Girls Like Us! Season 2: Girls Like Us 2.0! The Hustle! The Game
Jay is nervous, unsure, maybe even neurotic — a type of vulnerability previously unseen, a tip of the transparency iceberg that was to come. The Marcy lyricists narrate scenarios that prove in the streets, wolves can take on many different forms. While Kanye rotates women and extols the merits of birth-control pills, Jay gives all glory to Gloria Carter, his mom. But the track is heavy-handed in its execution, an approach that Jay reveals was intentional in his book, Decoded.
Girls Like Us! Season 2
The trio brings exactly that over this bouncy Rick Rock production — the best example of their gratifying synergy. But as his storied career proves, he could never definitively say good-bye to music. Jay-Z preys on cultural stereotypes to describe his many women and — perhaps most shamefully — reveals himself to be a viewer of sophomoric comedy flick Deuce Bigalow.
Still, the chipmunked Tom Brock sample is undeniable. Jay singles out his ego, separating himself from the persona that led him to shoot his own brother as a young teen, or cheat on his wife. Simpson as a worst-case scenario. Jay pays it forward, urging listeners to strive for investment, ownership, and wealth that can be passed down to descendants. But producer B-Money helped make a solid first impression by hooking up an alluring clarinet melody that could charm a cobra. Hov slithers about, lamenting the plummeting stock of rap lyricism. Is he full of shit?
Who knows. Jay had a pimp name and persona — Cashmere Jones — that he employs here, setting out to drop the slickest rhymes he could think of. Either way, this is another masterful pairing with the great Frank Ocean. Blue Ivy is gonna be. His skill is undeniable here, as he raps about his need for money by any means, seemingly not yet percent sold on rap as a full-time hustle. This Black Album adieu sounds like a tropical vacation, with dancing strings that Jay skips across in double-time.
The spoken outro may or may not have inspired Kanye to rant at the end of The College Dropout. But the way he puts his words together is so irresistible — at one point Jay mouths the sound of a money counter, hitting each syllable like a stone skipping across a lake. The bulk of the action takes place in their minds, building up with suspense and ending in reality — a promising musical career for Bleek.
Jay leads the way here, though, spitting the type of one-liners that might dominate your Twitter feed had this song dropped today. The beat, which sounds like a monophonic 8-bit ringtone, burrows its way into your brain — these days, it evokes the earlys perfectly. His moratorium was issued over an insane guitar-and-brass medley that was just begging to be sampled.
But this Roc classic is most significant for introducing the world to Freeway. His elevated vocal pitch is sui generis. Every verse here deserves a flame emoji — but leaving it at that is no fun. Propelled by an urgent bass line, Kanye and Jay-Z offer strikingly different musings on religion. Jay contemplates ancient Socratic philosophy, while Kanye praises polygamy, cocaine, and Red Bull. Frank Ocean ties it all together by singing a string of rhetorical questions, but sounds great nonetheless. He does a convincing job. A jubilant anthem, perfect for toasting to advancement, comradery, or prosperity, and then getting wasted at the bar with friends.
Whereas the original is sonically rougher around the edges, this Jaz-O-helmed revamp, with its pretty chimes and Soul II Soul sample, feels musically polished. Boy, was he right. No one quite anticipated that the first release from Watch the Throne would be helmed by the newbie producer who had been creating trunk-rattlers for Rick Ross and Waka Flocka Flame. If the Throne set out to make a statement, well, mission accomplished. The year-old was killed in a car accident while driving the Chrysler that Jay bought him.
But he finds solace in the fact that his nephew — who Jay has periodically rapped about over the course of his career — was expecting a child. The same track finds Hov tackling his fallout with Damon Dash and addressing a seemingly failed relationship, supposedly with actress Rosario Dawson. Carter : Fresh off of the quintuple-platinum success of his best-selling album, Vol. It was the first time Jay-Z truly opened up his closet for the world to see his skeletons.
Puff Daddy suggested an evolved stage of personal development every time he switched up his aliases; Jay-Z accomplished the same by buying a new wardrobe and then rapping about it. The distorted Nina Simone sample adds a mystical feel. Contrived as it was, the analogy is ingenious. Beanie Sigel drops one of his finest verses, portraying the dangerous nightclub junction where both bottles and guns might pop. The song — completely penned by Jay — positions Hov as an OG seeking a hustler apprentice. His honesty is touching — how are you supposed to react to the loss of someone you barely knew, whose DNA comprises half of your own?
You can just hear the vulnerability. Beanie Sigel is audibly in tears. At times, Jay-Z raps through clenched teeth. A harrowing Camilo Sesto sample sets the mood as the two rappers unload years of hurt, using their platform to chew out absentee fathers. The quintessential Jay and Kanye collaboration. The two emcees take turns making claims that might sound ridiculous being spat by anyone else, upping the ante with every line.
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Jay has two Rolex watches; Kanye has three Benzes. Hov can buy political asylum; Kanye is protected from eternal damnation. Here, he gets a bit more personal, using tension brilliantly throughout. In one verse, Jay has a conversation with a deceased friend; in another, he recalls coming this close to being busted in a sting operation. Things reportedly got tense; the winner of the face-off varies based on who you ask. Jay was all about flossing, but had the ear of the streets as well. The result: A hard-knock anthem that set the stage for two once-in-a-generation rappers to rule hip-hop for years to come.
This standout from Vol. The awesome instrumental is the product of a friendly in-studio beat battle with Kanye West. According to Damon Dash, Jay was hesitant to rap over the beat. All these years later, the question is still up for debate. Both the lyrics and monstrous bass line will shake you to your core, as Jay portrays the lives of shooters, pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, ballers, rappers, and trigger-happy police officers — a far cry from the gentrified Brooklyn blocks that exist in the area present day.
Kanye West chopped up a crazy sample from the Doors — taming the unruly guitar strings — and got the hell out of the way. The gloves are off, and Jay taught a new generation how to pick apart an enemy. Okay, no, this is the quintessential Jay and Kanye collaboration. The title in itself is radical, a dissonance inspired by attending the most exclusive Parisian fashion shows while listening to Young Jeezy. Hit-Boy instantly became a go-to producer after lacing these hypnotic synths that give way to explosive drums.
This is the darkest moment on an album full of green-splattered fantasy and criminal atrocity. Over a solemn DJ Premier instrumental, Jay-Z depicts the evil that can possess those who live in poverty, creating monsters who are driven by greed and a craving for power. Jay says he dreamt the first bars of this song, but verse two is more like a nightmare: He imagines a tale of treachery in which he turns on a childhood friend, kidnapping and bribing the mother of his child, and implying their impending demises.
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- Girls Like Us 2.0! The Hustle! The Game!.
Ski sped up that melody, threw some drums beneath, and a classic Nas vocal chop on top to create the soundscape for Jay to revel in the highs and lows of hustling. Both versions feature the same beat — the sequel is merely a means to update the superior original — and a total of five thoughtful verses from Jay that still stand as some of his most cunning lyricism. The sentiment of this timeless smash hit came from a party thrown by Kimora Lee Simmons. Jay remembered seeing Mary J. Jay took that dramatic melody and ran with it.
His first verse is all spelled-out flows, declarative bravado, and sneaky puns. She questioned the contradiction of Jay wearing a diamond necklace over a T-shirt depicting Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, before handing him an acerbic critical essay that she wrote about his past music. Ultimately, the track is a Jay-Z mission statement that also happens to be one of the most memorable songs of his career.
Nice Guy. You can hear each verse upping the ante for the next. Real heartache. AMC Wed. E Wed.
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