I’ve got to make it through work somehow, so lets do another one!
Here’s the thing, a respectable score for Blondie.
|Bob Marley & The Wailers
|The Rolling Stones
And now we move on, to Jay-Z
What do we reckon then?
Everytime I see the rankings a bit of me dies when I see joni having polled so low.
Gave up well over a decade ago but there are some absolute bangers in there. Never been a massive fan of his delivery, obviously a massively important figure in mainstream hip hop history but think that legacy is as much bad as good. Gone for a 3 cause I’m not really sure
Have no idea why he’s so revered.
One in the “respect without loving” pile for me in terms of canonical hip hop artists.
Some of his really early verses are insane (his appearance on Show & Prove must have been so fucking thrilling at the time) but I’ve never completely fallen in love with any of his albums and he had his worst spell during my peak era of other artists.
Plus his stuff not being on Spotify means I can never be arsed…
Have never engaged with him, even though I’ve owned a good few of his albums over the years. A generous 3/5.
Given him a 3. There are a handful of his singles that I really like, and a couple of albums I enjoyed immensely but haven’t felt the need to revisit really. I just never really fully got it. Like Ant said, I’m sure if you were into hip hop when he first started you’d have been really excited by him but I just can’t get fully on with it and there is a big list of hip hop artists I’d listen to before any of his stuff.
Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint are just about as strong as any album you’ll ever come across in any genre. The Black Album is very strong in places, as is 4:44. All that makes him worth a 4 in my eyes.
There is a lot of trash in there too, but there aren’t many artists we’ve covered with similarly long careers who don’t suffer a similar fate. it’s also really tiresome hearing white people quote that line from “99 Problems”. Annoying laugh too
Edit: Actually knocked the score up to a five cause that’s what I gave OutKast. Think if somebody asked which of the two were my favourite I’d say OutKast 9 times out of 10, but arguably they never released an album as strong head-to-toe as Reasonable Doubt or The Blueprint
5 for me. When he’s on top of his game with the right production there’s not much better.
Reasonable Doubt is perfection - top 10 rap album in my eyes/ears.
Then The Blueprint and The Black Album are both 9/10s. Much more bombast and shows the breadth of his ability when set against the more classic East Coast stylings of RD.
Around that, there’s some gold mixed with some moments of inconsistency, but the highs are really fucking high.
I think as a rapper he lacks the lyrical nuance of some of his fellow GOAT contenders, and it’s interesting how he gets overshadowed on Brookyn’s Finest with Biggie and Renegade with Eminem (fuck me those Em verses ) but on his own he’s just got the coolest smoothest flow.
Think he sums himself up perfectly on Moment of Clarity:
If skills sold truth be told
I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli
Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense (But I did five Mil)
I ain’t been rhyming like Common since
He transcends the genre and he’s not only played the game to do that but he’s also shaped the whole thing.
The Blueprint is fantastic, and I played The Black Album to death growing up. But my interest in Jay sort of dipped and never recovered. I’m not a massive fan of his delivery, I tend to just prefer his choice of beats and hooks.
As ANT said it’s someone I respect but I find hard to love 3/5
—edit changed to 4 as I did play those 2albums to death–
I’ll share this again when we inevitably cover eminem but the way the two of them bring out the best in each other on this track is gobsmacking.
While we’re here; The Grey Album
The sort of thing where rap is used as a punchline for “real music” fans to ironically enjoy it or laugh at. Does my head in.
I really like how he squeezes words around and how awkward and wrong it all seems.
Think I said of Britney how she was an artist I was hugely aware of but had never really heard her stuff. This goes for Jay-Z too.
Do you think? I never really looked at it that way. Always found it pretty entertaining and well-executed.
I find it really endearing in this Stretch & Bob appearance when he introduces his (excellent) freestyle after going on about some party he was at that he clearly wasn’t at.
That sort of thing tends to rankle me really. These “mash-ups” just seem laced with irony and feel like they’re smirking at how funny the idea is the whole time.