Friday, June 1, 2012

My #2 favorite artist of all time

Jay-Z @ Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter Foundation Carnival (crop 2).jpg

Jay-Z. Shawn Carter. Jay Hova. Jigga ("I never go broke, my name got 2 Gs"). Jiggaman. Young Hov. Whatever you want to call this man, it makes no difference. Much like Nas, Jay-Z has forever marked his territory in hip hop and you're naive to think otherwise. My first exposure to Jay was on the first "Dead Presidents" track, and from there I became a long time fan. The wordplay, the flow, the storytelling, the ability to "go hard for the streets & sick for the clubs", etc, and you can see why he takes the #2 spot as far as my favorite performers are concerned. When it's all said and done in this world, Jay-Z will go down as one of the all time greats. (Sidenote: Much like I am with Nas, there's an admitted strong bias here, and with good reason!)

5 favorite songs- Can't Knock The Hustle, Politics As Usual, Dead Presidents II, D'Evils, & Can I Live

Wayne's Words- You're about to witness a dynasty like no other. I know Jay hadn't uttered these words in 96 when this classic was released, but it certainly does apply here. Although he's been close on one occasion to besting this album (The Blueprint), my #2 favorite artist of all time was at the top of his game when he dropped this, and it remains his most distinguished body of work.

Rating- 5 stars

Personal facts
*I bought this album three times.

Jayz inmylifetime.jpg

5 favorite songs- Where I'm From, Imaginary Player, Friend Or Foe 98, You Must Love Me, & Rap Game, Crack Game

Wayne's Words- There was a small period when this album came out that I thought it was better than his debut, but that opinion quickly changed. I personally don't think he set out to top Reasonable Doubt, which is impossible, and you would think considering what was happening at the time (the unfortunate loss of the legendary Biggie)  that would've greatly affected this album, but that was certainly not the case. Aside from 2 missteps (I Know What Girls Like & Sunshine), this album is excellent all around and it's his 3rd best album in my opinion.

Rating- 5 stars (Most would disagree with that rating, but I stand by it. I think I'm one of the few who can still award an album 5 stars although there is still other songs on the album that shouldn't have made it. My thinking is, as long as the other material surrounding the "bad" songs is strong, the overall rating should reflect that.)

Personal fact
*I bought this album twice.

5 favorite songs- Money, Cash, Hoes, N**** What, N**** Who, Coming Of Age (Da Sequel), A Week Ago, & If I Should Die

Wayne's Words- I remember my close friend Shaun bought this album around the time it was released in 98 (it included a bonus disc too), however, I didn't cop it the first time till................. August 1999 (SMH). Although this album is loaded with guests, it doesn't change the fact that this album is very good. He only got bigger from here.

Rating- 4 stars (Initially my rating was 3.5 stars, but I bumped it by one star a few years back.)

Personal fact
*I bought this album twice


5 favorite songs- So Ghetto, It's Hot (Some Like It Hot), Watch Me, Dopeman, & NYMP

Wayne's Words- I really anticipated this one prior to its release, and needless to say I was satisfied with what I got. I could've done without "Things That U Do", "Pop 4 Roc", "Snoopy Track", & "S. Carter", but overall it's still very good.

Rating- 4 stars

Personal fact
*I bought this album on the day it was released, 12/28/1999, along with DMX's "And Then There Was X", and a 2nd copy of Wu-Tang's "Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)".


5 favorite songs- This Can't Be Life, Soon You'll Understand, Stick 2 Da Script, 1-900 Hustler, & Streets Is Talking

Wayne's Words- I always looked at this another Jay-Z album, not necessarily a "group effort" with the rest of the ROC, respectively. Jay started to get a little more introspective this time out (and become a bigger star in the process), resulting in a pretty excellent album for the year 2000.

Rating- 4.5 stars

The Blueprint.png

5 favorite songs- The Ruler's Back, Takeover, Heart of the City (Ain't No Love), Blueprint (Momma Loves Me), & Never Change

Wayne's Words- Remember when I said that Jay was starting to get introspective on "The Dynasty Roc La Familia"? Well that continued here, and the result was not only Jay's best album since Reasonable Doubt, offering up more introspective lyrics over fine production (thanks to Just Blaze, Kanye West, Bink, Timbaland, etc), but also the second best album of 2001 behind Nas' "Stillmatic". This is one of MANY albums that take me back to a moment in time whenever I listen to it, and that still happens today.

Rating- 5 stars

Personal fact
*Yep, on 9/11/2001, along with Redman's "Malpractice", I bought this album on that date. I was walking through Circuit City, completely happy about this purchase, while still feeling multiple ways regarding our world changing on that day.

This is another album I bought when it first came out. It's quite excellent, one of two live hip hop albums I own.

5 favorite songs on disc 1- Excuse Me Miss, I Did It My Way, The Watcher 2, All Around The World, & The Bounce
5 favorite songs on disc 2- Diamond Is Forever, Guns & Roses, Blueprint2, Meet The Parents, & Somehow, Someway

Wayne's Words- Well, although this was Jay's first double album, in a way I feel this is the one album from him I anticipated the least, and I'm not sure why. It's very good, but Jay could do much better.

Rating- 3.5 stars

5 favorite songs- Encore, What More Can I Say, Allure, December 4th, & Lucifer

Wayne's Words- I remember buying this one when it first came out and after listening to it the first time, I immediately gave it 5 stars and I stand by that rating to this day. If this was Jay's last album, it was a hell of a way to go out, although I knew at the time it wouldn't be his last, lol. Jay knew better, lol.

Rating- 5 stars

5 favorite songs- Oh My God, I Made It, Lost Ones, Minority Report, & Dig A Hole
Wayne's Words- It took me a few listens to like this one. It's NOT wack by any means, but it's good. It was not quite the "grand return" it should've been, but overall I wasn't disappointed.

Rating- 3.5 stars

5 favorite songs- Say Hello, Success, Ignorant S***, No Hook, & Roc Boys (And The Winner Is.....)

Wayne's Words- I bought this one on the day of its release, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Of all of Jay's albums, this was does play like a movie, ironically enough, as it's essentially tailored after the movie of the same name. Excellence from start to finish, even with "Hello Brooklyn", which SHOULDN'T have made this album.

Rating- 5 stars

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3.jpg

5 favorite songs- What We Talkin Bout, Thank You, Empire State Of Mind, Run This Town, & DOA (Death of Autotune)

Wayne's Words- When I think back to 2009, this is one of the albums that's comes to mind, possibly the 2nd best album that year. Jay's excellence continues as he closes out the Blueprint series. The first 5 songs on the album (my 5 favorite songs on here) would be an automatic 4 stars by themselves. Also, I wish "Jockin Jay-Z" had made the album, because if it did, my rating would be different, as is 4.5 stars.

Rating- 4 stars

Overall, my #2 favorite artist of all time in a nutshell. I didn't care too much for the albums he did with R. Kelly, the "Streets Is Watching" soundtrack was very good, and his album with Kanye West (Watch The Throne) was excellent as well, and trust me, it'll be another post about that album as well. And one last thing, whereas others have a top 5 or 10, I have a top 2, lol!!!!!!!!!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment