THE BLACK AL­BUM

Q (UK) - - Q Review Reissues -

Jay’s eighth al­bum in as many years (“There’s never been a nigga this good for this long”) wasn’t his big­gest al­bum but it feels like it was be­cause his phony “re­tire­ment” and his new re­la­tion­ship with Bey­oncé turned it into a cul­tural event. Min­gling tri­umph with el­egy, his “vic­tory lap” was an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal block­buster that summed up his jour­ney “from Marcy to Madi­son Square” by describing the pain as well as the glory. From the sam­ple of Rus­sell Crowe in Gla­di­a­tor on What More Can I Say to the pul­veris­ing, Rick Ru­bin­pro­duced rock-rap throw­back 99 Prob­lems, his ar­ro­gance is ex­hil­a­rat­ing. He even quotes Julius Cae­sar on Encore: “I came, I saw, I con­quered.” It isn’t hubris if it works.

Lis­ten To: 99 Prob­lems

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