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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Jay-Z

MUSIC REVIEWS

 Everyday Beautiful

Jay-Z-The Black Album  (Island/Def Jam)

Jay-Z doesn’t write down lyrics; instead, he does his rapping from memory. Yet, with his latest disk, he has just rewritten the history of rap.  Billed as his final album, The Black Album packs a serious punch.  Accompanied by a bevy of producers, Jay-Z’s cocky flow has never been more welcomed and will surely be missed. 

From the onset, it is obvious which direction Jay-Z (né Shawn Carter) will take the listener.  On the surface, the autobiographical “December 4th sounds like the rags to riches story we often hear in hip-hop.  This time though, with some vintage production by Kanye West (Alicia Keys) and narration from Jay-Z’s mother, Gloria Carter, the track captivates the listener

As the album progresses, Jay-Z takes you on a journey through his storied rap career, touching on topics such as money, cash and, well… you know.  “Change Clothes,” produced by the Neptunes (Justin Timberlake, Clipse) is a perfect lead single and should ease listeners into the album, since it consists of some of the most tame content on the album. The catchy “Dirt Of Your Shoulder” is a prime example of Jay-Z’s ability to craft an infectious single over an equally likable beat.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself bobbing your head to Timbaland’s (Aaliyah, Missy Elliot) grimy, stony production.  “Moment of Clarity,” a self-actualizing track, and the guitar heavy “99 Problems,” produced by Beastie Boys mastermind Rick Rubin, add credibility to an already impressive set. 

Many will argue back and forth on who is the greatest rapper of all time.  The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac will forever be known for their strong coastal influences and cross-country feuds.  Unlike the aforementioned, Jay-Z will leave the game on his own terms, and he’ll leave his distinct fingerprint on hip-hop music.  (12/03)

Abraham Kuranga

Copyright © 2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: January 11, 2004.

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Copyright © 2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: January 11, 2004.