Q (UK) - - Q Review Reissues -

Jay-Z com­pared the stu­dio to “a psy­chi­a­trist’s couch” while mak­ing the al­bum that he still con­sid­ers his best. Al­ready a rel­a­tively an­cient 26, he had been plot­ting his de­but dur­ing his long years in the crack game and wanted to rep­re­sent the hus­tler mind­set, not just the life­style. The ti­tle twists a le­gal phrase into an ex­pres­sion of the fear and re­gret that lurked be­neath the ice-cold swag­ger. Rid­ing crisp, hard beats from pro­duc­ers such as DJ Premier and Clark Kent, he man­aged to sound ut­terly com­mand­ing yet also vul­ner­a­ble and lonely, mak­ing this a clas­sic East Coast de­but to file along­side Ill­matic and Ready To Die. The No­to­ri­ous BIG guests on Brook­lyn’s Finest, an un­re­peat­able en­counter be­tween two New York leg­ends.

Lis­ten To: Dead Pres­i­dents II

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