Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bouncin in the Lex Luger

114. Jay-Z - "Can't Knock the Hustle (ft. Mary J. Blige)" (Roc-A-Fella Records, 1996)
115. Jay-Z - "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99) (ft. Big Jaz and Amil)" (Roc-A-Fella Records, 1999)

So the effect of the new, not that great Jay-Z album has basically been two days of me listening to classic Jigga. I think the problems with Blueprint 3 are clearly illustrated in the first track, "What We Talkin' Bout", in which Jay spends the whole verse talking about what he's talking about instead of talking about it. Then a boring chorus from the dude from Empire of the Sun (I don't know either) comes in, and then Jay comes in with a really boring flow, and then the rest of the album follows from there (though No ID does get a few good beats in).

Anyways, no point in wasting our time on Blueprint 3 when gems like these two still exist in the (I think we can now officially say) erstwhile Young Hov's back catalog. "Can't Knock the Hustle" has Mary doing her heart-wrenching rap chorus thing as well as ever, and Jay actually fitting an impossible amount of charisma into that one "IS's/ah yes" rhyme. And that nut/nut thing in the last verse still makes me giggle, for some reason.

And then we have "Nigga What, Nigga Who", the first collaboration between two of the biggest figures in turn of the century rap, Jay and Timbo in which Jay reveals that he can flow like Twista over Timbaland's stuttering futurism and sound just as effortless as he does over a Primo beat.

Sadly, it seems that these days Jay has run out of both interesting things to say (LOL old) and interesting was to say them. Is he the first rapper to have his career reach the Rolling Stones stage where he both has a ton of classic material and is still making commercially successful but boring music?

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