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Elements => The Vault => Album Review => Topic started by: KVB1000 on January 07, 2002, 07:45:01 AM

Title: Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
Post by: KVB1000 on January 07, 2002, 07:45:01 AM
Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt

I've been loving this album for a long time and been wanting to review it for
y'all. Here goes:

01 - Can't Knock The Hustle (feat. Mary J. Blige)
One of two hit singles from this album, this was produced by unknown
beat-maker Knowbody. It's a good opening song, but there are way better
things to come on this album later. Anyway, Jigga displays strong
lyricism on three verses with Mary J. Blige singing the hook.
Beat: 3/5 - Lyrics: 4/5

02 - Politics As Usual
This song has a very nice beat to it, provided by Ski, another relatively
unknown producer. Jay-Z delivers average lyrics here though, he raps about
some wierd, sophisticated shit. This song becomes largely anynomus compared
to other tracks on Reasonable Doubt.
Beat: 4/5 - Lyrics: 3/5

03 - Brooklyns Finest (feat. Notorious B.I.G.)
This is a classic song, it probably could be called the best hip-hop song
ever. The main factor is Jay & Big's unbelievable cheimstry, they switch
bars with 6 verses each and they flow is crazy, with fantastic lyrics,
check out outtakes:

No more, Mister, Nice Guy, I twist your shit
the fuck back with them pistols, blazin
Hot like cajun
Hotter than even holdin work at the Days Inn
with New York plates outside
Get up outta there, fuck your ride

[Notorious B.I.G.]
Keep your hands high, shit gets steeper
Here comes the Grim Reaper, Frank Wright
Leave the keys to your In-tegra (That's right)
Chill homie, the bitch in the Shoney's told me
You're holdin more drugs than a pharmacy, you ain't harmin me
So pardon me, pass the safe, before I blaze the place
and here's six shots just in case

Included here are also the infamous Tupac diss, pretty lame in my opinion.
Regardless, this song is devastating, with a great, complex piano loop by
producer Clark Kent.
Beat: 4.5/5 - Lyrics: 4.5/5

04 - Dead Presidents II
Another fantastic piano beat by Ski, the best one on this album, this song is
as good as Brooklyns Finest, if not better, in my opinion. Jay-Z spits
unbelieveable lyrics, you have to listen to this shit for yourself, it's classic.
He samples Nas on the chorus. This could be the album's best track.
Beat: 5/5 - Lyrics: 5/5

05 - Feelin' It (feat. Mecca)
Third Ski production, and he does not disappoint, this song has an soulfoul,
lively piano loop (3 piano songs in a row). Jay asks for love on this song
which also contains his first weed reference. Lyrics are mad tight.
Jay has also an crazy flow. I'm definetly feelin' it.
Beat: 4.5/5 - Lyrics: 4.5/5

06 - D'Evils
DJ Premier production. Really nothing extraordinary worth mentioning about
this track, Jay samples Snoop Dogg and Nas (again!) for the chorus. Premier
uses his trademark samples & scratches over a nice beat. Good lyrics,
apparently about hustling & surviving. Great track.
Beat: 4/5 - Lyrics: 3.5/5

07 - 22 Two's
Ski produces his 4th track on Reasonable Doubt, and this is awesome. Although
the beat is nothing revolutionary (compared to some other ones on the album),
it is actually very impressive. Jay-Z spits once again brilliant, thoughtful
lyrics and apparently disses the West Coast and Russell Simmons. His flow is
mad tight and aggressive:

Too much West coast dick-lickin, and too many niggaz on a mission
Doin your best Jay-Z rendition
Too many rough motherfuckers, I got my suspicions
that you're just a fish in a pool of sharks nigga, listen
Too many bitches wanna be ladies, so if you a hoe
I'ma call you a hoe, too many bitches are shady
Too many ladies give these niggaz too many chances
Too many brothers wannabe lovers don't know what romance is
Too many bitches stuck up from too many sexual advances
No question; Jay-Z got too many answers

The only thing fucking this song up is the plain stupid skit mixed in before and
after the song, like this song is supposed to be a freesyle. If this had not been
included, this would have been a classic song.
Beat: 4/5 - Lyrics: 5/5

08 - Can I Live
Jay shines once again on this DJ Irv (Irv Gotti) production. The beat is impressive
for a rookie (at that time), although very talented producer. Saxhophones provide
an comfortable melodic backdrop for Jay to reflect on his life. Lyrics are awesome
as usual. This smooth, laidback song is off the hook, hands down. Almost classic.
Beat: 4/5 - Lyrics: 4/5

09 - Ain't No Nigga (feat. Foxy Brown)
This is it, the first average song on Reasonable Doubt. The bouncing beat by
Big Jaz is the weakest on this album. It's average at best, and Jay-Z comes out so-so
in his storytelling about girls, girls, girls. Foxy has a very long verse which fails
to impress me in any way. It's really nothing fatally wrong with this, it just that this
doesn't stand out in any way compared to most other songs on the album.
Beat: 2.5/5 - Lyrics: 3/5

10 - Friend Or Foe
Jay spits about 30 bars without a chorus or nothing about some person, friend or foe,
I don't know who he is talking about. There's some skit in the beginning.
Anyway, his lyrics don't impress at all on this very short track (1:49).
Primo produces his 2nd song on the album, and delivers a very impressive beat.
It could have been accompromised a lot better by Jay-Z.
Beat: 4/5 - Lyrics: 2.5/5

11 - Coming Of Age (feat. Memphis Bleek)
Unknown producer Clark Kent produces his 2nd track for Jay & young rapper
Memphis Bleek to spit on. Jigga has a great verse with furious flows,
then Bleek comes in with an alright verse, but he has neither the lyrical skill nor
the flow of Jiggaman. A rapping conversation between the two serves as the third
verse. The chorus is catchy and off the hook. Coming Of Age also has a great, soulful beat.
Good track, though not one of the best. Bleek decreases my lyrics rating.
Beat: 3.5/5 - Lyrics: 3.5/5

12 - Cashmere Thoughts
Another C.K. production, his weakest beat of the three. But some of the lyrics Jay
spits here deserves mention, check this out for an example:

Uhh, I talk jewels and spit diamonds, all cherry
like a hymen, when I'm rhymin with remarkable timin
Caviar and silk dreams, my voice is linen
Spittin venom up in the, minds of young women
Mink thoughts to think thoughts type similar
Might you remember, my shit is col-l-l-ld like December

When taken into perspective, this is an good lyrical display by Jay-Z, with a kind
of slow, laidback flow, he tells you about his thoughts and personality.
All in all, this is really nothing more than an average track.
Beat: 2.5/5 - Lyrics: 3.5/5

13 - Bring It On (feat. Big Jaz, Sauce Money & Fat Joe)
Primo (DJ Premier) produced his third track on Reasonable Doubt, and uses his
best beat on Bring It On. Jay is outshined here by Jaz & Sauce Money who both have
dope verses with a mad-ass flow. Jay becomes kinda left in the dirt with his slow
flow and anonymous verse. Fat Joe is uncredited for the chorus here. Anyways, dope
song, absolutely brillant beat, catchy and dope as fuck by the god Premier.
Beat: 4.5/5 - Lyrics: 4/5

14 - Regrets
This track was produced by another unknown producer, named Peter Panic. Jay speaks
of his thoughts, reminiscing and regrets with a slow, calm flow. He obviously has
a lot on his mind. His lyrics is good, though nothing extraorinary. The beat is
alright, and all in all the track is impressive. Good quality laidback music.
Beat: 3/5 - Lyrics: 4/5

Bonus Track
15 - Can't Knock The Hustle (Fools Paradise Remix) (feat. Meli'sa Morgan)
As a bonus track on my Reasonable Doubt I got this remix of Can't Knock The Hustle.
All I can say is that it's off the hook, Irv Gotti upgrades the beat severely from
the original version, and Jay spits even spits slightly better lyrics.
Those two factors makes it a better song.
Beat: 4.5/5 - Lyrics: 4/5

Overall - This is called a classic album from what I've heard from most sources.
That is certainly right. The total abscence of any wack tracks, (albeit a few average ones)
and a shitload of dope ones like "Brooklyns Finest", "Dead Presidents II", "Feelin' It",
amongst other. Jay-Z's lyrics were astonishing thoughout the album, althrough they
regressed slightly on the last part of the album. It's depressing to see how his lyrical
skill has declined from this album to his latest, "The Blueprint". The album's musical
tunes were also awesome, some of the best beats ever were placed on this album. Ski
and DJ Premier impresses thoughout. However, I can't tell a lie and say that "Ain't No Nigga",
"Friend Or Foe" and "Cashmere Thoughts" were above average tracks. They're good, alright, but
doesn't uphold the standards of the rest of the album. Anyway, this is a
classic album, one you should definetly have in your collection. If you don't, buy it
now. All hip-hop heads should own, or at least have heard this album.
My rating is:

Music: 8/10 - Lyrics: 8.5/10
Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt - 8.5/10
Title: Re: Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
Post by: KVB on February 03, 2002, 07:48:42 AM
Upping... this review must come to light... comments welcome.
Title: Re: Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
Post by: HNIC on February 04, 2002, 02:01:16 AM
in my top 5 albums list of all time.

great review. my best track is 'can i live'.