Tag Archives: jay z

My Mixtape Monday – The Best of Jay-Z Studio Albums

It’s been twenty years since the release of Jay-Z’s album Reasonable Doubt. Since that seminal debut, he has put out a total of a dozen studio albums. Showcasing an unparalleled mix of radio hits, vivid storytelling and straight-up ignorant sh*t, his career catalog ends all debate over the question “Who’s the best emcee – Biggie, Jay-Z or Nas?”. It’s Hovi baby!

Below are my picks for the standout tracks from each album, along with some of his more unforgettable lyrics. I’ve also included bonus songs from his two collaborative albums – The Best of Both Worlds w/R. Kelly (2002) and Watch the Throne w/Kanye West (2011).

Mixtape Name: Twelve Hot Albums Every Twenty Year Average

Side A

1) Dead Presidents II from Reasonable Doubt (1996)
2) Streets Is Watching from In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)
Look, if I shoot you, I’m brainless
But if you shoot me, then you’re famous – what’s a n*gga to do?
3) Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) from Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life (1998)
4) So Ghetto from Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)
You see I live for the love of the street
Rap to the ruggedest beats
Hall closet cluttered with heat
5) I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) from The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)
Both in the club, high, singing off key
“And I wish I never met her at all…”
6) Izzo (H.O.V.A.) from The Blueprint (2001)

Side B
7) Excuse Me Miss from The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse (2002)
8) 99 Problems from The Black Album (2003)
Rap critics that say he’s Money, Cash, Hoes
I’m from the hood, stupid! What type of facts are those?
9) Trouble from Kingdom Come (2006)
10) Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)… from American Gangster (2007)
11) D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) from The Blueprint 3 (2009)
12) Picasso Baby from Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013)
It ain’t hard to tell, I’m the new Jean-Michel
Surrounded by Warhols, my whole team ball

Bonus Tracks: The Streets, Murder to Excellence

Apple Music Link: Twelve Hot Albums Every Twenty Year Average

BestOfMyMixtapes

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Songs of the Weekend – Drunk in Love (Remix) by Beyonce feat. Kanye West and Jay-Z

Drunk in Love was already a highlight of Beyoncé’s self-titled 2013 album. The addition of Kanye West to the remix ratchets up the sexuality even further as he gets downright nasty in a lust letter to his fiancé Kim Kardashian.

You will never need another lover
Cause you a milf and I’m a motherf*cker
Told you give the drummer some, now the drummer commin’
I’m pa rum pa pum pumin’ all on your stomach
Tonight I see some super freaky hoes
That could go from being a stripper to a super C.E.O
I don’t know the way you do it, but you do it to me though
And you always told your girlfriends you need you a TV show
Now you got your own money, you don’t need nobody else
But far as handlin’ all that ass, I think you gon’ need some help
Let me remind you, you got a, you got a great future behind you
You gotta tell me what we tryna do
I ain’t no pastor, don’t do missionary
I know good p*ssy when I see it, I’m a visionary
I know them haters talkin’, always had us very wary
On the 35th of Nevuary
You love the way I’m turnt
After all the money you earned, still show daddy what you learned
That cowgirl, you reverse that cowgirl
You reverse, you reverse, and I impregnated your mouth, girl, ooooh
That’s when I knew you could be my spouse, girl
We f*ckin’ all over the house, girl, we just messed up a brand new couch, girl
You ain’t on site then you on Skype
I put you on that bike, you bound, girl
We too wild, won’t turn down
We drunk in love, f*ck them

Beyoncé takes it from there and proceeds to ride her vocal surfbort all over the pulsating, synthesized beat. Her husband Jay-Z slightly underwhelms with his song-closing verse, but it would be hard for anyone to follow Ye and Bey’s graphic TMI-performances. Perfect for your R-Rated playlists.

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My Mixtape Mondays – December 23, 2013

I don’t really enjoy embarking on long road trips by myself. After a couple hours, I inexplicitly get both extremely fidgety and exhaustingly sleepy. Over the years I’ve found that the only thing that manages to keep me awake through the monotonous mile-munching (other than chain-smoking Marlboros) is listening to good music at an extremely high volume.

Thankfully I don’t have any lengthy solo trips on the holiday season horizon. However, I do know someone who does – Santa Claus. That dude has to visit the house of every child in the world* on Christmas Eve with his only companion being a constant stream of reindeer farts.

I put together the below playlist to help make his voyage a little more enjoyable as he makes his way across the freezing winter skies. Spoiler Alert – it contains a heavy dose of Nate Dogg.

* Excluding naughty kids, Jewish kids and poor kids.

Mixtape Name: Santa Style

Side A
1) Can’t Deny It by Fabolous feat. Nate Dogg
2) Down In It by Nine Inch Nails
3) Royals by Lorde
4) Regulate by Warren G. feat. Nate Dogg
5) The Motto by Drake feat. Lil’ Wayne
6) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Jimmy Boyd

Side B
7) Drive Slow (Remix) by Kanye West feat. GLC, Paul Wall and T.I.
8) Area Codes by Ludacris feat. Nate Dogg
9) Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins
10) Numb/Encore by Linkin Park feat. Jay-Z
11) Till I Collapse by Eminem feat. Nate Dogg
12) Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt

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My Mixtape Mondays – November 25, 2013

First Name: Sean
Twitter: @seansramblings (or my blog Sean’s Ramblings)
Sex: Male
Age: 38

Occupation: Surprisingly, nothing to do with music.

Mixtape Name: Stuck at 16

Side A
1) It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
2) Jump Around by House of Pain
3) Bust a Move by Young MC
4) Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot
5) The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground
6) Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite
7) Crazy In Love by Beyoncé ft Jay-Z
8) Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger
9) Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by C&C Music Factory
10) Mambo #5 by Lou Bega
11) Black & Yellow by Wiz Khalifa

Side B
12) Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite by The Spaniels

Liner Notes: My mix is designed to pump you up. These are songs that make you happy to hear and is perfect for a drive or to work out. Of course, most of these songs are from my junior high and high school years. Apparently, I haven’t picked up many songs over the past 15 years. Side B consists of one song that I sing to my son every night. It just had nothing to do with the others so it got its own side.

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Songs of the Weekend – Somewhereinamerica by Jay-Z

Over a tremendous beat festooned with a Thrift Shop-esque trombone loop and weighty piano keys, Jay Z delivers thirty-two bars of classic braggadocio.

Shout out to old Jews and old rules
New blacks with new stacks
I already been the king
Retro act, I’m just bringing it back like Jordan Packs
New money, they looking down on me
Blue bloods they trying to clown on me
You can turn up your nose high society
Never gone turn down the homie
Knock knock I’m at your neighbor house
Straight cash I bought ya neighbor out
You should come to the housewarming
Come and see what your new neighbor ‘bout
Yellow Lambo in the driveway
A buck thirty-five, I’m on the highway
Frank Sinatra on my Sonos
Loud as f*ck, I did it my way
A million sold before the album dropped
White Lexus before I had a deal
Ask Bun B about me
This ain’t no snap back, a n*gga been trill
By the way, f*ck your math
You ain’t gotta count it my n*gga I can add
1 million, 2 million, 3 million, 20 million
Oh, I’m so good at math
Might crash ya Internet
And I ain’t even into that
When I was talking Instagram
Last thing you wanted was your picture snapped
Feds still lurking
They see I’m still putting work in
Cause somewhere in America
Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’

Jigga’s lyrics mine the usual topics – material wealth, (upper) class stratification and past unlawful transgressions – but his brash delivery and clever references keeps it fresh despite the rote ingredients. Highly recommended for your Summer Twerkin’ playlist.

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Songs of the Weekend – Murder to Excellence by Jay-Z and Kanye West

On Murder to Excellence, Jay-Z and Kanye West aim to address significant subjects such as inner-city violence and other challenges to African-American prosperity.  The brilliant music serves as a powerful backdrop to the emotional lyrics by combining acoustic guitar, chanting and congo drums along with the always-soulful John Legend on chorus duty. The beat switches up for the last verse into an even darker sound with the percussion becoming more pronounced and the words now focusing on the ideas of success attained after surviving the plight of streets.

Black excellence, opulence, decadence
Tuxes next to the president, I’m present
I dress in Dries and other boutique stores in Paris
In sheepskin coats, I silence the lambs
Do you know who I am, Clarice?
No cheap cologne whenever I “shh-shh”
Success never smelled so sweet
I stink of success, the new black elite
They say my Black Card bears the mark of the beast
I repeat: my religion is the beat
My verse is like church, my Jesus piece

This song is able to convey a meaning and sentiment without getting preachy and is one of the many highlights from Watch the Throne.

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Pittsburgh Weekend Activities – November 23

I always looked forward to Thanksgiving when I was in college.  The Wednesday night before was always a great opportunity to head down to the Southside bars and meet up with high-school friends that were matriculating out-of-town.  Thanksgiving day itself then meant dragging myself out of bed at noon to be carted to my grandparents for dinner.  My hangover would eventually subside after ingesting copious amounts of turkey, tacos*, and pumpkin pie.  I would build up enough energy by the time evening came around to then head out to the bars again with my friends.  Now that I’m older and married the holidays aren’t so closely associated with bar-hopping, though the booze does flow liberally at my in-laws.

If you want to start your holiday off with a healthy activity, head downtown for the 21st Annual YMCA Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K.  This flat course starts near PNC Park and then heads across the Clemente Bridge for a quick out-and-back.  The weather will be getting very cold soon so this will be one of the last chances to get a great city run in before the ground is covered in snow and slush.  The most entertaining way to end your long holiday weekend is to catch Jay-Z and Kayne West in their Watch the Throne tour at the Consol Energy Center.  Though I am a huge hip-hop fan, I have always believed that this type of music typically translates to a poor live experience**.  However this event is not your standard rap concert since it teams-up two of the most important musical artists, not just rappers, of the last fifteen years.  Reviews have been great thus far so there’s little doubt that they won’t deliver an amazing success.

Disirregardless*** of what you do, have wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family!!!


* My grandmother is Mexican so she works tacos into almost every holiday meal whether it makes sense or not.

** Though it wasn’t a great performance, I’m always excited to brag about seeing the Notorious B.I.G. at the Civic Arena back in 1997 shortly before he was murdered.  The Luniz opened the concert that night, and part of their stage show involved passing around a gigantic paper mache blunt prop.  At least I think it was a prop.

*** If people can frequently use the word irregardless despite it being blatantly incorrect, I figured I could take it a step further and add the prefix dis-.  After my word catches on, I’m already planning to take it next level by adding un- and making it undisirregardless.  That’s a Scrabble 20-pointer!

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Songs of the Weekend – N****s in Paris by Jay-Z & Kanye West

We’re gonna skate to one song, and one song only

A Will Ferrell quote from Blades of Glory is the first thing you hear on this song before a Jay-Z line is screwed into the beat.  A simple keyboard line and constant snare are the backdrop for Jay-Z and Yeezy to go hard in the paint starting with great lyrics from Jay:

So I ball so hard muhf*ckers wanna fine me
But first n****s gotta find me
What’s 50 grand to a muhf*cker like me
Can you please remind me?
Ball so hard, this sh*t crazy
Y’all don’t know that don’t sh*t phase me
The Nets could go 0-82
And I look at you like this sh*t gravy

Elsewhere on the Watch the Throne album Jay elaborates on the emptiness of fame and money but not on this joint.  This is straight big pimpin’ from the big homie and when he’s at his best, much like “Jackson, Tyson, Jordan” there isn’t another rapper that does it better.

Yeezy isn’t in the mood for modesty either.  Being the single one of the pair his lyrics concentrate on the companionship opportunities that come along with their celebrity status:

Bougie girl, grab her hand
F*ck that b*tch, she don’t wanna dance
Excuse my French but I’m in France, I’m just sayin’
Prince William ain’t do it right if you ask me
‘Cause if I was him I would have married Kate & Ashley

This is my favorite song on Watch the Throne and adds another banger to both Jay-Z and Kanye’s extensive catalogs of good music.  Enjoy!

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