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JAY-Z’s Reasonable Suspicion 25: A gorgeous and gritty portrait of a relentless sawn

IIn 1996, hip-hop was a fascinating cultural force that decided to overtake the founders of the 1970s as the “golden age” of the genre. Where Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy and others defined the first musical evolution, Snoop Dogg (Doggystyle), Nas (Illmatic), Notorious BIG (Ready to die) And Wu-Tang Clan (Enter Utan [36 Chambers]) Dominates the second and arrives explosively on their debut album. Meanwhile, Mobb Deep (Notorious) And Fugees (Score) Incredible follow-up to the first project added to their value.

However, in the midst of this fiercely competitive renaissance, a young MC who succeeded in changing the game with his own image stood up. June 25, 1996, JAY-Z release Reasonable doubtA glimpse of the legend he will be, the first-and the best, as many claim. Its status is indisputable. A classic LP that provided screenshots of the Hustler mindset that shaped Jay, the guy, and the rapper.

When its debut album turns 25 this week, a new five-part original audio series will be released. Breaking Atoms: Hip Hop PodcastBrooklyn’s finestOrganized by hip-hop commentators Smit Sharma and Chris Mitchell, ”records the path Jay took to build it. Talk to the key people in the rapper camp of the time, laying out the album’s legacy and drawing vibrant pictures of his relentless grind.

Before marrying Beyonce, closing a multi-million dollar deal with the NFL, and leading the support for prison reform, JAY-Z was just a precocious, self-sufficient young man who was trying to get attention. Raised in Brooklyn’s Mercy Housing Project New YorkHis rise to masculinity was in line with the city’s crack cocaine epidemic. Born as Sean Carter in this pressure cooker environment, Jay turned to selling drugs at the age of thirteen.

But his musical talent was not overlooked. In 1986, as part of a rap group called High Potent with Mercy’s fellow MC and mentor Jaz-O, Jay-Z gained his first fame with the group single “HP Get’s Busy.” They cooperated even when they did a solo track: Jazz featured Jay in his minor hit “Hawaiian Sophie” in 1989. A flow that will be a tired metaphor in the game a few years later. But that promise was clear, and his popularity with jazz grew as a result of rocking live shows throughout Brooklyn and building their legend on the streets. “We were doing something in the neighborhood that no one was doing at the time,” says Jaz-O. Broken atom..

Having refined his skills with guest features and “poscuts” throughout New York in the early 1990s, Jay was connected to DJ Clark Kent, an industry figure with a strong belief in his skills, for Jay to record. I built a studio at home in New York. .. Clark Kent’s importance in Jay’s early stories should not be underestimated. It was through him that Jay met Damon Dash and Kareem “Bigs” Burke, future business partners and co-founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, a label that releases Jay’s albums until 2013. I thought jazz was the worst MC I’ve ever heard, “Kent said. Broken atom.. “But when I went to Mercy to meet Jay and he rapped in front of me, I knew this guy was that. When I got my first A & R job at Atlantic Records, 2 He said he wanted to sign Jaz and Jay-Z on the day. “

Jay never signed to Atlantic and eventually used his friendship with Dash and Burke to form his now legendary label, Roc-A-Fella, in 1995.Manhattan Studio – Where Nas Recorded Illmatic – To put what will be Reasonable doubt.. When Jaz-O, Clark Kent, and music producer Ski Beatz were by his side, the studio waxed his fascinating and gritty world and marked him as the finest and best limer in Debonair. It became a sanctuary.

Over 14 tracks, Jaz, Clark Kent, Ski Beatz, DJ Premier and Irv Gotti offer a number of boom-bop beats for rhythmic and danceable funk on “Can’t Knock the Hustle” and “Ain’t NoN * gga”. It extended to. Will be a rap soundtrack to the ominous “222wos” Rocky Horror Picture Show.. Meanwhile, the smooth horn-driven intro of the middle track “Can I Live” plays like the background music of a mafia meeting. Boombop was New York’s dominant soundscape, Reasonable doubt We’ve added luxury and unwavering grooves to that sound palette.

Meanwhile, the album’s credibility reigns supreme, enveloping Brooklyn’s neighborhood, surviving young African-American children, and turning them into food entrepreneurs who climb the socio-economic food chain. Seamlessly captured the work of. Rappers rarely captured this aspect of African-American life before Jay. the way. Companions like Nas were gritty about New York’s portrayals, and Snoop Dogg’s charisma and street knowledge shined on the west coast, but Jay was a fusion of both qualities.

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When Jay strapped his lyrical product to a rap game, John Gotti’s confident and proud wounds in his fight with his prime numbers. After glorifying the wealth of drug trafficking on “Feel in’It,” he pulled back the curtain on his next track, “D’Evils,” revealing betrayal and disloyalty that could form the backbone of such success. ..

“Reasonable doubt” was not an instant classic when it was first released

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A gathered, systematic tactician, Jay had to negotiate his own morals during his fame. He advised young people to take a similar route (“coming-of-age story”) along the way, guaranteeing a journey from the beginning (“can’t knock on the hustle”) to the end (“regret”).With storytelling similar to The Godfather Mario Puzo, Jay made the drug game sound like a fortress of sophistication and luxury. His clarity and intellect survived even the worst subjects.Hip-hop historian Dirt Adams brings quality to the album Broken atom: “If you read a noir crime novel written by someone who is not good at using prose, that is Reasonable doubt is. Jay has graced talking about fights, hardships, trying to survive, the shortcomings of success, and everyone else’s reaction to you. “

By the summer 1996 release Reasonable doubtAlthough popular, it wasn’t the instant classic that a quarter of hip-hop claims.In one review written by Charlie Braxton Source magazine – The Bible of Hip-Hop Journalism, famous for its 5 Mike rating system – rated only 4 out of 5 projects and stated:But what [Reasonable Doubt] What stands out here is the clever way [Jay-Z] Invert the lyrics. He flows like talking to you at a party or on the street. “

Reasonable doubt Initially struggling commercially, it continued to break above the Billboard Hot 100 chart and eventually peaked at number 23. Still, Jay decided to see his name everywhere, so the work wasn’t completed.Talk to Broken atomNick Raphael, along with Christian Tattersfield, signed a global distribution agreement with Jay in 1996 through London-based Northwest Side Records. GungHo’s succession of grassroots promotions leans out of the car handing the front logo, leaflets and CDs.

Meanwhile, Jay and Rock a Blow are using the services of the label’Street Team’, a network of promoters across the United States. Reasonable doubt After discussion, the unit shifted. A valuable member of the operation, Chejik Tsunoda, is painting on a podcast. “Whenever Jay was nearby to pay attention to him, I was screaming in the street with a picket sign. Before Jay got there, I drove across the country late at night to record stores. I remember going to. We went in there and did what we had to do [to spread the word]In that sense we were dirty. Here in the UK, broadcaster and music executive Pete Tong plays “I can’t knock on the hustle” on an influential BBC radio show, helping Jay grow in real time on this side of the Atlantic. I did.

It was this community spirit that made the people there mention Reasonable doubt As a “family album”, it has benefited not only from Jay’s efforts but also from the groups around him. “The album’s growth and success … everyone was part of it,” says Maria Davis, another podcast talking heads, music promoter and former host of the music show. Crazy wednesday The person introduced in the intro of “22 Two’s”. “Damon Dash was the real power behind it. He didn’t refuse the answer. He didn’t let anyone bang him. And [Roc-A-Fella] Going out and building your own label without knowing success [Reasonable Doubt] Will have “

This record has benefited from a joint effort led by JAY-Z.

(Getty Images)

Today, the old and new generations are aware of its classic status and are at the center of the conversation about the best rap album ever. Live long in the hearts and minds of those who were there and the fans it stimulated to lead a career as one of the largest exports in this genre and to provide a period of African-American experience. continue. “The whole album is one song and it’s an incredibly complete idea,” said Clark Kent. “When you hear Reasonable doubt, You understand why Jay is a millionaire: he had that Hustler idea from day one. It opened your eyes to someone you wouldn’t just have heard. But again, new listeners can find out how they came here today. “

The new audio series “Brooklyn’s Finest: The Making of Reasonable Doubt By Jay-Z” by the Breaking Atoms podcast Get out now

JAY-Z’s Reasonable Suspicion 25: A gorgeous and gritty portrait of a relentless sawn

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