Who's The Best MC? Biggie, Jay Z or Nas...#2

Posted On Monday, January 28, 2013

With my #2 pick on my top 20 MC’s EVER list is Mr. Sean Carter. And to be honest, I don’t even like Jay Z. Let me explain that last comment a little better. When Jay first came on the scene I thought he was wack. And now in 2012, I think Jay is wack. It’s just some of those years in between is where he earned this #2 spot. I first peeped Jay Z in Jaz’s video for “Hawaain Sophie” and I was like “who’s this wack n-gga?” Now, the Jay Z stans (and PLEASE don’t get it twisted cause at least 80% of cats who rock with Jay are “stans”…but more on that later) I know come at me with the “yo….it was a fun video. They were supposed to be in Hawaii.” And I’m always like “don’t insult my intelligence, n-gga I know they’re suppose to be in Hawaii. Money just looked wack.” It was Jay’s sunglasses and his lips and that’s all I saw. Money just looked corny. Then years later I see money again in Original Flavor’s video “Can I Get Open” and this time money opens his mouth and again…he’s wack. All that fast rapping and all of the diggedy stuff and I’m like “why is money allowed on video sets?” Then I peep his dolo video “I Can’t Get With That” and I’m like “Is this dude really trying to make the sound of a money machine? Wack ass n-gga.” I felt like Jay was those undercover cops who kept running up on Ace in “Paid In Full” trying to be down with him all acting like Joe Familiar and Ace was always on some “you AGAIN?” Now, fast forward a couple of years and my man Roots comes into the production studio at WEAA with this look on his face and a record in hand and plays it for me and my man Ray.

“While n-ggaz are shootin stupid,/I’m carefully plottin ways to make it rotten/well planned hitsuntil you’re long forgotten/Ya’ll n-ggaz that utilize my style don’t hurt me/cause on the low, halof of these rappin –ss n-ggaz wanna work for me.”

What the hell just happened? This dude ain’t rappin’ like a broke Das EFX no more? Wait, now this n-gga moves weight? Word? Aiight…I can’t front, money sounded dope. I don’t think there’s ever been another MC who went from my sh-t list to me checking for him like this. And then when I heard the remix to “In My Lifetime?” Maaaaan…and I thought the original was ill.

“It’s the thought of a ride that makes my eyes wide, I’m caught up/I’m trying to make all of my dreams materialize, so I sorta/ Say my goodbyes to the straight and narrow/I found a new route, you about to see my life change/I make the means justify the ends/I make the cream materialize keys to a benz, and so I’m rollin, for now, holdin down the fort, who’s controlling/The ground’s gotta blow ‘em, yep/yea’ll should’ve told ‘em/My first felony’s approachin/copped my first key, took a freeze, now I’m frozen.”

Yo…this CANNOT be the same dude right? How the hell did he get so nice? Hey, it didn’t matter to me cause now money was much more my speed. Then while I was working for Rap Sheets (remember the hip hop newspaper? Maybe not…) helping to put together their hip hop conference in D.C. in ’95, Prioirty Records had a showcase and I can’t remember everybody who performed but I do remember Heltah Skeltah and Jay Z were on the bill. And when I tell you that Jay RIPPED that stage to pieces that’s EXACTLY what happened. He ended his set with an acapella version of “Twenty Two Two’s” and I could now say I was a fan of dude. (again, a fan…FAR from a stan…but more on those cats later) And when his debut album “Reasonable Doubt” dropped it was 5 mics! No need to go into how ILL “Reasonable Doubt” was (and if you don’t know how ill it was…kill yourself) so let’s jump straight to the beginning of the ending for Jay Z in my eyes. Jay’s second album “In The Lifetime Vol. 1” dropped while I was living in Atlanta and I wish I could explain to ya’ll how hype I was to get this home to listen to it. And when I did listen to it I was left with a confused look on my face. The album was basically a half n half jawn. Half of the album was REAL dope (“Streets Is Watching”, “Friend or Foe 2”, “A Million and One Questions/Rhyme No More” , “Imaginary Players” and “Where I’m From”)  half of the album was REAL wack (“The City is Mine”, “Sunshine”, “I Know What Girls Like”) with some aiight jawns in between (“Rap Game, Crack Game”, “Face Off” and “You Must Love Me”) but this was NO WHERE near what I thought the follow up to “Reasonable Doubt” would be.

Then came that infamous Summer of 1998. I was hanging out with my dude Cool DJ Frank and some Polygram Record (they used to distribute Def Jam) reps I was cool with at Dave & Busters in Philly and my dude Mike slipped me a CD Single of Jay Z’s new single with Ja Rule (I had NO idea who that was) called “Can I Get A…” So even though Jay’s last album was just “good” in my eyes I KNEW this dude could still come with it. So again, I’m hype to get home to hear this jawn and when I did…I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what the hell I was listening to. I didn’t know who made this wack techno beat, I didn’t get the wack lyrics, I didn’t know who this broke DMX wanna be was…I just didn’t get it. But what I did get was Jay (along with the rest of the rap game) was biting BIG’s blueprint of making music. Make a song for the radio but also drop a song for the streets. The problem was (and still is) is that ONLY BIG could REALLY do it the way it’s suppose to be done. So, by this time I’m like “I’m done with Jay.” Then one day a minute later I’m chillin’ at my dude Shadi Luqman’s studio and he plays me this new Jay Z song called “Hard Knock Life.” And this was waaaaaay before it actually dropped and I remember after hearing it I was going around pollying with people and if it fit the mood I’d say “it’s a hard knock life fam” and people would look at me sideways like “what?” Then it dropped and of course EVERYBODY was playing it NON STOP! EVERY car that passed was blasting it, it was ALWAYS on the radio…it basically was the anthem for that summer.

Then came the infamous “Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life” album that split the hip hop universe down the middle. What I mean by that is before that album dropped 90% of the hip hop universe agreed on damn near everything that was hip hop. But with THIS album right here, the universe was split. Me, Sha and Beezo were like this album was wack while our dude Roots was saying how crazy the album was. And this is what started the crack in the fault line in hip hop. I remember riding with my dude Osei in his brother Cha's whip with these shorties and they were blasting the album and everybody but me was enjoying it! I was stuck like “how can ya’ll like this? Can ya’ll throw on some hip hop?” And THAT was an ill statement to me…we’re listening to Jay Z, and I say “can ya’ll throw on some hip hop?” And guess what they threw on? Ghostface’s “Ironman” album so my peoples knew EXACTLY what I meant. Needless to say I HATE that album. Outside of the intro Primo did with Bleek rhyming on it and “Hard Knock Life” I don’t listen to ish on that album. Now after this album, I’ve officially written Jay off. (Was this the 2nd or 3rd time I was done with Jay? I can’t keep up) Jay’s next album “The Life and Times of Shawn Carter” was wack. The Primo banger “So Ghetto” was ill and “Throw Your Hands Up” was aiight…”Big Pimpin” did what it did. But I’ll ask ANY Jay “stan” name me 6 songs on that album outside the 3 I just named and I bet money they can’t which should tell you how wack that album was. I’ve never even heard the entire “Roc La Familiar” album…didn’t even feel like wasting my time.

Then came the infamous phone call that came in 2001 from my dude Jas. He hit me to tell me Jay Z was back. And I’m like “yeah right” and he’s like “naw, you gotta hear his new album.” Now I had been very adamant about Jay not getting another dollar outta me but me and Jas agree on about 90% of music so I’ll bite. It was crazy cause as soon as we got off the phone, I turn on the radio and they’re playing “Girls Girls Girls” and I’m like “damn, Jas might be right.” I was so hype that I brought the album from Borders! (and ya’ll know Borders got those 1990 CD prices like $17.99) and “The Blueprint” probably  didn't leave the whip for at least two months and I FINALLY got Jay’s 2nd 5 mic album. Do I really need to go into how dope “The Blueprint” was? Didn’t think so. But just like with Nas and every other MC who wants their names mentioned amongst the greats, here comes the dreaded double CD “The Blueprint 2” which was just like damn near every other double CD. Which basically means if you took all the good songs and put them on 1 CD it would’ve been another dope album in his chamber (not a classic cause none of the dope songs were THAT great) But as soon as I’m about to put Jay back on my sh-t list this dude redeems himself with “The Black Album” (not quite 5 mics in my book but it’s a STRONG 4) but then he flips back to my sh-t list Jay with the HORRIBLE “Kingdom Come” album. So around this time I decide to write Jay off AGAIN. Then I think Jay retired for like the 12th time and then eventually I start hearing rumblings about him making another album and I get a flashback to when I first heard Jay 10+ years ago like "why?!?!?!? Can’t you just stop rapping?!?!?!" But then I hear that it was gonna be a concept album based off of Denzel’s new movie “American Gangster.” So you’re telling me that Jay Z is gonna be rhyming about selling drugs again? Oh, then I’m all in with that! And with “American Gangster” I got my 3rd favorite Jay Z album. But this time I don’t get too excited cause I see there’s a “LL Cool J Pattern” going on right now, with only every other album being dope. So if my philosophy is correct then this “Blueprint 3” album should be trash and damn it I’m good…cause the album was trash.

Now let me break down some of my philosophies on Jay Z cause I got a TON of ‘em. #1, I feel like Jay has always been the type of MC who plays to the level of his competition. When Jay first dropped (I’m talking about “Reasonable Doubt” not that “I Can’t Get With That” hoopla) he KNEW he had to come correct. Biggie was king, Nas was in the mix, west coast dudes was loving Pac and that’s exactly what he did…he came with his A game. But once Biggie and Pac died and Nas kinda fell back, it’s like money started getting lazy. That is 'til Nas lit that fire up under him and we get “The Blueprint.” And he must’ve still had that Nas fire under him when he did “The Black Album.” But once that died down here comes Jay with that wack ass “Kingdom Come” and “Blueprint 3.” See, once the Nas stuff blew over this dude had no real comp. Cam and ‘em were firing shots but Jay ain’t even reply. In fact a lot of dudes were firing shots but to me none of ‘em were on Jay’s level. So Jay turns out to be the dude who’s like the 72 wins Bulls squad who ends up losing a couple of games they should’ve won but guess what? They saw the Clippers were on the schedule, stayed out a little late, gambled a lil too much, spent a lil too much time making in rain in the strip club and what happens? You lose to a sub par team that you should’ve beat. And the ONLY reason why “American Gangster” was dope was for two key reasons. Number one, Jay got with some HUNGRY producers who brought that heat and number two, Jay was given the green light to rhyme about drugs again which is Jay at his best. Yeah, he can make club bangers, summer anthems, etc but to me Jay’s TRULY in his zone talking about the street life. But because he’s rich and married to B, we all know he an’t in the streets no more so it would be wack if he rapped about that but that’s when we’ll always get Jay at his best. Which leads me to the other chink in the armor because at this point in the game, Jay has absolutely NOTHING of any interest to rhyme about anymore. So in my opinion we won’t EVER get another focused Jay.

#2, Jay inherited BIG’s entire fan base when BIG died. I get into this debate ALL of the time and Jay stans LOVE to tell me that it was the song “Hard Knock Life” that pushed Jay from selling 500,000 record and going gold to selling 5 million records and that’s the BIGGEST load of B.S. I’ve ever heard. Let’s get this straight ya’ll…there’s 1 top spot and that’s it. When Iverson and Marbury were getting drafted in the ’96 NBA draft there was only 1 spot and Iverson got it. They were too similar. Two cats both from the hood, both had the hip hop swag, both played point but again, there’s ONLY one spot…and Iverson got it. My wife asked me the other day, “what happened to Ciara?” I told her “Keri Hilson took her spot.” Somebody once asked me a couple of years ago, “what happened to Usher?” And I told ‘em “Chris Brown took his spot.” (that is til he beat Rihanna and then Usher took the spot back…but then Chris took it back…and then I think they made a scout’s owner pledge for Usher to do pop music and Chirs could have R&B) So, while BIG was alive, the public CLEARLY made their choice on who they were rolling with and it was a landslide win for BIG. Which is why BIG was multiplatinum and Jay was struggling to sell 500,000. Then the Jay stans like to come with the “well, you think rolling with Puff ain’t help BIG?” And to be honest, I’m sure it did. But the 5 mil who supported BIG could’ve turned right back around and supported Jay…but they didn’t. Why you ask? Because there’s ONLY one freaking spot and BIG owned it. Then once BIG died everyone said “I guess we gotta roll with Jay and that’s what they did. But trust and believe that if Mr. Christopher Wallace was still alive, Jay wouldn’t be the Jay ya’ll all know and love. But this really ain’t the time or place for me to point out Jay's faults cause this is suppose to be about biggin’ him up. So just like with most MC’s Jay’s had his fair share of bricks but again those bricks won’t ever be able to change how nice Jay was (when he’s focused) and what he’s done for the game. Salute.

My Favorite Jay Z Verse:
"I want money like Cosby who wouldn't
It's this kind of talk that make me think
You probably ain't got no pudding
N-ggas got them kinda dreams from jail
You in the streets n-gga
Make your move get your get your mail
N-ggas are coastin' the S.L. but can't post bail
N-ggas are roast the L
But scared to throw your toast well
I am here to tell n-ggas it ain't all swell
There's heaven then there's hell n-ggas
One day your cruisin' in ya seven
Next day your sweatin' forgetin' your lies
Alibis ain't matchin' up, bullsh-t catchin' up
Hit with the rico, they repo your vehicle
Everything was all good just a week ago
Bout to start b-tchin' ain't you
Ready to start snitchin' ain't you
I forgive your weak ass hustlin' just ain't you
Aside from the fast cars
Hunnies that shake they ass at bars
You know you wouldn't be involved
With the underworld dealers, carriers and mac-miller's
East-coast bodiers, west-coast cap peelers
Little monkey niggas turn gorilla's
Stopped in the station filled up on noctane
And now they not sane, and not playin'
That goes without sayin'
Slangin' day in and day out
With money playin' then they play you out
Tryin' to escape my own mind
Lurkin' the enemy representin' infinite
With presidencies you know"

"Dead Presidents" - Jay Z

1 comment

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