A Solid LP For Jay-Z That Hits..
Could He Be Heir To Biggie?.. Only Time Will Tell

After Biggie died this past March, everyone kept speculating who would heir his rap throne.. Who would step up and become front and center for the hip hop scene in New York..? That artist would have to possess a lethal combination of mad skillz on the mic, have street credibility and an assortment of ghetto passes.. he would also have to have the ability to be a mainstay within the mainstream.. That was Biggie... A commercial artist with street credibility... All eyes have been focused on Jay-Z... Could he deliver.. Could he exist in both worlds... With the release of his second album.. 'In My Lifetime, Vol 1' it appears that he just might be the heir... But wait...mmmm there is Rakim.. But Rakim is a God.. so lets go back to earthly matters and talk about Jay-Z...

Jay-Z lit up the summer months with a sizzling joint called 'Who You Wit' which was featured on the Sprung movie sound track.. It was an original funky beat that no one could deny...It found itself as a staple song on most mix shows.. and was in regular rotation on more then a few radio stations.. Jay-Z's distinctive voice had become familiar to many folks because he had hooked up with people artists like Foxy Brown to create hit records.... Just as the Jay-Z phenomenon was beginning to wane, he pulled a major trick out his magic bag.. He hooked up with Foxy Brown and song writer/singer extraordinaire Baby Face and then borrowing a trick from Puffy pulled out one of hip hop's forgotten but one of it's most popular beats.. It was the drum track originally used by the Fearless Four in their pioneering song called 'Rockin It' which dropped way back in '82.. The devastating mixture resulted in a hit song called 'Sunshine' that you now hear everywhere... Like so many of Biggie's songs it has street credibility but it's reaching everyone..everywhere..

So now Jay-Z is one of those artists who everyone is checking for... Does his album deliver that elusive combination.. I would have to say yes.. I really like his album.. Initially there were some folks that tried to say he sold out because he hooked up with Black Street and redid the Glen Fry jam 'You Belong To The City'.. But unlike Puffy who will use a whole song.. Jay-Z gave it that street feel.. I like it and can see it being a big commercial hit.. Another track that stands out is the romantic sounding 'Lucky Me' and the Ojay inspired groove 'You Must Love Me'...There's one other attempt that I have to be honest when I say I'm not really feeling.. However, it'll probably blow up the spot.. That's the song 'I Know What Girls Like' which features Puffy and Lil Kim.. It uses the beat from the old classic Fly Girl which was used by the Boogie Boys.. Ok so Jay-Z has satisfied the commercial side of things..

On the street side...Jay-Z definitely delivers for the headz.. Cuts like 'Real Niggaz' which features Too Short will get heads nodding.. It should also have some west coast appeal.. Short don't sound bad on there.. 'Rap Game/Crack Game' is another joint that slams.. Here Jay-Z makes the comparison between how dealers distribute crack and how record companies run their businesses to push records.. A lot of similarities here.. mmmmm . 'Where I'm From which samples from the Temptations is also on point.. It will definitely be heard on more then a few rap shows.. Jay-Z current underground hit .. 'Streets Is Watching' is the b side track to Sunshine is already poppin' on the rap airwaves....

All in all Jay-Z has a nice album...that'll get you going... Whether or not he is the heir to Biggie will be known through the test of time.. Consider Jay-Z's album as an application that is sitting somewhere near the top of the pile..

Reviewed By Davey D


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