Published Work

Chapter One - JayZ

He will never have as much charisma as Tupac and a voice as smooth as Notorious B.I.G.’s, but...

...the hardest critics will have to agree that Shawn Corey Carter from New York City has no one to touch his lyrical prowess.

Shawn more popularly known as Jay-Z has been churning records since the late 80’s and till date has collaborations with the likes of Notorious B.I.G. – who incidentally was a school mate – Puff Daddy, Lil’ Kim, Too Short, BLACKstreet and DJ Premier. This trend still shows, as he seems to be highly in demand as a guest artist. His interest in keeping the fans happy has resulted in him singing up at ballrooms and local clubs – where he actually feels the vibe – unlike the massive concert crowds that are so far away.

Chapter One is a thrilling look at Jay-Z’s earlier work. If you’re new to his music, you’ll like what you hear, while the veteran fans will add another well-assembled album to their collection. The first track ‘Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)’ is a radio-edit based around the chorus from the Broadway musical ‘Annie’. It was a little bizarre to hear a sample like that in a hip-hop track, but the single nevertheless catches you enjoying yourself. Popular on the radio frequencies nowadays is the second track titled – Wishing on a star – a very good mood setter that you’d recognise doing exactly as it says. The CD also carries three bonus track mixes guaranteed to get your neck to do the ducky movement. Feelin it mystifies you with a dash of piano before the warm voice of Mecca kicks in. The rest of the tracks keep up the mood and this is highlighted by the fact that the general monotone of a hip-hop album is broken by the clever use of voices from Foxy Brown, Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim, Mecca and Melissa Morgan.

The verdict stands out. Contrary to what regular hip-hop is loved for, this collection is sombre. Even then, it does boom over your music system, even without XBS. The reality is that if you pick up someone from New York City, you’ll know what they’d sing – it’s typical. But then Jay-Z isn’t any other typical guy. Over the last 5 years he’s been through all the moods that hip-hop could bring – tackling them head on – and getting better.

What is typical though is the fact that the cover of this album also has a small black-and-white logo warning you of ‘explicit lyrics’ – Go figure!