Swizz Beatz (Prod. Swizz Beatz)
Uhh… I’m not feelin’ this hook. God, Swizz Beatz is so fucking annoying. This beat is dope. Oh this is the song where Jay says people should buy his old albums if they want his old shit. That’s a cool line, but I think most people would be able to see why that line wouldn’t work as a good argument outside of a song. Obviously people don’t literally want old shit. They’re just holding him to the standard he set for himself. I really want to like this beat, but that sample is starting to annoy me. The way Swizz made it sound like they’re saying “on to the next one” is really impressive because they’re really saying “under the spot.” This song is just really annoying to me. That line where Jay tells us he’s not a virgin because he uses his balls is fucking stupid. I’m not feelin’ this shit. This is wack to me.
Track 8: Off That Feat. Drake (Prod. Timbaland & JRoc)
Man… This album is a lot worse than I was expecting… Oh… Oh shit… Uh oh… Here we fucking go… Oh shit… OH SHIT… HOLY FUCKING SHIT. THIS BEAT IS UNBELIEVABLE. JESUS FUCK. TIMBALAND FUCKED THE SHIT OUTTA THIS BEAT. LMAOOOO. GOTDAMN. The first verse was alright. I’m not crazy about this hook from Drake, but it’s fine. I guess. Jay’s just rapping about being cooler than everyone else because he’s ahead of his time. What a douche. Okay, those shots he threw at Rush Limbaugh & Bill O’Reilly were awesome. It’s kinda weird to listen to this song in 2017 when he’s shitting on people for living in the past & not having access to new shit while bragging about having a white iPod. The more I listen to this hook the less I like it. It’s also ironic that he would claim to not give a fuck about rappers who spit about movin’ weight and fuckin’ bad bitches when those are two things that he raps about quite often. God… I really wanted to like this song. The production is fantastic. I just don’t like this shit tho. Nothing about this song interests me. Jay comes off as an arrogant prick, and I’m not feelin’ the hook. The production makes up for a lot of this track’s flaws, but it’s not quite good enough for me to wanna come back to it. It’s decent.
Track 9: A Star Is Born Feat. J. Cole (Prod. Kanye West, No I.D. & Kenoe)
Oh boy… I’m not feelin’ this uncredited hook from Tony Williams. I’m also not really feelin’ this beat either to be honest. The first verse was fine I guess… The subject matter just doesn’t really do anything for me. He’s rapping about rappers. He’s just like “Lil Wayne is popular. 50 Cent used to be popular. Eminem is popular. Illmatic was crazy.” Like seriously who gives a shit about that? You don’t have to tell us this, Jay. We fuckin’ know. Alright, I’m sorry. Wow. This album is actually pretty fuckin’ bad so far. Lmao. Uuuh… This song is just corny as hell to me honestly. Who the hell wanted a song like this? The more I listen to this the angrier I get. Why does this song exist? The third verse wasn’t as bad, but still… Now J. Cole’s going in… Okay, he actually killed this shit. Lmao. That line about Will Smith & Jada was stupid as hell, but this line sounded smooth as fuck.
The flow’s cold as the shoulders of gold digging hoes when a broke nigga approaches.
Honestly, J. Cole is the only thing I like about this song. I’m not feelin’ this shit. This’d be one of the worst songs on the album if it wasn’t for the last verse from Cole. Actually, it really still is one of the worst songs. The Cole verse made it better tho. Anyway, this shit is wack to me.
Track 10: Venus vs. Mars (Prod. Timbaland & JRoc)
Why is this album so bad? Am I being harsh? Do people think this is good? Well, I guess if the streets don’t know how to feel about it it’s not surprising that I’m shitting on it right now. It’s not even really that bad so far. It’s just a lot worse than I thought it’d be. Alright, this song is starting now. Oh fucking shit. This beat is dope af. Timbaland’s work on this album is phenomenal. Uuuh… I’m not feelin’ the first verse. This is a love song, and the first verse is loaded with weak metaphors and similes.
Hov’s a Blackberry Bold, shorty is a Sidekick / She used to have a man, I used to have a side chick / Shorty got wind, I had to blow the chick off / She got rid of him, they both took the shit hard.
…Is that… Is that line about the girl getting wind supposed to connect to the line of them taking the shit hard? I hope it isn’t. I pray that it isn’t. Oh no… I’m not feelin’ this hook. I… I want to turn this song off. Man, the way the production evolves for the final verse is amazing. The production is the only good thing about this song. I’m done with this fuckin’ song. This shit is wack to me.
Track 11: Already Home Feat. Kid Cudi (Prod. Kanye West, No I.D. & Jeff Bhasker)
This beat is dope. This hook is tolerable. The first verse was fine. I liked the second verse. It kinda made me laugh when he acknowledged that people say he looks like a camel.
I kinda feel bad… Whenever people get made fun of for the way they look it makes me sad because it’s not something they can control. I don’t know. Calling someone ugly has always just seemed like a super mean way to insult people to me. Especially if the victim is self aware. Not like Ugly God tho. I was actually having a conversation about this with a friend recently; Ugly God flipped it and made being ugly into a cool thing. Kinda. He takes pride in his ugliness. It’s part of his brand now. That’s actually genius. He’s making money off of something that’d normally be a negative characteristic. He should start an ugly pride parade. Actually… Never mind… Anyway, I can’t really tell if I like this song. I want to like it because the beat is really dope, and I didn’t think the verses were bad. I’m just not really into the hook from Kid Cudi. I don’t think I’m gonna be listening to this again. It was also kinda annoying how he used the word “already” at least once in every bar of the final verse. This is just an okay song to me.
Track 12: Hate Feat. Kanye West (Prod. Kanye West)
I’m honestly not feelin’ this beat. I’m surprised this was produced by Kanye. It doesn’t really sound like something I’d expect from him. It sounds kinda lazy to be honest. Speaking of laziness, that intro verse from Kanye was really weak. Uh… I’m not feelin’ this slightly melodic delivery Jay’s using every time he says “haters” and any word that rhymes with it. His flow is cool tho. I liked Kanye’s second part a lot. I just listened to the whole song. It’s not bad. It just feels like it’s missing something. I don’t really think a hook would’ve helped very much. Honestly, I think what really holds this back for me is the production. It’s just kind of a stale beat in my opinion. I don’t think this is a bad song tho. Just not very good.
Track 13: Reminder (Prod. Timbaland & JRoc)
Oh fucking shit. This beat is dope af. The first verse was nice. I think Jay was trying to make this “Ahw” thing into a new ad-lib. It’s kind of annoying. Oh my fucking God. This hook is awful. Jesus Christ. It’s an uncredited feature from K. Briscoe. It’s bad. Her voice is atrocious. Why do they keep saying “remindurrr” like that? God fucking damnit. I’m not feelin’ the second verse. Who the fuck let this shit fly? This shit is unbearable. That’s so unfortunate. The beat is great and I liked a couple of the verses. The hook fucking destroyed this shit tho. Goddamn. This shit is wack.
Track 14: So Ambitious Feat. Pharrell Williams (Prod. The Neptunes)
I can’t believe how much I dislike this album… I honestly thought I was gonna like it. I was excited to hear this. Smh… Alright, fuck it; lemme just go ahead and get these last two songs out the way. This one’s starting now. This beat is fucking amazing. The first verse was dope. Basically this song is a dick in the mouth to everyone who told Jay he would never be shit. Pharrell did a great job with the hook. Alright, here we go. I’m actually really enjoying this song. It just ended. I don’t have any problems with it. This shit is dope to me.
Track 15: Young Forever Feat. Mr. Hudson (Prod. Kanye West)
I fuckin’ hate this song. Jay for whatever reason thought it would be a good idea to sample Forever Young by Alphaville. I don’t know what made him think he could pull it off without being insufferably corny. I guess if there’s anything to be learned from the previous track, it’s that Jay’s gonna try whatever he wants even if it seems like a terrible idea. I can’t listen to this song unironically without cringing so hard that I have a stroke. Do I really even have to say anything else about this track? Jay certainly doesn’t make this shit worth listening to. I don’t like a single thing about this song. It’s definitely not the worst track on the album, but I can’t fuck with this shit at all. It’s wack to me.
Wow. This is a really mediocre album. I honestly have the exact same opinion of this album that I had for Kingdom Come. It’s not good. It’s not anywhere near being good. I’m really surprised that I don’t like this to be honest. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I never liked any of the singles I heard. So this is where the Jay I’m most familiar with first showed up. This is the lyrically uninteresting MC who likes to flaunt his success lazily over lavish production. I don’t even really have anything positive to say… I mean, the production was nice for the most part, but other than that this shit was a chore to get through. I don’t know why I thought it would be so much better than this. I mean, I guess I just wasn’t expecting to think that this was one of his worst albums. I didn’t think it’d be worse than the second Blueprint album. Well, at least I finally get to move on to Watch the Throne.
Favorite Song: What We Talkin’ About
Least Favorite Song: Death of Autotune
I was EXTREMELY mixed on this record. A few horrid tracks, but in my opinion, the good tracks really stand out. “Run This Town” is honestly my favorite Hov song. It’s a weird choice, but I love every second of it. On to the Next One is really nice, What We Talkin’ About is great, Off That is great, and I honestly loved Young Forever. DOA has one of my favorite Hov beats, but it’s RUINED by the godawful singing and lyrics. Venus vs. Mars is catastrophic. Hate is wack as fuck. The album has good production for the most part, but a few of the songs really bring the entire thing down. I’d probably give this thing, like, a very light 8/10. For the most part, I liked it. It was sort of like VIEWS. The highs were very high, but the lows were VERY low.
Also, is Watch the Throne going to be part of this marathon? I don’t think you reviewed it during the Kanye marathon.
Yeah I’m working on that right now
All the singles on here made me despise the album. From annoying hooks to just unpleasant songs. Just hearing Empire State Of Mind and Run This Town repeatedly on the radio made me wanna blow my eardrums out lol.
Aside from that I really avoided this project like the fucking plague, it took me months to sit down and completely to get through this project. It’s one of those joints where you really give the artist a chance and they completely screw the pooch about halfway through lol. I give this project a 5.0/10
Check out Bone Thugs~N~Harmony’s (much better) remix of DOA.
Great job Nick
I am not really sure who likes this album… Next album is a drag but 4:44 is like my 2nd favorite Jay album