This post is in the theme “Constructing an identity through media”. Read the first.
September 26, Chicago: When you talk about the best rappers of all time, my mind (and my heart) always goes to Biggie. For a long time, I wrote Jay-Z off because I didn’t really care about the radio hits. Don’t get me wrong, I knew all the words to “Big Pimpin’” and could never pass up a chance to dance to “Crazy in Love”, but it wasn’t canonical. It was getting into this album that changed my opinion on Jay-Z forever.
My favorite song continues to be “Heart of the City”. I love that beat and the hook is so infectious. This song, like so many on this album is filled with memorable zingers like “Sensitive thugs y’all all need hugs”. So great.
There is of course “Takeover”, which despite disciples of Nas who might claim it was bested in the rejoinder, is still my favorite battle rap song of all time. That beat snipped out of the Doors, that whole verse for Nas with its absolutely specific detail about the business of the game (“I know who I paid, dog / Searchlight Publishing”), and that super hot final line in “half a bar”. And then “Girls, Girls, Girls” which despite its casual racism and expected overt sexism, remains a fun-as-hell song. (The jam, of course, is the second version over that Pretenders sample; Young Kanye you really were a genius.) And “Renegade”, which as Nas notes, is really Eminem’s song. And how. So. Many. Hot. Tracks. On. This. Album.
Really dedicate yourself to some Jay-Z and listen to this album.