One day someone will curate a definitive double-disc set of Jay-Z’s greatest songs. Until then, this impressive detour from his comfort zone is preferable to any of the half-arsed hits compilations. Years before he matured into a formidable live act, Jay got together with The Roots at the MTV studios in New York for an intimate storyso-far set that highlighted his considerable charm and almost effortless virtuosity – he opens the show by jokingly welcoming the audience to his “poetry reading”. Plugs were in fact required but this is a backyard hootenanny compared to his glossy studio recordings, as The Roots cleverly re-imagine sample-based tracks with wit and warmth. Mary J Blige and Philly singer Jaguar Wright bring the soul.
Listen To: Song Cry