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1. Dana Owens Album
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2. Lost and Found
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3. Collision Course (W/Dvd) (Dig)
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4. The Black Album
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5. Life After Death
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6. Licensed to Ill
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7. Black Star
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8. New Danger
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9. The Score
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10. It Takes a Nation of Millions
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11. General Patton Vs the X-Ecutioners
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12. Paul's Boutique
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13. Beautiful Struggle
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14. The Blueprint
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15. Will Smith - Greatest Hits
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16. Tipping Point
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17. Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life
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18. The Low End Theory
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19. Reasonable Doubt
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20. All World-Greatest Hits

1. Dana Owens Album
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Asin: B0002XL1XU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 91
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Everyone grows up…even rappers. Pioneering female MC Queen Latifah shows a newfound level of maturity on The Dana Owens Album.A set of standards the rapper/actress decided to cover, the album features a host of jazz classics and R&B favorites.

Latifah is at her seductive best when playing the sultry siren on Al Green's "Simply Beautiful." With a little help from Green himself, Latifah's vocals slide over the warm, organ-drenched instrumental. The result is one that works today as well as it would have several years ago. Similarly, the big band-backed "Baby Get Lost" swings with bluesy groove that is pure nostalgia.

However, it's when Latifah mines more standard fare that the album seems to hita snag. Fans of James Moody's "Moody's Mood for Love" may want to skip Latifah's version as it misses the subtle perfection of the original. Her rendition of "I Put a Spell On You" doesn't falter, but it's not impressive either. It ends up being the kind of performance that finds you constantly waiting for more but never getting it. The same can be said for her cover of the Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'."

That said, with Latifah's recent critically acclaimed turn in the film Chicago the timing for this album couldn't have been better. And with help from legendary producer Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin), The Dana Owens Album is an interesting and impressive new chapter in the star's diverse career. --Rashaun Hall Exclusive
Hear an exclusive audio stream of Queen Latifah’s "What Is This Thing Called Love."

... Read more

2. Lost and Found
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Asin: B0007QS4IC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 250
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (127)

3-0 out of 5 stars Does Denzel rap? Does Morgan Freeman rap? Come on!!!!
Let me start by saying that I was a Will Smith fan from WAY back in HS/college days. "Summertime" and "Parents Just Don't Understand" are hip-hop/party legends.

But I tried listening to some of the samples from this new album. Here's my verdict: Will Smith is way too old and way too A-List for this; he clearly needs to give up rapping like Jerry Rice needs to give up football!!!!!

Will Smith is an Academy-caliber actor now and don't need to be foolin' with rhymin! You see, his name is being spoken of more and more in the same breath as the likes of Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, etc., and less and less with the Snoop Doggs of the world (and even Snoop can act a little bit.)

I did listen to part of "Switch" is OK, sorta kinda, but Will's whole shtick in the '80's and '90s was being the goofy geek dude next door (that's why I as a Black nerd liked his stuff as I could relate to it), but this trying to be all hardcore and stuff, sounding angry and defiant like other rappers and mimicing their styles, ain't cuttin' it. Will Smith does not strike me as angry and defiant - except in his "sci-fi hits".

Now, I'm a father myself and I do not like today's gangsta rap, but come on now, Will Smith is not my first choice as the alternative. I would rather direct serious hip-hop fans to people like Common, Kanye West or even KRS-One, who came on the scene about the same time as Will did - and is still defining the genre!!!!

Now I realize Will is a comedian (people were comparing him to Eddie Murphy), and I realize even back in the day, Will was more of a "fun" and "radio friendly" rapper rather than hardcore and underground, and I realize he knows people see him as a movie star but he wants to rhyme anyway because that's his roots. That having been said, I think I like my rappers to be real rappers. I listened to parts of the latest KRS-One and KRS just makes it sound so easy compared to Will.

Will Smith is an actor. He is a damn good comedic AND dramatic actor and there needs to be more Black actors who can be seen in the history of cinema as best of the best. Will Smith seriously needs to focus on getting his Oscar (and join the ranks of Denzel and Sidney Poitier - not bad company if you ask me!!!!) and leave the world of rap and hip-hop to the rappers.

It's like the way it was watching Eddie Murphy try to have a singing career. It makes one shudder.

1-0 out of 5 stars Better than a cure for AIDS? MTV says it is!

Ugh. Will Smith has lost whatever appeal he had a decade ago.

His peak was in 1996 when he let his Fresh Prince TV series become canceled in favor for starring in Independence Day. By 1997 he'd out with a comeback album (Big Willie Style) and the Men in Black movie. But two good singles and a pretty popcorn flick couldn't save his career after the awfulness that was Wild Wild West.

Seen the 'MTV in Africa' show that the channel did to "commemorate" (ahem *exploit*) the beautiful-but-troubled country of Africa? Instead of trying to raise money to eradicate the AIDS disease (which effects a whopping one out of four people in Africa), MTV sent Will Smith over there to perform such braindead songs as "Switch" and "Party Starter" to promote the new MTV channel that all the rich people in Africa are going to get. Are songs like "Party Starter" better than a cure for the rampant disease? MTV says so.

By the way, the title "Lost and Found" must allude to how Will has lost his creative identity and dignity, and has yet to find it again. In short, this album sucks, and so does the heartless marketing campaign behind it.

5-0 out of 5 stars lost and found-one of the best albums for 2005
when were bombarded with so much repetitiveness in pop music today, this album is a breath of fresh air. Switch, although hitting top ten in the states, is not even one of the albums best songs-just look at tell me why, party starter and lost and found. Worth purchasing.

5-0 out of 5 stars best will smith yet!
I am a HUGE Will Smith fan. I think he is talented, charming, funny, self-effacing and confident.I have most of his albums... and although I love them, I can admit that many of the songs sound alike, and many of the lyrics are similar.Not so with "Lost and Found."Will goes beyond his normal beats & phrases (tho he does throw in a number of "Mike Check"s!) and brings in lots of other sounds (like the strings on one track).His lyrics also have a depth to them that was lacking in his other albums, such as those in "Ms Holy Roller" -

"The greatest atrocities ever committed on this planet have been in the
name of God
This country was founded by Puritans, for the expressed purpose of
oppression-free worship"

and in "WHY" -

"souls are captured
Dreams are stolen, hearts are broken
Evil blatantly rewarded
Hate surrenders, Love exalted
Hope elated, negativity is shorted"

All I can say is "True Dat!"and BUY THIS CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Rap for the people who don't like Rap.
I'll admit it, I'm not a huge rap fan. I listened to Lifesavas and Blackalicious and that got me into it. Will Smith attracted me more to rap. Every song has excellent, listenable lyrics. This man has been doing it since before I was born, and he knows his stuff.

He's not kidding, and not exaggerating when he says that other rappers wouldn't be where they are without him.

Saying he's too old is a ridiculous and rude comment, and not to mention completely wrong. Will Smith makes every other rapper look bad, especially garbage like 50 cent and other "Semi-Annual-LP" rappers. ... Read more

3. Collision Course (W/Dvd) (Dig)
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Asin: B00069A6P4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 47
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The first question everyone asks about Collision Course is "Is this album more Jay-Z or Linkin Park?" The wrong answer is that it's Jay-Z with a loud band or a back-and-forth of covers where one rearranges the other. The right answer is that this CD/DVD set is quite possibly one of the best cross-genre pairings of its kind. What started off as an exercise at "mashing" a Linkin Park track with a Jay-Z track turned into a fantastic pickup game between two artists at the top of their worlds. Each brought a short list of their best songs to the field and walked away with a six-song trophy. This is recess in the supergroup sandbox, and the boys shared their toys. "Numb/Encore" and "Izzo/In the End" are near-perfect plays of seamless sonic moves and mic assists from heavy metal to hip-hop and back. Both artists have spent a little time in the other camp on various parts of their records, but it's the collaboration that makes this album a winner. It may be true that Linkin Park is less than convincing than J-Hova on "Big Pimpin'/Papercut," but there's no evidence of "I" on this team. In fact, the DVD clearly shows Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda taking on the role of head coach as he commands the digital workstation, the mixing desk, and all the players with a collective spirit. --Pete Hilgendorf

Recommended Jay-Z and Linkin Park

The Black Album

The Blueprint

Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter


Hybrid Theory


... Read more

4. The Black Album
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Asin: B0000DZFL0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 576
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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If The Black Album is truly Jay-Z's last statement before retirement, he at least goes out near the top of his game. While it probably won't be remembered as his best album, The Black Album is his most personal to date and features some of his most compelling writing. Jay-Z is defiant and defensive here--he's trying to make sure his legacy is properly acknowledged, although he can get a bit heavy-handed at times. Still, he's rarely been more incisive or insightful in his rhymes, exposing his own childhood struggles on songs like "December 4th" while slapping at his haters with "What More Can I Say" and the cutting "Threat." Longtime Jay-Z collaborators Just Blaze and Kanye West churn out outstanding production, especially Blaze, whose beats for "December 4th" and "Public Service Announcement" are among the album's best. Newcomers Aqua and the Buchanans represent well also but Eminem's minor-key drone for "Moment of Clarity" is mired in mediocrity. Jay might fade to black after this one but his last shot doesn't miss. --Oliver Wang ... Read more

Reviews (567)

4-0 out of 5 stars Grand Opening, Grand Closing
As his 7th album under his belt, CEO of Roc-A-Fella, and now actor, Jay-Z goes out as an MC in his prime. As a an artist's Swan song, he has put out a strong album that will leave its mark in stone long after radio airplay. The "Black Album" arguably may not be highly innovative in production or lyrically but it is definitely one of his best releases, if not his most personal. One has to agree, Carter is consistent with solid lyrics and flow on all 14 tracks.
On "What More Can I Say", he shines as an ever confident MC determined to make his last verses felt. The tracks "Moment Of Clarity" and "December 4th" get very personal about his life and problems with his father's drug addictions and death. The tracks "Encore", even samples jazz great John Holt, while the chorus goes "After me there will be no more". "99 Problems" a De La Soul "Lost my Wallet in El Segundo" storytelling rap over a a hard rock/rap sound very reminiscent of Run DMC. The only low point on the album is with the chorus of "Justify My Thug" (Yes..a reinterpretation of the Madonna song). Fortunately, Carter makes up for it with his rap, even getting vaguely political near the end of the song. But he never gets further than condemning liquor stores. By the end bluesy "My 1st Song" after Jay-Z hits the stop button in the studio, one can only hope that he will one day return to the mic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another legendary album from Jay
This cd is one of Jay-z's best. It is up at calibur with some of his previous best albums like Reasonable Doubt and Blueprint. He expresses his whole career from his childhood to present.

1. Interlude-I always skip it cuz its not a song
2. December 4th-5/5 Fantastic song overviewing his whole life
3. What more can I say- 4/5 A last song to all his haters
4. Encore-5/5 An awesome song produced by Kayne West(watch out for this kid
5. Change Clothes-5/5 Phat song, even better with an equalizer
6. Dirt off Your Shoulder- 5/5 Ill song to get you hyped up
7. Threat-5/5 Ill lyrics with vengence to his haters
8. Moment of Clarity-5/5 bout his father
9. 99 Problems- 5/5 Bout his problems throughout his carreer
10. Interlude2-5/5 Awesome lyrics, sounds like a freestyle
11.Justify my Thug-5/5 Bout honor and love
12.Lucifer-5/5 Favorite Song
13.Allure- 5/5 Also favorite song
14.My first song-4.5/5 Rather short

So this is one of his best albums. Its good that he went out with a good one. So any Jay-z fans out there, go out and get this cd! Even non-jayz fans will love this!

4-0 out of 5 stars Is This The End??? (4 Stars)
It's hard to rate an album like this. On one hand, I expected more from Jay. Especially since this is supposed to be his last album. I guess, like most people, I expected him to finish things with a bang. While this isn't a bad album, it's not a classic either. High points on the album come when he's backed by strong production. You can zone out to tracks like "Allure" while the drum arrangements on "Encore" (courtesy of Kanye West) are just plain sick. The first single "Change Clothes" is a bouncy track that you know is really formulaic, but you dance to it anyway. And the beat to "99 Problems" is about as good as it gets on this album in my opinion. And if there wasn't so much talking in between verses on "Threat", that song would be a classic. But it's still vintage Hova though. Meanwhile, there are a few shortcomings on the album. Tracks like "Justify My Thug" and "Moment Of Clarity" are skippable tracks that could've been left off the album and I don't think anyone would've ever noticed. But the negative aspects of the album end there. Overall, this is a good (not great) album from one of the best to ever do it. We all know that Shawn Carter isn't as sharp a lyricist as he was on Reasonable Doubt, but I'll take a declining Jay Z before I listen to a hot nobody any day.

Standout Tracks: Encore, My 1st Song, Public Service Announcement, What More Can I Say?, Allure, 99 Problems (My Favorite), Lucifer, & December 4th

3-0 out of 5 stars What the Black Album should have been
In my opinon the Black album was a alright album,. I was dissapointed with this album because its Jay-Z last album and this is how he's choosing to go out. If I was a executive producer I would cut production from Eminem,The Neptunes, and Timbaland. No disrespect to any of these guys cause they do their thing but as far as a last album for Jay z he needed pain in da a$$ doing the intro and outro, Dj Premier, and maybe even a ending to the coming of age story with him and Memphis Bleek. its seemed like Jayz was looking for a club hit and a song to be on popular radio when he should've just spit and made popular radio come to him like he's done in the past when I think of going out on top I think of songs like 22 Two's not 99 problems.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not really the Greatest
Jay z claims to be the greatest rap artist alive and may not say it but i know he think he,s the greatest of all time.Im here to let you know that legends and greats dont STEAL other legends and greats beats and lyrics.Thats right for those who listen to albums and mixtapes off the streets you know of (DJ-VLAD) and (DJ DIRTY HARRY)who did the notorious B.I.G,s rap phenomenon. There were lyrics that jay z took from this hip hop legend. Jay z,s what more can i say sounds exactly like biggies keep your hands high feat, tracey lee.
overall the album is good but its not something you retire with, its not that hot.Now im no jay z hater but when lyrics and beats are stolend i must say something.People need to know when they are thinking there getting the best of jay z but are really getting the best of biggie and some other hip hop greats.And if im not wrong jay z never beat nas for the king of new york. For those of you who want more on biggie the rap phenomenon go to and search under DJ VLAD. Oh and the ones that dont know jay z,s dead but shawn carters supposed to come back to another record lable. ... Read more

5. Life After Death
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Asin: B0000039QA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2332
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

The King of Brooklyn, Biggie Smalls, busted through with an instant hip-hop classic on his first album, Ready to Die, but he outdid even his standard on Life After Death, an audible, posthumous autobiography about the life of the former dope dealer. The 2 CD set revels in death, especially on "Niggaz Bleed," "Somebody's Gotta Die," and "You're Nobody ('Til Somebody Kills You)," but it's painfully clear that this chestnut-cheeked, fun-loving father of two wanted to see his kids grow up on "Sky Is the Limit" and "Miss U," both of which point to the future. The album also serves as a testament to Biggie's flexibility: he adopts Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's rapid rhyme flow and Midwestern beats when they guest on "Notorious Thugs," he positively bounces on both "Mo Money Mo Problems" and "Going Back to Cali" (guesting Eazy Mo Bee), and even kicks it Wu-Tang style when RZA shows up for "Long Kiss Goodnight." --Asondra R. Hunter ... Read more

Reviews (212)

5-0 out of 5 stars A big man, with an even bigger amount of talent
Through only two albums, Notorious B.I.G. showcased his amazing lyrical and rhyming talent. The second, Ready to Die, released mere weeks after his tragic murder in Los Angeles, is a double-disk set. One would expect a large amount of filler, but there is surprisingly little on either disk. The mood varies greatly, from the tragic-toned "Somebody's Gotta Die" to the haunting "What's Beef?" to arguably my favorite track on the entire album, a song so masterfully described I could picture it as a scene in a crime movie, "Niggas Bleed". On the lighter side, we have the upbeat "Going Back to Cali" and the laid-back "I Got a Story to Tell". As noted elsewhere, Biggie has a very vivid and detailed way of describing the events going on in his songs, so to picture yourself at the events as they happen is surprisingly easy. Overall, this is a solid album, despite being a close to a career that was clearly not over. The Notorious B.I.G. may have had but two albums, but sometimes, that's all it takes.

My Top 5 for both discs:

1#: Niggas Bleed
2#: You're Nobody ('Til Somebody Kills You)
3#: Somebody's Gotta Die
4#: What's Beef?
5#: Going Back to Cali

5-0 out of 5 stars I miss Biggie's Music
WOW this album is perfect. This album is everything you want a Rap album to have. Great songs about what Biggie was feeling at the time. This album makes you think. Thats something that todays mainstream rap music cant do. I remember when i first heard Biggie in 1993 before he hit it big in 1994 with "Big Poppa" i was BLOWN away with his flow and lyrical mastery. I was only 11 when i heard it and i had to find more about this guy. His First album is a masterpiece. This sophomore LP can be called his 2nd masterpiece. With songs like "Notorious Thugs" and "Hypnotize" they will leave you hungry for more. Unfortunately Biggie was killed for NO REASON AT ALL in 1997. His music will live on forever!!

Looking back to the mid-90's in Rap music i can honestly say that todays rap makes me cringe. I mean Big Tymers, Nelly, Eminem, Jay-Z, are just too concerned with image and making money instead of making music with emotion and meaning. If you really love rap music listen to Underground rappers like Mos Def and Talib Kweli. They are actually keeping the REAL art form alive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Biggie Does it Again
After owning his first album, I copped this one today at Spinnakers, and am glad I did. Biggie's music has never let me down. It pisses me off that Biggie was shot, he was the most talented rapper of the East Coast scene. If Biggie and Tupac were still alive, and if them and dre were still in the rap scene I'm sure things would be much different. We'd have new material from the most talented rappers of the 90's instead of crappy cash-ins.

5-0 out of 5 stars HIPHOP CLASSIC
Life After Death is the sophomore of the Late Notorious BIG. He showed maturity and growth in his skills and agenda. I previously believed Ready To Die was unsurmountable and nothing in the future could be better. He proved me wrong. Biggie Smalls is definitely the GREATEST MC OF ALL TIMES. Both of his albums are street classics which most consider in the top 10 hiphop classics of all times. Rest In Peace ma brother. Rap has never been the same without u.

5-0 out of 5 stars End of BIGs brief career
Wow I remember back in 1997 when this album was released, the whole hip hop scene seemed like all out war... Biggie had lifted the vacant King of New York crown back in 94 with his killer debut 'Ready To Die', but got waxed on the streets of Cali weeks before this follow up album was released.

This album is kinda like an advanced & extended version of 'Ready To Die'. Its more polished & smoother than his debut, there are some hard-edged songs but none of the beats here are gritty & street like the first album. Puffy has taken over Bigs style more and more, and now we have a lot more R&B cuts and rhymes about expensive clothes, cars, and drink. Its all cool I guess, nothing wrong with Big getting paid. Basically what we do have here are two discs of cinematic gangsta rap. Big had a rare talent for painting very vivid stories, so clear you actually find yourself there with him and his tales of gunplay and sex fiends. Primo hooks Big up with two of the best hard hitting cuts, 'Kick In The Door' (which rides that crazy Screamin' Jay Hawkins beat), and '10 Crack Commandments', whilst 'Sky Is The Limit' is probably the most pleasing smooth cut.

Disc two starts with a great cameo by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, but kinda tails off into mainly R&B and dance floor numbers. The final three cuts are probably the best. The RZA jacks an old Al Green beat with 'Long Kiss Goodnight', and 'My Downfall' and 'You're Nobody Til Somebody Kills You' are pretty creepy. Guest spots from jokes like Mase, The Lox, Lil' Kim and all the other no talent wannabes Puffy associates with should have been left off- these guys can't hang with Big on the mic at all. But other than that, you have to be impressed by this album. Jay Z and hundreds of come-and-go emcees have tried & tried to replicate Bigs formula over the years and no one can do it. Big had a unique talent I guess that is lacking in hip hop today. 'Life After Death' is an atmospheric two disc set of gangster rap, a nice but untimely way to cap off Bigs brief career. You got to say Big was the best ever. ... Read more

6. Licensed to Ill
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Asin: B0000024JN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1513
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

The joke of Licensed to Ill's cover--that the Beasties could crash their jet into the side of a mountain and keep on tickin'--serves as a good metaphor for a career that even some of their 1986 admirers thought might be over after the one-time-only shock of this full-length debut. That thousands of funk-junkie wannabes have since failed at re-creating its groove, breaking-the-law vibe, and ear-splitting mix of rock and rap is an even better joke. And funniest of all is the record itself, which packs dexterous boasts, aural puns, and lots and lots of yelling into a disc that can still be listened to with as much pleasure as it gave in '86. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (167)

4-0 out of 5 stars Still Illin'
It's hard to believe, but sometimes true that what goes around, comes around. I saw the Beasties on stage in London in September 1986 (with Run DMC and LL Cool J) shortly after this album came out (they were last on the bill and played only three songs, including "Slow and Low" and "Fight For Your Right"). The prevailing opinion at the time was that "Licensed To Ill" was one of the most obnoxious releases in the history of music. But what a party! The Beastie Boys seemed like a one-hit wonder when they changed record labels and took three years to release their follow up (Paul's Boutique), plus the fact these white boys were being universally panned by most of the rap community. But the Boys must be having the last laugh, and listening to this album again, it still sounds good. I am amazed at all the kids that weren't even born in '86 are discovering this record, which attests to the band's endurance, although the band owes a lot to Rick Rubin, their producer who meshed the Boys' brashness with great sound samples. As a parent I can say that, based on the feedback I've read here, if you are trying to decide on a music purchase for your teenager, this may do the trick.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most influential and essential albums of all time
I listen to a lot of different music, ranging from Slayer to Sublime, and have never really been much of a fan of rap or rap-rock. But before there were bands like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, there were the Beastie Boys, and "Licensed to Ill" is the album that catapaulted the three Brooklyn white rappers to phenominal success. Mixing hard rock riffs and furious raps, this album contains the classic party anthem "Fight For Your Right", along with radio staples "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" (featuring Slayer's Kerry King on guitar) and "Brass Monkey". "Rhymin & Stealin" and "She's Crafty" find the group sampling Led Zeppelin, while "Girls" and "Paul Revere" are hilarious. Produced by legendary producer Rick Rubin (Slayer, Danzig, Red Hot Chili Peppers), the Beastie Boys have pretty much disowned all their older material, which is a shame considering how excellent this album is, and how fresh it still sounds nearly 20 years after it's release.

4-0 out of 5 stars its awsome a few of the songs not so good
its awsome like (fight for your right) but just a few sucked but i did not hate the fact i bought it i love it still i think its a good product here at amazon so i recomend it to all of you

5-0 out of 5 stars Debut album that packs a punch
No one expected the Beastie Boys to last as long as they have, and that is part of this album's appeal. Who would have thought way back in 1986 that these white boys who practically yelled and screamed over tracks that masterfully blended rock and rap would still be topping the charts nearly 20 years later?

The then-novel concept of rock-rap is courtesy of the genius of producer Rick Rubin. He really knows how to craft a song full of hooks. The beats on this album are so massive they practically burst out of your stereo. Every song has a hook that digs itself into your brain and stays put. The best example of this would be "Paul Revere", an undeniably entertaining and catchy classic.

This wouldn't be much of an album though if it was only a producer who makes it worth listening to. Mike D., Adrock, and MCA have a great chemistry and work very well together. They are so confident and playful it's impossible not to have as good a time as they're having. They even know how to pull off the silliest of rhymes (check out "Girls" for proof).

This is a fantastic album. I just got it last week and I have been listening to it over and over ever since. If you are a fan of good, dumb fun, then I highly recommend this CD. Sure, it may appear to be a lot of screaming and yelling, but why complain when it's done so well? There are so many good songs here, including the big hit "Fight For Your Right" (which has held up very well over the years). I give this album my highest recommendation.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bratty little SOBs with a fine CD.
People like to complain about this album: it's stupid, it's immature, it's sexist, blah, blah, blah. Well of course it is. It's supposed to be. And it succeeds spectacularly! Have a sense of humor people. Okay, on to the album itself: a fantastic blend of rock and rap (Thank you Rick Rubin, for such a concept!), with the perfect trio of smart ass punks, ya know the ones who came close to getting beat up everday at school but managed to smooth talk themselves out of harm's way? These are the guys. The rhymes are silly, but for the love of all that is good and holy, who can stand another thug reppin' his hood (when you know he grew up in the 'burbs of Jersey), talkin' 'bout his ho's and his ice without the slightest trace of irony? Rap is not known for its sense of humor. Licensed to Ill rescues it from drowning in it's own sense of self-importance and then manages to sneak a few sucker punches in on it's own. Great album, great rhymes, great beats. Long live Paul Revere! ... Read more

7. Black Star
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B000067CLT
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1671
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
What can I say? Talib Kweli and Mos Def are meant to collaborate. Black Star is one of the greatest alliances in hip-hop. Their styles copmliment each other. They are both amazing lyricist, Talib Kweli especially. They both contribute amazing examples why hip-hop is real and they both tell stories through their mindblowing songs. The best song is by far "RE:Definition" I think Talib Kweli shines on that one. Other great songs are "Respiration" "Brown Skin Lady" and "Thieves in the Night" All songs are high quality. "Children's Story" is a nice play on Slick Rick's classic song. This is a classic, beginning to end.
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to any hip-hop fan looking for a change from their normal music. This album is like none other. I would also recommend 'Reflection Eternal' by Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek 'Quality' by Talib Kweli and 'Black on Both Sides' by Mos Def.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some Blackstar Power For Ya!
The name Blackstar brings to mind notions of afrocentric pride. These notions are brought to fruition by messengers Mos Def & Talib Kweli. Mos Def was introduced on tracks by De La Soul and Da Bush Babees which placed him in line to carry on as part of the next generation in the Native Tongues movement. He joined up a long with Talib Kweli on Rawkus Records in the late 90's which was the spot for underground hip hop. Kweli although from Brooklyn is part of the Cincinnati based Wanna Battle Crew along with Rawkus mate Dj Hi-Tek and groups like Mood & Lone Catalysts. Together they come to form "Blackstar" bringing intelligent rhymes without going too far over your head, classic battle rap dexterity and uplifting messages. Backed by soulful production provided by Dj Hi-Tek, Shawn J. Period, Da Beatminerz and more. It'll be hard to find a more solid production squad on a single album backed with such equally pleasing emcees. Mos Def brings heat as arguably the stronger of the two with great lyrics, and his slightly West Indian tinged vocal style that dabbles in a sing-song ragga vibe at times. Talib also has a unique delivery & flow accompanied by his concrete lyrical prowess. These guys aren't your average hip hop clones. You can tell they have read a lot from their lyrics constantly dropping knowledge (their name was taken from a shipping company designed to repatriate blacks from America back to Africa), no wonder they own a bookstore. This is one of the finest releases in rap from anywhere in the later half of the 90's. So now I will show you what all the fuss is about....

Astronomy (8th Light) ~ From this opening song you get a good idea of the capable force on this album. Mos & Kweli trade off verses using "black" as a constant them throughout. The production is done by Mr. Walt of Da Beatminerz with koldass cuts by Evil Dee on the plates. It is a funked out bass driven number. Late night koolin' out vibe with awesome word play.

Re: Definition ~ Lyrically this is in my opinion the strongest song on the album. Kweli opens up in a solid battle stance with flares of intelligent lines woven in. Mos' verse right after outshines him, the lyrics are fire, as well as his dope chorus. The beat is done by Dj Hi-Tek and has a real thumping bassline, hard rapid drums, light string arrangement and nice echo effect for a very dense sound. Sample of Mos Def's first verse:

"/What, lyrically handsome, call collect the king's ransom/
/Jams I write soon become the ghetto anthem/
/Way out like Bruce Wayne's Mansion, move like a phantom/
/You'll talk about me to your grandsons/"

Brown Skin Lady ~ One of the best love themed hip hop songs ever put together. Blackstar both drop clever heartfelt lyrics about the type of ladies they love a real positive approach to women that is both amusing and self depreciating. Mos is on the hook once again with some kool adlibbing at the end. J.Rawls of Lone Catalysts handles the beat with a solid drum and bass funky backing beat combined with nice acoustic guitar and vibraphone as well as the occasional kettle sound tossed in.

Respiration ft/ Common ~ The track opens up with a couple of dudes talking about cars. Then the beat comes in with a chick repeating something in what sounds like Spanish. Mos Def, Talib Kweli & Common on the same song spitting, doesn't get more ill than that. They all bust fuThieves In the Night ~ Perhaps the most intelligent song on the album. Kweli & Mos Def drop verses exposing the evils of today and the lies we all live in. The best hook on the album too. The production by 88 Keys is full of jazzy percussion and a beautiful key loop with interesting change ups.

One of the definitive rap releases of in recent memory. An album solidifying Rawkus as the primo underground label of the time period. Two emcees with great chemistry and original sound. They come together with a fantastic panel of producers and stand out guests. If you like intelligent and accessible lyrics with finely crafted beats, check this out. Hip Hop essential listening 4 stars! peace, love & soul...

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Hip-hop
Black Star is just such a nice album there is nothing else to say about it. Each track has knowledge droppin on it, my personal favorite is Thieves in the Night. Talib and Mos Def are a blessin to hip-hop. Classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Hip-Hop Album for the New Millenium
I don't care what Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Outkast, Eminem, Naz, Kanye West or anyone coast to coast says, Black Star's album is the best hip-hop album of the new millenium. There is not one whack lyric on the entire album. These brothers laid it down like no others in the past. They combine intelligent lyrics with a battle rap style that few MC's can match. Their versatility is boundless. It's a shame that this will be their only album together. I would love to have heard their underground hits. I rank this album as one of the baddest hip-hop albums ever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, an intelligent yet widely known rap LP.
Lately, hip-hop has been going to the dogs, with cash-oriented monkeys like 50 Cent or Chingy on top. I was watching Chappelle's show, and I heard Mos Def's song Don't Push Me, and it was great. Having already heard of him, and Kweli, I decided to try this album out. The only track I didn't love was Twice Inna Lifetime. Here's an overview of the best songs:

Astronomy (8th Light)-Great start to the album, a very catchy poetic black pride anthem. Me and my friend are now always like:
Ya know who else is a black star?/Who?/Me!/Ya know who else is a black star?Who?/Me!

Definition-I really love this song. It has a great Jamaican-sounding chorus and great poetic rapping again.

RE:Definition-Even stronger song than Definition, with a different sound.

Children's Story-An eye-opener about the commercialization of hip-hop.

Brown Skin Lady-Possibly the best song on the album. A slow, relaxing song about women. They have a respectful attitude about
women, and I'm not worried to play this around my parents.

KOS-Determination-It's just a great, uplifting song.

Hater Players-The hardest song on the album, also about commercialized rap.

Respiration-Up against Brown Skin Lady for best on the album. A gem about corruption in the city.

Thieves In The Night-Another relaxing gem, and the last great song on the album. Very intelligent and poetic.

Overall, if you don't have this album, buy it. Believe the hype. ... Read more

8. New Danger
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Asin: B00030EEO0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 542
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More than a mere rap album, Mos Def's long-awaited The New Danger combines hip-hop, blues, soul, and rock in an 18-track package that seeks to transcend convention. In that sense, it shares a similar spirit with Andre 3000's The Love Below or Common's Electric Circus, with mixed results. Mos's reputation has been built on the strength of his lyrical charisma, and songs like "Close Edge," "Grown Man Business," and "Sunshine" show that his skills haven't faded just because he's Emmy-nominated. He's already proven that he can cut more than just street heat--best evinced on the soulful, poetic "Umi Says," a surprise hit from his previous release, 1999's Black on Both Sides. Yet, the rock- and blues-inspired songs here, while by no means poor, are acquired tastes, given their tendency to noodle--they simply can't compare with Mos's cutting verbal displays. The album's length and sometimes clunky sequencing can make for challenging listening, especially when so many of his more experimental cuts come early on. New fans might find the album's eclecticism intriguing, although older fans will likely be a bit perplexed. --Oliver Wang ... Read more

9. The Score
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Asin: B000002B5L
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5218
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Their remake of "Killing Me Softly" was the hit, but that's only the beginning of the story. A hip-hop trio whose talents reach out into the world of the pop song (Wyclef Jean is a fine guitar player, and Lauryn Hill's a heck of a singer), the Fugees are also all distinctive, inventive rappers--you find yourself waiting for each of them to take the next verse in turn. The beats are the familiar crossed-armed boom-bip, but the group's understated grooves and subtle effects lie low in the mix. Aside from two kicky covers of classics (the other is Marley's "No Woman, No Cry"), The Score'sfocus is on the stars' rhyming with the free-form grace of performance poets and showing that they've thought deeply about the issues they raise. --Douglas Wolk ... Read more

Reviews (60)

5-0 out of 5 stars "It's Time To Settle The Score!"
What can I say? The Score by the Fugees was definitely their best effort. While the group soon split up and the members, with the exception of Lauryn, tried to capture the Fugees' formula with less success, The Score still stands the test of time. On this release, the Fugees matured from Blunted On Reality and became much more focused. The beats are interesting relying on nice drum and bass lines mixed with reggae, soul, and lots of hip-hop flavor. The lyrics are very good, and the group seems very confident and relaxed when it comes to the delivery. Check out the classic "Fu-Gee-La," the Diamond produced title track, and the posse cut "Cowboys" featuring members of the Outsidaz. And of course, the two cover tunes work. Lauryn proves she is a great singer on "Killing Me Softly" while the "No Woman, No Cry" cover adds a new twist to the classic Bob Marley song. The only low points with this album might be the skits which can get monotonous and stupid after a while. Otherwise, The Score definitely deserves a listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars A 5 Mic classic according to the Source and Me
This one was a massive comercial sucess in 1996 here is the song
by song review of the Fugees score album.
2.How many Mics-Classic freestyle joint like for Supernat this is not as good as those versions but it is very tight 10/10
3.Ready are Not-One of my favorite rap songs 10/10
4.Zealots-Early 60s 10/10
5.The Beast-Great Produced Album this is tight 10/10
6.Fu Gee La-I was always a fan of the Fugees this tight 10/10
7.Family-They did great on this album 10/10
8.Killing me Softly-Hip Hop Soul classic 10/10
9.The Score-Carribean feel I did not no Pras was this tight 10
10.The Mask-This albums got it all rap-hip hop-raggae not his usual stuff and also Soul 10/10
11.Cowboys-this is pretty raw all of it MCs 10/10
12.No Women Cry-I guess a cover 10/10
13.Manifest-I love the Carribean feel to this album 10/10
16.Mista Mista-Accoustic Guitar pretty tight 10/10
This Album sounds great I have been sleeping.
Lyrics 10/10 Production 10/10 X Factor 10/10 Style 10/10 Voice10

Music 10/10 Innovative 10/10 Classic 10/10 Guest 10/10 Blends 10
Overall 100 This album sounds completely Masterpiece the Source
was good for giving the Fugees there respect they deserve this is a 5 Mic Classic wich is *****Classic

5-0 out of 5 stars This Is Hip-Hop
"The Score" is one of those unique albums that can never be outdone. Wyclef Jean, Pras, and Lauryn Hill all work together in giving us this classic sophmore album. Guest appearences by John Forte(a member of the Refugee Family), Tha Outsidaz(Rah Digga, Young Zee, Pacewon), Diamond-D, and Omega all do well, but it's really the main trio that make this album great. Wyclef's crazy flow, Pras' laidback rhyming, and Lauryn's angellic voice bring a beautiful flava to this LP that no one else could've done. "How Many Mics" is an example of all three members rhyme skills, especially Pras' who spits, ("too many MC's not enough mics, exit your show like I exit the turnpike"). "Ready or Not" is one of my all time favorite songs, because of the cool beat and the memorable last lines of Wyclef Jean("I think not I'll send a letter to my friends, a born again hooligan only to be king again") and Lauryn's opening line("I play my enemies like a game of chess") and lastly Pras' opening("ready or not refugees taking over"). "Zealots" is a well made song in which Wyclef sings the hook and Lauryn teaches Hip-Hop physics over an amazing beat. But it is Pras who delivers the best lyrical verse("I compress sound sets with my rap DBX, then drop vocals on my 456MPEX, bring terror to the shop of horror, as you cry meamore, the phantom dies in the opera"). "The Beast" is a weirder song and not one of my favorites, though it is not to be skipped. "Fu-Gee-La" is another favorite of mine because of its Caribbean lyrics and beat, and amazing chrorus by Lauryn. "Family Business" is a sad song but another great one with guest rappers Omega and John Forte, rhyming over a frantic beat with a verse surprisingly by Pras(it's the only chorus he does on the whole album). "Killing Me Softly" is a solo song by Lauryn Hill who remakes the song with a Hip-Hop groove. "The Score" is quite simply a lyrical song, produced and guest featuring Diamond-D, the trio drop some of their best rhymes in between a scratched hook. "The Mask" is another good song, with a great chorus and verses. "Cowboys" is the gangsta western song featuring Tha Outsidaz. The mix of Carribean rhymes and hardcore rap is amazing and turns out good, even with the oh-lae-he chorus by Wyclef. "No Woman, No Cry" is another remake, this time of Bob Marley's classic song(Wyclef solo). "Outro(Manifest)" isn't an outro but another real lyrical song where you can actually hear the anger in the trio's voices. The first and best remix of "Fu-Gee-La" is the last great song on the album. The final remix of the song isn't very memorable and not one of my favorites. The final song "Mista, Mista" is very confusing. It's a sad song but you can't help laughing at the constant cussing through the whole song.

The main point is that "The Score" is one of the many classic rap albums of the 90's and was very groundbreaking, because it brought Hip-Hop to the entire world. If you like this album go pick up the trio's solo albums:

*Wyclef Jean- "The Carnival"
*Lauryn Hill- "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"
*Pras- "Ghetto Supastar"
*Wyclef Jean- "Ecleftic: 2 Sides 2 A Book"
*Wyclef Jean- "Masquerade"
*Wyclef Jean- "The Preacher's Son"

The Fugees are broken up now, but they will always be remembered as one of the greatest and most creative rap group of all time.

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5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST !
The Fugees are definitely the most complete group of all times. TLC, WuTang, etc all are real good groups, however The Fugees integrated every form of music into rap and made hiphop globally respected. Their themes and videos were the best of all times. The Score is really a street classic. From " Ready or not", cowboys, "the beast". Everything is tight. Lauryn is fascinating though. She really makes fugees what it all is. their breakup is a great loss to the enrichment of hiphop.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Score [EXPLICIT LYRICS]
The Score [EXPLICIT LYRICS]~ The Fugees is avery good album with great fun and good lyrics. Hill is a good singer and the other guys prevent her from getting to cynical and boring which is her tendency otherwise. A very good album and one should buy it ... Read more

10. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
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Asin: B0000024K1
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2712
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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It Takes a Nation of Millions was the sign that hip-hop had exploded like a grenade. A rap record as abrasive, hardcore, and eloquent as a JFK speech, the 1988 disc is one classic track after another: tense, multilayered, harmonically wild music. Chuck D. declaims like a master preacher with foil Flavor Flav's voice darting around his. They've got the desperate energy of people fighting for their lives, and everything from their pumped-up rhetoric ("Prophets of Rage") to the group's quasi-paramilitary organization to the sirens and sax squeals in nearly every track declares how urgent their mission is. It's a hugely influential album, and it still sounds fresh and frightening after all these years. --Douglas Wolk ... Read more

Reviews (123)

5-0 out of 5 stars Louder Than a Bomb
The second you pop this album into the CD player you are instantly grabbed and shaken by it's forcefulness. It Takes a one of the best hip-hop albums I have ever listened to.

Chuck-D, though not as technically brilliant on the mick as say Cali-Tuna from Jurassic Five or Common, he is arguably the best writer in hip-hop history. Most MC's are stuck trying to figure out how to rearrange swear words in their verse, but Chuck-D has written some intellegent lyrics. I may not agree with everything he says but at least he's saying something.

The production is also flawless. This should be what hip hop production is like today. The only one to come close to it nowadays is Outkast. The Bomb Squad use samples from everywhere to produce a wall of sound that is uncomparable to anything but Pauls Boutique by the Beastie Boys.

The only things I didn't like about the album were it's lack of bass and the seemingly pointless inclusion of Flava Flav. Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos is one of the best rap songs of all time. When I listen to it I automatically bob my head, but it would be a truly break neck beat if a slinky bass line was added at least in the pauses between verses. Second I don't really see the point in Flava Flav proclaiming the groups atributes on every track. He doesn't have any verses outside of Cold Lampin With Flavor, all he does is say yeah boyee before every song.

Anyway those are nitpicky problems. The whole album is excellent, and ranks up their with Pauls Boutique by the Beastie Boys as the two greatest rap albums ever recorded.

5-0 out of 5 stars Probally the most influential Rap album 1-A
This album is considered a classic and the rock list have this one as the Top Rap album of them all.This album has an influence on people like Ice Cube and Nas or who ever this one has Chuck D very political and he kills it out with some of the best power on record(Probally behind only Biggie)Yes at times his boy Flava Flav gets annoying but he still does okay.It is true meaning everything he sais he belives heres more
2.Bring the Noise-one of the classic songs off here 10/10
3.Don't believe the hype-Probally the best song on here 10/10
4.Cold Lampin-This one was okay 8/10
5.Terminator X on the panic-this one is very good 10/10
7.Louder then a bomb-This one is tight to 10/10
8.Show em what you got-This one is pretty good 9/10
10.She watch channel Zero-Loud and wild this one 10/10
11.Night of the living Baseheads-Too much talking 7/10
12.Black steel in the hour of chaos-Just tight 10/10 Classic
14.Rebel without a pause-A classic beat for you 10/10
15.Prophets of Rage-This song is okay beat wise 8/10
16.Party for your right to fight-not the greatest ending 5/10
This is not as revolutionary as it was in 88 but still it is a classic and must get mad respect from all heads
Lyrics 10/10 Production 10/10 X Factor 8/10 Style 10/10 Voice 10
Music 9/10 Innovative 10/10 Classic 10/10 Guest 10 Blends In 10
Overall=97 wich means it is good for 5 Mics *****

5-0 out of 5 stars Dont slag this record...
...because you're a hip-pop loving doucher.

This is a cornerstone of hip-hop and should be treated as such and if this was all then I would probably not even be writing this review. However, such is not the case. This album was the voice of a generation. It spoke for the depressed state of inner-city African Americans and the constant injustice they faced. Its true, hip-hop used to be about more than just money.

1-0 out of 5 stars Where Have You BEEN All My Life?
Why have I been wasting my time listening to Charlie Parker and Claude Debussy all these years? What ever made me think that Aretha Franklin and Gundula Janowitz could actually sing? I must have been high. THIS is the great work of true musical genius that all mankind has been waiting for. It marks the culmination and final, greatest achievement of the human race. What have we left to live for? It's all downhill from here, folks, so let's end it now, on a high note, and go out in a blaze of glory.

4-0 out of 5 stars Genius but can get annoying
Well this cd presents the dualities of rap: great flow and great beats and complete obnoxiousness. Both rappers Flavor Flav and Chuck d are obviously very talented and deserve more recognition than they get, unfortunately Flavor can get really annoying for example the yeah in Don't Beleive the Hype becomes rather irratating rather quickly. However the colloboration with Anthrax shines as a skillfully mixed combination of rap and metal. Songs like She watch Channel Zero and Rebel Without a Pause are true rap classics that mix superb music with a social message. Chuck D does say some somewhat racist things like "selling drugs to the brother man instead of the other man" which can be turn off for some but hilarious for others. Overall this is a seminal rap album but some songs can be easily skipped over. ... Read more

11. General Patton Vs the X-Ecutioners
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Asin: B0006PTTR4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6585
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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You get the feeling Mike Patton did his time with major label bands like Faith No More and Mr. Bungle merely as a way to fund the stuff he's really into. He's got a solo project called Peeping Tom that includes collaborations with Massive Attack and Amon Tobin; the fourth album from his experimental instrumental outfit, Fantomas; and guest spots on Björk's Medulla and Handsome Boy Modeling School's White People. At the front of the pack is this collaboration with Oakland, California turntable crew the X-ecutioners. Using the group's punctuated scratches and samples as raw material, Patton builds a symphony of cut-and-paste chaos over which he applies his trademark shrieks and growls. It's clearly not for everyone, but those who found Jay-Z and Linkin Park's Collision Course a little too sterile will definitely find something to gape over. -- Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of a kind Hip-hop . . .
. . . from Mike Patton and the great X-ecutioners.Lots of commentary on the album that I won't go into here. (Suffice it to say, it's both entertaining and subtle while being not-so-subtle.)
Patton sings his heart out on some tracks, in a very polished, poppy way we've not heard in a while, and the X-ecutioners are as impeccable as ever throughout.

Pick it up, put it on and enjoy. It's delicious.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rap-a-tap-a-tap-a-Jazz
Causa efecto, reacción! Se subentiende quien gana en esta batalla de scratch, samples y trastornados ruidos vocales en esta guerra entre Mike Patton y The E xecutioners
General Patton :10
The E Xecutioners:01
La mayoria de los ritmos latinos, étnicos y el swing, ya se están convirtiendo en una característica reconocible para los seguidores de este vocalista compositor solista, lo que transforma a este disco en uno mas de su coleccion particular, pero sin restar meritos al trio de scratch, quienes aportan una gran técnica y dominio en la tornamesa, dándole características impresindible para la realización de este disco.
La utilización de ritmos hip-hop, podrían hacerte creer que se trata de un disco de rap, pero mas bien parece ser una composición de "Avant Rap", ya que no encontrarás un vocalista freestyle, sinó a Patton.
Con cierta similitud al proyecto "Moonracker" (sin discos editados), este disco juego con los cambios de ritmo inesperados, ruidos indecifrables y tecnología en demasía, pero con un nivel muy superior por sobre una improvisación en vivo.
Si te gusta "Naked City" en su epoca "Torture Garden" este disco te vá a gustar, pero si esperas escuchar un rap de "Doctor Alban" este disco no es para ti.
"Get Up, Punk", "Fire In The Hole" y "L.O.L" son los track mas Pop y orejas (con una composición convencional) listos para la fiesta (o para escucharlos con tu nena, ya que Patton que no olvidó su lado sensual de "Lovage"), el resto son temas de no mas de 1:30 minutos con cambios de ritmos constantes y saturantes cada 3 segs. Y otros temas de 3:00 minutos mas atmosfericos y constantes, lo que lo transforma en un disco que no se formará en una tortura musical, pero recuerda, estás en medio de una batalla y estos tipos se dan con todo.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Collaboration of Legends
Simply amazing.Those are the two words that went through my mind after I listened to this album two times through.Being a fan of both sides of this collaboration, I had very high hopes.The entire 3 months before this arrived on the shelves I had contemplated and considered the idea that my hopes may be too high, that I was only setting myself up for disappointment.Not only did this meet my expectations, it managed to exceed them.The X-ecutioners are as sharp as ever, reminding me of their absolutely stellar preformance and Bonnaroo last year.No other ensemble can work those turntables quite like DJ Rob Swift, Grandmaster Roc Raida, and DJ Total Eclipse.Their albums most always involve guests, but they always outshine said guests.Not here, but then again, this is no ordinary guest.Mike Patton has always pushed the envelope, challenged us to question what we know as music, and brought us what is truly music.From absolutely stellar groups such as Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and Fantomas, Mr. Patton has very rarely let me down.If you enjoy Fantomas's first album or Mr. Bungle's "Disco Volante" you should enjoy this.If you are an X-ecutioners guy, give this a shot.If you dig it, and you are open to experience truly challenging music, I'd give the two afformentioned albums a good listen.If this is your first time with both sides, I'd recommend the X-Men's "Genocide in Sudan" and Faith No More's "Angel Dust" as starter albums.

5-0 out of 5 stars Genre bending jump cut hip hop.
This one is really intriguing--vocal acrobat Mike Patton goes to war, sometimes literally, with turntable army The X-ecutioners.I'm a big proponent of turntablism, and I enjoy the fusion of Patton's avant-garde and rock sensibilities with the the X-ecutioners.

Much of this is scratches, screams, yelps, effects, noises, etc. interspersed with bizarre commentary about war, there's precious little in the way of songs.Its more often genre bending/blending, "Precision Guided Needle-Dropping and Larynx Mutations" in less than two minutes manages to bounce between California-esque pop music, organ drones, swing, and scratches before fading into a bizarre banjo piece that ends with a hip hop take on a marching drill.All this is followed up with "Battle Hymn of the Technics Republic", which is roughly what its title sounds like, scratches over a dark march.Some of the jump-cut pieces also bring Patton's singing (rather than vocalizing) to the forefront, including the rather familiar rhythms of "Take a Piece of Me", it never ceases to amaze how he can sing in the most pop-oriented styles over the most dense hip hop and somehow make it work, and we even get a straight lounge style croon (if only for 20 seconds before it cuts styles again) in "We'll Paint This Town".In many ways, its like Zorn's Naked City filtered through Patton and hip hop, some tracks, like "Modified Combined Obsticle Overlay", bounce through half a dozen genres in the first 45 seconds before settling into a funky groove, only to switch gears altogether and start bouncing through genres again.It can be frustrating at times, because just as you start to really enjoy something, it switches gears, but somehow in the end, it all fits together.

The structured songs that are there are of remarkable quality-- "Get Up, Punk!" is a good example of this early on in the record, with a droning synth line, hip-hop beats, and Patton's growled vocals, its superb.Perhaps even better is the mighty "Fire in the Hole", more turntablism and hip hop beats, with a crooned vocal courtesy of Patton.Also a more concrete song form is the near-alternative/industrial "Loser on Line", probably the closest thing to a commercial song on the record (which is to say its only moderately bizarre).

I suspect this is a first listen thing for most people, either you get what they're trying to do and you think it works, or you think its a mess.I personally loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Suspended Variation
If there is one thing you can count on Mike Patton for it's variation.No two projects sound anything alike.I would love to tell you this is a standout project for the man, but it is not.For most of his career, thus far, Patton has been involved with and created some of the best music I have ever heard.I used to eagerly await the release of albums from a number of artists, but I am now eagerly awaiting the releases of one artist. Oh, I'm still buying far too many CD's for my own good, but I'm no longer marking calenders and counting the days for anyone else.Patton never disappoints me in quality or quantity.If you are not already listening to this guy, you have no idea what you're missing.The guy has changed my whole music world.In my personal opinion, you can start here with Patton.You can start anywhere, just don't ever expect to listen to one of these CD's one time and see the brilliance.It's in there, you just have to give it time. ... Read more

12. Paul's Boutique
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002UUN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2258
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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After the out-of-nowhere success of Licensed to Ill, the Beasties had to prove they were more than one-album wonders, and they hit it out of the park with this follow-up. The Boys' lyrics are a hysterical deluge of cultural allusion (Ponce De Leon, Sadaharu Oh, and Love Connection's Chuck Woolery all get name-dropped), compressed wordplay, and adenoidal snottiness, but the real stars are the Dust Brothers, whose production is a hip-hop landmark. Their music tracks sound like the history of rock and funk radio boiled down to a pure concentrate--monster jams built out of thousands of unexpected samples (Johnny Cash! The Sweet!). It's a killer party album, kinetic and dense, and it never slows down. --Douglas Wolk ... Read more

Reviews (166)

5-0 out of 5 stars Are there other albums? I hadn't noticed.
Paul's Boutique is sublime. The Beasties have combined side-splitting humor with groovy sampling with amazing ryhmes to producve the greatest album ever. It opens with a dedication to (who else) all the girls, then a manic drum solo leads you into shake your rump. Shake your rump is decent, but simply can't compare with the next track, Jonny Ryall, with its sweet blues riff and humorous depiction of a New York City bum. The other standouts are the sounds of science, with a slow-to-fast tempo change that really makes it two songs, Hey Ladies, which describes the bboys' exploits with the fair sex, and my personal favorite, eggman. Eggman combines the base and bongos from Curtis Mayfield's Superfly, the theme of psycho, and some amazing rhymes. For example: Which came first: the chicken or the egg? I egged the chicken, and then I ate his leg. In the interests of saving time I won't effuse about the rest of the tracks, except to say that this is the best work the boys have ever done, and it's the best work anyone will ever do. A sample from Beastie-Boy Bouillabase sums it up: It's a trip, it's got a funky beat, and I can bug out to it.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute masterpiece
Every time I listen to this album (and that would be almost every day) I can't help but be awed by one simple thought: by all conventional rules of music, this album is not supposed to work. How many of you could add rhymes like "Tom Thumb/Tom Cushman/or Tom Foolery/date women on TV with the help of Chuck Woolery" over samples of the Commodores AND a cowbell? Can you drop Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff" into a rockabilly groove about a homeless guy? I didn't think so, and it's a testament to the talent of the Beastie Boys and the Dust Brothers that this album not works so well, but that it works at all.

Lyrically, this is probably the most inventive album I've ever heard, as the Beasties will rap about ANYTHING. Pop-culture references include "The Brady Bunch", "The Flintstones", Donald Trump, Humpty Dumpty, Houdini, Ben Franklin, Ponce De Leon, Jack Kerouac, Vincent Van Gogh, Rapunzel, and "Amazing Grace", among others. They're simply hilarious. However, the real highlight of the album is the music, which is unbelievably rich and creative. "Paul's Boutique" contains a mind-numbing **400+** samples, including: Johnny Cash, the Ramones, the Beatles, Isaac Hayes, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Chic, Public Enemy, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley, the theme from "Psycho", Sly Stone, Alice Cooper, James Brown, and so many more. The samples are layered and used so creatively that they're never simply theft; instead, they create something new out of something old.

"Paul's Boutique" is not just one of the best rap albums of all time, or one of the best "alternative" albums of all time, or one of the best dance albums of all time. It is one of the best albums ever, period. If you don't own it, it needs to be the next CD you buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars the album that kicked off the 70s revival
I first heard Paul's Boutique in 1988 after coming back from London. There, a 1970s fashion craze was sharing the stage with acid house, acid jazz, etc. The Beastie Boys were the first to put something out like this in the states.

I love the city street scene on the cover, the dirty sound that smacks of vinyl records and 8 track tapes. Each track is dense with references to pop culture and samples and snippets from everywhere, I don't know how much of the sound is Beastie Boys and how much the Dust Brothers, but it all comes together.

The snot nosed kid sound of Licensed to Ill is still here, looking for a piece of ass and a window to break. Hey Ladies is a fine example of the good natured fun, slightly malicious and politically incorrect. Likewise with Car Thief, but there is a kind of warped record sound that makes it all sound a bit ominous. In the lyrics, there are stirrings of deeper things to come such as A Year and a Day which are gonna lead into the Buddhist chanting and philosophizing in Check Your Head. Most of all it is funny as hell and has an excellent groove from start to finish.

If you buy one Beastie Boys CD this is the one.

5-0 out of 5 stars whose masterpiece?
the dust brothers? or the beasties?

either way, it's the greatest rap album of all time, hands down. so take that, snoop.

and not only is it the greatest rap album of all time, it's the prototype of beck's mid-90s masterpiece odelay. not bad for a couple whitey nerds from the big apple.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential
You don't have to be a BB fan to enjoy this CD. It truly exemplifies musical talent, at a time in the industy when there was freedom of sampling. These guys put together a really incredible compilation of words and sound. A must have in everyone's collection. Just listen! ... Read more

13. Beautiful Struggle
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Asin: B0002XL22U
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1015
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Talib Kweli's sophomore solo album arrives with considerable fear that his mainstream aspirations may turn off longtime fans (ah, the curse of the conscious rapper). However, the album isn't as crassly commercial as some might complain. To be sure, The Beautiful Struggle could stand more consistency, and the album's production is a primary liability: songs like "A Game" and "Going Hard" weakly ape current fads while "Around My Way" inadvisably interpolates the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." That said, the balance of the album still holds up to scrutiny. Kweli might cut a party track ("We Got the Beat") and puff up his street cred ("Back Up Offa Me"), but much of The Beautiful Struggle articulates itself with emotion and intellect: "I Try," "Ghetto Snow," and "Black Girl Pain," for example. Like Kweli's debut Quality, this follow-up falls considerably short of classic status, but it still suggests some moves in a promising direction. --Oliver Wang ... Read more

14. The Blueprint
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Asin: B00005O54T
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4627
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan's Best of 2001

The Blueprint may be Jay Z's most captivating record since Reasonable Doubt, but its predictably detached mood reflects the master hustler's superior ability to trick out lackluster subject matter with lyrical complexity and brief flashes of manufactured introspection. The Blueprint, a solid mix of preprogrammed radio hits ("Izzo," "Girls, Girls, Girls") and better-than-average mid-tempo compositions ("Never Change," "Song Cry"), confirms the Brooklyn rapper's legendary status. Blistering flames of the Queensbridge/Jay Z feud fan high with"Takeover," a direct attack on Nas, set over the Doors' rock & roll burner, "5 to 1.""Renegade" provides the album's only full-on guest appearance. Jay and Eminem take this opportunity to address haters (within the industry and in the general population) who don't understand the mind of an artist. Jigga spells it out on the title track: "Reasonable Doubt--classic, shoulda went triple." The Blueprint might not be quite on par with Reasonable Doubt but it is reasonably good. --Rebecca Levine ... Read more

Reviews (361)

4-0 out of 5 stars Jay-Z getting back to what he's good at
If you are a fan of Jay-Z's last 3 albums, then my review is not for you. When Jay-Z broke, every song I heard on the radio was typical playa-bling bling. So for a long time, I dismissed Jay-Z as an artist. It wasn't until about 2 years ago a friend of mine let me borrow "Reasonable Doubt". That CD blew me away. Jay-z's lyrics were thought provoking and the production was sharp. So I decided to give his other CD's a try thinking there might be some good stuff. I was horribly mistaking. "Hard knock life" is ok, the other 2 fall completely flat to me. So when I heard his new offering, I was pleasantly suprised to hear the return of Jigga. This album, with the exception of a few songs, is excellent. Songs like "girls girls girls" "U don't know" & "heart of the city" shine nicely and compare with the best stuff he's ever done. I hope his jab at Nas will get him to straighten out too, because Nas USED to be one of the best. Anyway, If you are a real fan of truly good hip-hop, pay the man and buy this LP.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Album Of The Year For 2001!

This LP is very different from all the rest becuase there are no guest appearances on his album besides Eminem. There are no big name producers he used to use... but that does'nt mean that production is horrible, matter of fact the production is far from that. Using only Kayne West, Just Blaze, Bink, and one track produced by the following big names: Track Masters, Timbaland, and Eminem. Jigga keeps it soul on "The Ruler's Back". Jigga also aims at Queensbridge rivals Nas and Prodigy of Mobb Deep on The Doors sampled "Takeover" which is probably the best battle record of all-time. But the ammo does not run out just yet. He also aims at the haters and the prejudging critics on "Heart Of The City (Ain't No Love)" with lyrics like "My ... BIG predicted the ... excatly / Mo money, mo problems gotta move carefully / cause .... hate when you getting money like athletes..., Sensitive thugs ya'll all need hugs". What's a Jay-Z album without club bangers like "Jigga That ...", "Izzo", and the riot inducing "U Don't Know" "The Blueprint" is not better than "Reasonable Doubt", but it is a match. It's obvoius that Jay-Z ain't going nowhere anytime soon but the fact remains, you can be the biggest Jay-Z fan or you can be an underground hater, in reality "The Blueprint" is the most reognized album in 2001, period.

5-0 out of 5 stars This album is the blueprint!
Jay-z is at the pinnacle with this record. It is the first rap record besides Kanye West that I have been able to FULLY connect with. I love this cd. His lyrics are so catchy and so rememerable that after a couple of listens I was going wit Jay and the rhymes. The beats done by the beatmaster himself Kanye, are so hot and so soulful that they almost steal the album. My favorite songs are TAKEOVER, Jay takes shots at Nas and has piercing lyrics. IZZO, because he samples one of my fave groups the Jackson 5, and its just so damn catchy. GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS, is also so soulful and very funny and Jay describes many types of girls. I like it, because its catchy and cool and it doesnt objectify women. HEART OF THE CITY, I love it for the hook, but I have to say I didn't like this song until Jaguar Wright did it right on the Unplugged cd. VERY HOT go cop that if you ain't heard it. NEVER CHANGE is a testament to the hood life and to the streets. Its almost like the song is standing his ground, he will never change. Very easy to listen to. SONG CRY is my favorite songs on the cd and one of my faves of all time!!! THe song is so hard!! He makes the song cry cause he can't see them coming down his face. I love it, it is the hiphop power ballad! Renegade is another favorite of mine, mainly because its so powerful and Eminem (I hate to say it Jay) spits hot fire on this track. This cd is so captivating, from the beats, to the verses, to Eminem ( the only guet appearance). Thats another thing Jay basically held the cd down for himself as far as performing. How many rap cds out there have a different person on each track. It's hard to hold down the fort by yourself, but hey the king of new york did it...and did it well!!

5-0 out of 5 stars DA BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the best album from Sean "Jay Z" Carter. Nuff said.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good album but NOT classic .
It's important to note why Many people think that this is jay-z's best album since his first because of the samples used throughout the album, the music isn't original and the beats and samples kill me, jay's lyrics seems rushed, "jigga that N888" "all I need" "hola hovito" all filler tracks with poppy hooks and are used for Cd space, On the positive side, the blueprint enjoys good production and it's difnitly one of jay-z's best albums.

Production: beats 8/10 .........lyrics 6/10
Favorite tracks: U dont know, renegade. ... Read more

15. Will Smith - Greatest Hits
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Asin: B00007E8UU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3776
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Summary of the Exception to the Rule of 1990s Rap
In a genre consisting of "hardcore" artists like Busta Rhymes, 2Pac, and Public Enemy, the general public found Will Smith's easy-going style as a welcome exception to the rule of rap- at least for a time. During the late 1980s and 1990s, both solo and with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Smith created a number of novelty records that have remarkably stood the test of time. And this issue of GREATEST HITS, which came at a time when Smith's glory days had presumably passed, showcases his power pretty well.

All of Smith's solo hits are accounted for, and the best of them- "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"; "Men in Black"; "Miami"- rank among the best songs of their time. As for his tenure with DJ Jazzy Jeff, the collection gathers big hits like "Parents Just Don't Understand"; "Summertime"; and "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble." But it does not dip into the Fresh Prince years enough (most likely due to contractual restrictions), leaving out good songs like "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson"; "Ring My Bell"; and "Boom! Shake the Room."

Those missing songs may keep GREATEST HITS from being a dynamite collection, but it still features most of the heavy hitters that Smith created. And that alone should make for a nice entertaining collection on one of the most popular rappers in the 1990s. A lightweight rapper, perhaps, at least when compared to other artists of the genre, but one that sure had skills.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun Rap
If you are looking for a hardcore or gangsta hip-hop album, I suggest you look somewhere else. This album does not have any hardcore or gangsta lyrics on it. It's simply a rap CD done for fun.

The best part of the album is the fact that Will doesn't have to curse every second. Don't get me wrong, though. I would listen to any hardcore rap album any day. I just listen to this CD when I feel like relaxing, or when I want a break from all the new stuff that's hitting the shelves these days. The songs are just fun, laid back, and easy to listen to.

I have to say that the songs that are with DJ Jazzy Jeff are better than Will's more recent songs. "Parents Just Don't Understand" is my favorite song. It's about Will having troubles with his mom and dad because they have him where awful clothes to school and beat him to death after he picks up a runaway in a car when he doesn't have a license to drive! The song is hilarious! "Nightmare On My Street" is about Will being terrorized in his sleep by Freddy Kruger, who wants Will to join him in killing people. "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" is a track about Will getting into a mess 3 different times because of girls he meets. This one is pretty funny, too. "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air" is the full version. It's very catchy, as most who's seen the show will know. I usually rap along.

His more recent songs include "Just the Two of Us", which is a nice song dedicated to his son. "Will 2K", a nice song to dance to about the new millenium. "Miami" which states Will's love for the city Miami. Who can forget "Gettin Jiggy Wit' It" and Freakin it"?

There is also the songs made from his movies. "Wild Wild West", "Men In Black", and "Nod YA Head" are all nice songs to go with the movies he's starred in. Oh, and who can forget the summertime classic, "Summertime"? You have to play this in your car for the summer.

Like I said before, this isn't full of hardcore rhymes. It's just fun raps to chill to. Don't pick this up if your all about gangsta rhymin'. If not, and you welcome yourself to all types of rap, then give this a try. Personally, I prefer Smith the rapper over the actor.

5-0 out of 5 stars HOT ALBUM! ALL OF THOSE FUNKY HITS!
This album was long overdue! Credit should go to the person who compiled all of Will Smith's hits and the ones he did with Jazzy Jeff in his Fresh Prince persona. I can't stop playing "Miami", "Men In Black", "Parents", "Girls", "Freak It" and others. He even put the theme song of his hit sitcom--Fresh Prince of Bel Air on here! But I have been playing "Just Cruisin" a lot--very smooth, funky beat on that song! And yes, Will is hip-hop just as much as his competition, so his hard edges here fit with that clean image. I like his softer side on "Just The Two of Us" as he talks to his son. But this is a very dynamite album that covers his career fully both solo and duo.

5-0 out of 5 stars WILL SMITH IS THE KING OF JIGGY!
I'm the no.1 fan of Will Smith. Will Smith is off da chain. The Greatest Hits I loved. WILL, PLEASE COME OUT WITH ANOTHER CD!

3-0 out of 5 stars Would be 4 stars if...
it had "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper". Seriously folks, that old-school number is one of DJ Jazzy Jeff And the Fresh Prince's best. But I guess since this is just the best of Will Smith it was left off. Oh well. ... Read more

16. Tipping Point
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Asin: B0002A2WAY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1292
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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On their sixth album, the Roots backslide a bit on the creative promise they showed with 2002's Phrenology. Instead of expanding into more ambitious and experimental areas--the way Outkast has, for example--the Roots tend to fall back to basics with vigorous, but ultimately conventional, lyricism. There are definitely some truly great moments here: the album opens with near-magic on "Star," a mesmerizing song that is one of the finest of the group's career, and Black Thought is a one-man tour de force on "Boom!" where he mimics Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap down to their velour sweats. But The Tipping Point also has some of their blandest production ever, and, at 10 tracks (plus two hidden cuts), the compactness of the album makes the problem spots stand out more than usual. "I Don't Care" and "Duck Down!" in particular seem derivative and commercially tailored. The main thing missing here is an overall guiding concept, something the Roots have never lacked before. --Oliver Wang ... Read more

Reviews (56)

4-0 out of 5 stars Cut the Check! Refreshing and Solid. Not worth 5 stars.
I've been bumping this for the past 2 days, in digest mode so that I could write an honest opinion about my homeboys from South Philly, Snyder/Patterson Ave.... The Roots.

This is their 6th studio album and it looks like this time the boys decided to go back to the drawing board to create something that they're core fan base would appreciate. The album overall has that Illadelph Halflife studio production with that organic "Things Fall Apart" twist to it... and they abandon much of the live instrument sound that was prevalent on their last album Phrenology,,,which disappointed a multitude of long time fans including myself. This time Black Thought goes for the jugular with the pure lyricism that hip hop has been dying for. Honestly, Black Thought has always been sharp on the mic by far, but now he sounds more polished than ever, with an astonishing delivery. This is proven on the cuts "Web", "Duck Down", "Guns are Drawn" and "Star/Pointro" which intelligently samples Sly and The Family Stones' "Everybody is a Star". "Stay Cool" is another smooth jazz influenced track reminiscent of the early 90's hip hop...that uses the Maceo Parker horn's and Al Hirt samples that De La Soul used on "Ego Trippin pt 2". But the highlight of the entire album for me at this point is "Boom" where Thought brings the B-Boy back to the game.My jaw is still on the floor. Thought delivers the first verse for Boom as himself and then he transforms into Big Daddy Kane & Kool G. Rap for verses 2 and 3....Amazing! And he sounds exactly like them. One of the best aspects about the Tipping Point is that the album actually sounds like a full length project with continuity with an overall flow that's easy to digest. It will appeal to most of the underground cats...but leaves room for those floating in the mainstream....The Tipping Point offers balance but tips a little bit to the left which is good for hip hop today.

This album honestly sounds more like a Black Thought solo joint rather than a group album. It would have been great to have at least heard a track or 2 with the underrated Logan young bull Dice Raw. But for the most part it's the Black Thought show. The album could have used few more original concepts as well too. And sadly Malik B. seems to be officially out of the group. It would have been dope to see Malik reunited with the fam. If Malik B. would have offered his counter-punches this would have been pretty close to a classic. Songs like "Why" and "I don't care" take points away, because they sound too watered down.

This is definitely one of 04's best albums, arguably the best album of the summer to this point. Definitely worth the cheese. Real heads won't be disappointed. To sum it all up, If you've been supporting these cats since 93(Organix), you'll trully dig the album, and see that it's way more structured than the overated "Phrenology". If you just started listening to the Roots 5 years ago when "Things Fall Apart" came out or when "Phrenology" was released 2 years ago, you'll probably be dissapointed,,,because you see the roots as a band and thats it. The Roots are a multi-dimensional hip-hop group yall. They proved that they can produce through samples on Illadelph Halflife, which is arguably their best album. Those people that just want to hear a live band, go somewhere else, or go purchase Illadelph Halflife. A lot of these mainstream Roots fans seem to be only interested in them for the fact that they play live instruments...its funny to me because it seems as if these folks never digest one word that Black Thought spits out. The Roots are not tree-huggers or neo-soul yall...they are a well balanced hip-hop group and Black Thought is a dope MC and thats that. They can bring it live or through sampling and digging in the crates.
Tipping Point is more so for the real b-boys and b-girls and not the bandwagon cats.

P.S. Rahzel and Scratch are also absent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Think Illadelph Halflife..a little
This CD reminds a little of Illadelph halflife, following up after "Do you Want More?!?!?" we expected more Jazz/Layed back Roots but got hardcore Roots (if there is such a thing). Do not expect Phrenology Part II, there are no guest appearances (except for "The Mic" which sounds like Dice Raw), still no Malik B, no Erykah Badu, no Scratch or Rahzel, no Jill Scott. It's Black Thought all day, all the time. Maybe it's the solo album Black Thought was supposed to release which is good and bad as I do miss Malik B's complimentary verses on past Roots CD's and Scratch/Rahzel immitating musical instruments. There's also no "Radio Promotion" song like we had with "You Got Me" or "Break You Off".

Track Review:
1)Star- (Old R&B beat, maybe the hottest track)10/10
2)Duck Down- Ok, old school track 7/10
3)Don't Say Nothin- Current Video, beat is kinda weak, lyrics are tight 6/10
4)Boom- Featuring Black as Big Daddy Kane AND Kool G Rap 10/10
5) Somebody's Gotta Do It- Black Thought did it and I didn't like it 6/10
6) The Mic- Posse track about Girls (I thought Ol Dirty was singin the hook lol) 8/10
7) Guns are Drawn- Didn't Like the beat, lyrics are good. 7/10
8) I Don't Care- Sounds like a R&B/rock track, ewwwww 6/10
9) The Web- Sounds like an old Kane-like track 7/10
10) Stay Cool- Probably the second tightest track 10/10
11) Why- Is that "Slow Down" by Brand Nubian?? it's ok 6/10

Prepare yourself for different Roots (for the umpteenth time). Some will like it, some will wonder what the hell happened (again). I'm petitioning to bring back the M-illitant (Malik B).

5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best rap records of 2004
This may be the best hip hop record of 2004. Although it may not be the best ROOTS album (all of their albums are great), it is a great album nontheless. Whereas PHRENOLOGY was more experimental, the TIPPING POINT is more of a return to straight beats and Rhymes. Worth picking up

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW!
I've never delved into the Roots too deeply, despite being a hip-hop fanatic. This is album had me on the first listen. The album has a 70s soul throwback flavor which drips off each track. The lyrics are catchy and infectious. When I listen to "I dont' Care" I simply just don't care, as long as the bass starts rockin, drumline fadin' away...

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome`
Best CD I've heard in a long time... Rivals Phrenology ... Read more

17. Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life
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Asin: B00000AFF9
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4478
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Only an artist of Jay-Z's stature could have survived the indignity of In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, his stunningly poor second LP, and remain standing as one of the premier lyricists of his generation. Like Biggie did on Life After Death, Jay-Z diversifies his style here--with the Timbaland-laced "Nigga What, Nigga Who" and the dialogue "Coming of Age" (which revisits the young hustler from Jay-Z's first LP, Reasonable Doubt)--demonstrating that even when experimenting with flow, he can still crush his peers. Though the album falters notably at the end (the lazy funk of "Paper Chase," "Reservoir Dogs," and "It's Like That" could be safely cut without incident), Shawn Carter has nonetheless reclaimed his mantle as rap's leading don. --Jon Caramanica ... Read more

Reviews (353)

4-0 out of 5 stars Jay-z's best album
This to me is Jay'z best album, the last album I WAS a Jay-Z fan. I can honestly say there are no bad songs on the album(one borderline, I'll get to later). After this, Jay really fell off into the "MTV" pop section of rappers.Let me break down the album:
Hand It Down 9/10: I have NEVER been a Memphis Bleek fan, but he does great on the intro.
Hard knock Life 8/10: This was creative for its time.
If I should Die 8/10: He and Da Ranjahs do a good job
Ride or Die 7/10: DJ Premier produced this and it was Ok
Niggga What, Nigga who 9/10: timbaland's a genius
Money, Cash, Hoes 9/10: Suprisingly good beat from way overrated Swizz Beats
A Week Ago 8/10 :He and Too short do a good Job
Can I get A.... 8/10
Coming of Age 8/10
Paper Chase 6/10(borderline song from usually good tandem of Jay and Foxy Brown
Resivior Dogs 10/10: The gem of the album; six great verses from Jay, Beanie Sigel,The Lox and especially Sauce Money
It's Like That:7/10
It's Allright 8/10
Money Aint a Thing 6/10

So if you want good hip hop, get Reasonable Doubt,but if you want hip hop and pop get this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Really 4 1/2 stars but there's no rating for that
In times like these where Ja Rule and Nelly are considered hip-hop icons and Lil' Mo is considered a diva, it makes you wanna turn your pages back to 1998 where hip-hop was GOOD. Thus, here's Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life.

Like I said before, every OTHER album Jay-Z releases is a classic, starting with the unf**kwitable Reasonable Doubt. His lackluster second album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, with the exception of bangers like "Friend or Foe II" and "Where I'm From", doesn't even need to be mentioned. Thankfully, Jay-Z redeems himself on this album.

Haters may complain that Jay-Z watered down his flow and production to get some much-needed airplay and platinum plaques, but hey, rappers gotta eat too. Furthermore, unlike Vol. 1, Jay is more successful with making crossover jams without losing his gangsta. Take "Money, Cash, Hoes" where he explains that though people may criticize the hook of the song, he's a crook on this song. And "Hard Knock Life" has gutter lyrics but it's still being played on the radio.

If there's any flaw it's that Foxy Brown comes off like a Lil' Kim biter with her new nasal flow on "Paper Chase". That and the fact that there's so many guest stars on this album that you may forget whose album this is, but at the same time they make every song the more memorable. This album falls within the classics of Jay's Reasonable Doubt and his The Dynasty album (The Blueprint is aiight too, I guess...).

5-0 out of 5 stars Jigga Did IT AGAIN!!!
This Iz one of Jiggas hall of famers. Da best songs on there are.... ALL OF DEM!!!!!!!! COP That DISC. IF u a true Jay-Z Fan you'll get it and don't listen to everybody else who says that it's lame or some other junk like that. Make sure u get the album. Peace

1-0 out of 5 stars What happened Jay?
The first couple times I listened to this, Ithought it was pretty solid. But after a few weeks, the album just starts to blend together as one song. It all starts to sound the same, and since none of the tracks are that good to begin with, that's real bad. The guest don't really add much either, but Jay hardly outshines them. This cd is not, I say again is not, worth the purchase. Buy another Jay-Z album, this one is garbage.

2-0 out of 5 stars Jigga just DOESN'T represent here
So much has been said about this album, that Jay-Z was "completely in a zone, focused and creative" during the making of this album. After getting a few years of perspective on this album, how can ANYONE say that this album is EXCELLENT or BORDERLINE CLASSIC? How? This album might have sold many units, but top notch records sales DO NOT equal a classic album. Vol.2 Hard Knock Life was hailed by critics and fans alike as some of Jay-Z's best material. I "respectfully" disagree. Here's the COMPLETE review:

Album Highlights: Hard Knock Life, A Week Ago, Money,Cash,Hoes(w/DMX), and N**** What N**** Who. Every other song on this album is ABSOLUTE filler and it's not worth your time in listening to it.

Production: Thumbs in the middle, leaning towards down. Not the best production in the world. Timbaland and Swizz made the best tracks, Everything else is either poorly composed or mediocre at best(check Kid Capri's track).

Lyrics and Subject Matter: Thumbs in the middle, leaning towards down. Jigga represents on the tracks mentioned in the album highlights section. On everything else, lyrically, is not material to gloat about.

Originality: Thumbs WAY down. If Jay-Z would have done this album in a way like The Blueprint, it would have been better, but since NEARLY every song features another artist, this album loses SERIOUS points with me.

The Last Word: Not too much to say here that I haven't said already. Is this album worth buying for the four best songs? Certainly not. Jay-Z didn't slip up with In My Lifetime Vol.1. He slipped up here, and it shows. Overall, I can't seriously recommend this album. But if you consider this a must have of any type, be prepared to be disappointed. Otherwise, don't even bother. ... Read more

18. The Low End Theory
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000004X7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5096
Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

De La Soul are remembered as the premier Native Tongues posse, those rappers who got low-key, self-consciously thoughtful, and jazzy in the face of gangsta's hardcore threats. But A Tribe Called Quest may have been even stronger, especially on their excellent second album, the bass-thumping, heavily jazz-sampled The Low End Theory. According to the opening "Excursions," rapper Q-Tip's old man says the disc's jazz-rap "reminded him of bebop," and Q calls himself "prominent like Shakespeare." But if Charlie Parker had ever written poetic couplets and backed them with funky-drummer and Ron Carter-on-bass grooves this irresistible, he might have been as big as the Bard and Brother James combined. --David Cantwell ... Read more

Reviews (113)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hip Hop Tour de Force
In one defining moment, A Tribe Called Quest made a classic CD as well as opened possiblities to what Hip Hop (and music) could become. This makes the Low End Theory one of the most important Hip Hop CDs ever made. If the Native Tongues (De La Soul and Jungle Brothers) added fresh new colors to Hip-Hop, then A Tribe Called Quest were the Michaelangelo of their time and the Low End Theory was their Sistine Chapel. Check the Rhime, Vibes & Stuff, and Verses From the Abstract were all sounds that hip-hop fans had never heard before. The Tribe took obscure, yet masterful jazz abstractions and anchored them with heavy, low end beats. Add in Q-Tip's enigmatic flow and a game Phife (check him on Butter and Scenario) and the resulting music was more fun than Be-Bop and is still light years ahead of most of the hip-hop in your CD player right now. Never before had rap artists put in such work to fuse beats, melodies, lyrics, timing, and thought into a relevant musical effort as ecletic and stomping as this CD. As a group, a Tribe Called Quest raised the bar in Hop-Hop at a time when it needed raising (Hammertime, Young MC, anyone?) and for that, the heads are eternally grateful. The Low End Theory crystalized the the Tribe as legends in the rap genre and still makes a definitive statement about creativity, innovation, and artistry in modern music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the best rap album ever made.
You should not be reading this. If you don't own this album, read no further, just buy it now! You cannot go wrong with this disc even if you're only a casual rap fan. This is Tribe at its best. If you know anything about rap, you know that Tribe is as good as it gets and therefore their best is better than any other hip-hop CD available.

This album has everything you could want from A Tribe Called Quest. Q-Tip is almost perfect. Phife is not far behind, and Ali has never been better at laying tracks down. 'Nuff said about the group.

The two tracks that include guest apperances are better than almost all other rap collaborations out there. "Show Business" features Brand Nubian and makes it seem like they are part of the group.

"Scenario", on the other hand, is perhaps the best rap song of all time. The highly underappreciated Leaders of the New School are the guests on this joint. If it weren't for this song, Bustah Rhymes would not have the career he has now as a solo artist. Verse to verse, this song nearly reaches perfection. Phife's intro is spectacular (although out-dated with a reference to Bo Jackson). Charlie Brown (where are you?) follows with, in my opinion, a fantastic verse from the best voice around. Next is Dinco D with his super-fast delivery that was later rivaled by Das EFX. Q-Tip follows with the shortest verse, though not even close to the weakest. Then comes Bustah. If you don't know by now, don't waste any more time. Stop reading and buy it now. You won't be disappointed.

To wrap up, just get it if you don't have it. If you already have it, thank you for your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
If People's Instictive... was a classic, then this album was even better. It gave Phife Dawg a chance to shine in his own right (see "Butter") and Q-Tip was sounding better than ever, especially on "What" and "Verses from the Abstract". Everyone knows about the posse cut "Scenario" with Leaders of the New School (Busta and Brown rip it), but don't forget about another posse cut, "Show Business" with Lord Jamar, Sadat X and Diamond D. This posse cut is just as good as, if not better than, "Scenario".

5-0 out of 5 stars Flawless Perfection
These are some of the words to describe the Tribes second album I bought it and it is now one of my most listen to albums this thing is butter and the whole thing just blends and is smooth as a babies bottom are JJ Reddicks jumper you pick.As I said this is a perfect album and it even has jazz musisian Ron Carter live on some songs just flawless masterpiece.
1.Excurtions-This one is a classic song 10/10
2.Buggin Out-what a verse by Phife Dawg on this 10/10
3.Rap promoter-a smooth song Q-Tip does good nice 10/10
4.Butter-Phife got like 5 verses on the album this is great 10
5.Verses from the abstract-Just another classic on here 10/10
6.Show bussiness-This one is a posse cut 10/10
7.Vibes and stuff-no doubt this is no filler on here 10/10
8.Classic example of a date raper-also great song 10/10
9.Check the Rhime-Great by both of them a classic single 10/10
10.Everything is Fair-Great chorus on this album 10/10
11.We've got the jazz-what a beat for them 10/10

12.Skypager-Even this is not really even filler still smooth 10
13.What-Busta Rhymes should have been on here to his beat 10/10
14.Senario-The Banger of Bangers features L.O.N.S. 10/10
This is like illmatic in that it sounds like one big song 48 minute song this thing is great by Q-Tip and Phife Dawg
Lyrics 10/10 Production 10/10 X Factor 10/10 Style 10/10 Voice10
Music 10/10 Innovative 10/10 Classic 10/10 guest 10/10 Blends 10
Overall=100 wich means 5 Mic classic *****Classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Check the TRIBE!!!!
1991 was a GREAT year in hip hop. I was glad to see Organized Konfusion, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Main Source, and others drop GEMS. Also, A Tribe Called Quest with their second album. This album is one of the greatest EVER, and it's production(and lyrics as well) is what pushed it over the top. If you didn't feel the impact on their first album, you DEFINITELY felt it on this album. Here's the review:

Album Highlights: NO filler, but the HIGHLIGHTS are Check the rhyme, Buggin out, Butter, Show Business(w/Brand Nubian & Diamond D), Jazz, and Scenario(w/Leaders Of The New School).

Production: Thumbs up, Ali Shaheed's BEST production ever.

Lyrics and Subject Matter: Thumbs up.

Originality: Thumbs up.

The Last Word: The GREATEST album from the ATCQ catalog. Most artists' second album usually cannot touch their first, but the Tribe did it, and they did it in style and grace. A STRONG RECOMMENDATION for this album if you don't own it. Don't be left out on owning one AWESOME album. ... Read more

19. Reasonable Doubt
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00000HZG9
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2903
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Jay-Z's classic debut is a compelling reflection on his life as a hustler. It's invested with an uncommon complexity and candor that has noticeably faded in his later material. Armed with clever phrasing and sly deadpan wit, Jay-Z navigates indulgent romps ("Can't Knock the Hustle"), thought-provoking introspection ("Regrets"), and devastating street-corner soliloquies ("Friend or Foe") with savvy composure. The beats on Reasonable Doubt, provided by the likes of DJ Premier & Ski, are as irresistibly slick as his persona. "Brooklyn's Finest," his mic-passing session with his friend Notorious B.I.G., takes on a torch-passing significance in the wake of Biggie's death. That song, and the entire album, foreshadows Jay-Z's subsequent ascension to kingpin status. --Del. F. Cowie ... Read more

Reviews (155)

5-0 out of 5 stars 2nd Best CD Of All-Time
Jay-Z's debut album was a great one. I believe that this is the second best CD, behind 2Pac's All Eyez On Me and just barely beats Nas' Illmatic. There are many classic tracks on this CD such as Brooklyn's Finest (featuring Biggie), Can't Knock The Hustle (featuring Mary J. Blige) & Dead Presidents II. Coming Of Age, Feelin It, D'Evils & 22 Two's are also bangers on this album. Can I Live & Bring It On have some really hot metaphors in them. ("It gets tedious/ So I keep one eye open like CBS" from Can I Live)
If you are just starting a rap collection, or you want to hear some older Jay-Z, this is the album for you. I honestly haven't met anyone that ouldn't give this album 5 stars. My review is the 60th for this CD and everyone has rated it a 5. Must be some truth behind it.

Below is my track rating (1-5):
1. Can't Knock The Hustle - 5
2. Politics As Usual - 4
3. Brooklyn's Finest - 5 (One of my all-time favorites)
4. Dead Presidents II - 5
5. Feelin' It - 5
6. D'evils - 5
7. 22 Two's - 5
8. Can I Live - 5
9. Ain't No Nigga - 3.5
10. Friend or Foe - 4.5
11. Coming of Age - 5
12. Cashmere Thoughts - 4.5
13. Bring It On - 5
14. Regrets - 5
15. Can I Live II - 4 (The original is better)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Debuts in Hip Hop History
1996s Reasonable Doubt was the stunning Debut by Jay Z.This
album has the best of his rapping on it besides the guest appearances Jay Z at this time was a veteran Battle and Freestyle from Brooklyn he even beat Big Daddy Kane in a battle
wich is something he also Beat DMX in a battle it was the song
with Foxy Brown that made him a star but it is Dead President's
that is the Classic on here.Here are my reviews

1.Can't knock the Hustle f Mary J. Blige this one greeaatt 10/10
2.Politics as Usual-Good 8/10
3.Brooklyn's Finest f Notorious B.I.G.-Good but does not have
much rapping on it I have heard both do better 8/10
4.Dead Presidents !! he took a Nas sample and made it into a hot
song this one could be a Top 10 song ever.10/10
5.Feelin It-yes he was great Lyrics 10/10
6.D'Evils-DJ Premier Beat enough said 10/10
7.22 Two's-A Freestyle feel to it 10/10
8.Can I Live-Produced by Irv Gotti Later Bitched in 03
in the dreadfully horrible Rain on me Ashanti. 10/10
9. Ain't no _-f Foxy Brown only good thing about it is off
keyed Production other then that it sucks 2/10
10.Friend or Foe-I believe it was produced by Primo
11.Coming Of Age f Memphis Bleek awesome rapping on this song
the rapping is great 10/10
12.Cashmere Thoughts-I Liked 9/10
13.Bring it on f Big Jaz his partner in 88 10/10
14.Regrets-I likeed this one he talks about getting out of the
Hustling game 10/10
15.Can I Live !!-Not Great 4/10 only Bonus Track
I gave this album a perfect scor but remember to Also buy this with Illmatic at the store.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Jay-Z Album
This is a great, must have album! Every song on it is great but here is my top 5 songs:
1. Ain't No N*gga
2. Dead Presidents II
3. Brookly'n Finest
4. 22 Twos
5. Can I Live

4-0 out of 5 stars His greatest cd, but he bit a lot from other rappers
This was the definitive work to Jay-Z's career, but didn't even really get the credit he deserved. The lyrics were on point the album was a classic. But he did bit an anwful lotta stuff from other artists. He bit stuff from Nas, Az, Wu-Tang, Pac and Big and didn't give any credit to them. But then again this is the man who made biting acceptable to the general public. (the morons most of them are) He even bought the best outta Memphis Bleek, which sounds impossible. Too bad his best verse came on somebody elses cd.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Only Good East Coast MC Out There
No offense to people in the eastcoast, but in my opinion, I don't really like Eastcoast rap. But for Jay-Z, it's different. He has great lyrics, great beats & great flows. The best songs on this album are "Ain't No N****", "Dead Presidents II" and "22 Twos" Ain't N N*gga includes great Jay-Z vocals, and some awesome beats. With this album, Nas doesn't stand a chance against Jigga. ... Read more

20. All World-Greatest Hits
list price: $13.98
our price: $13.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000024LZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3664
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

The very epitome of "been there, done that," LL Cool J also has the distinction of having originated (or, at least, being the most proficient at) half a dozen rap styles. On the hits collection All World, all the phases are represented: he was "hard as hell" on 1986's "Rock the Bells" and again on 1991's "Mama Said Knock You Out"; on 1987's "I Need Love," he was the painfully sappy precursor to Boyz II Men, but he had the formula down pat for 1990's "Around the Way Girl" (and then he went sappy again on 1995's "Hey Lover," a collaboration with the Boyz); and 1988's "Going Back to Cali" found him stylin'. He's had his ups and downs and managed to produce only a couple of truly killer albums, but LL's first dozen years show that he's left his stamp on nearly every facet of the hip-hop world. --Randy Silver ... Read more

Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars This album will "crush you like a jelly bean".
In receiving this album you'll be blessed with 16 classic rap tracks from probably the greatest of all time. It starts off with "I Can't Live Without My Radio", the first track off LL's debut "Radio". THEN you get the most famous line of old school rap:"LL Cool J is hard as HELL!" It really takes you back. LL goes hard on tracks like "I'm Bad", and on 1990's "Mama Said Knock You Out". He takes on Kool Moe Dee with the diss-fest "Jack the Ripper" and "Jinglin', Baby", where he tells Dee to "pass the wine cooler you big black....". Of course, no LL album is complete without the slow, affectionate songs dedicated to the ladies. The first is "I Need Love", his first hit to top the charts, then comes "Around the Way Girl", which is possibly the best hip-hop ballad of all time. Then, big L chills with the classic "Going Back to Cali" and then on the upbeat "Boomin' System", all jams full of life today. This album will be played over and over again, mainly for the variety you get. The only downside is that 1989's "I'm That Type of Guy" is missing, and it is sorely missed. But songs like "Big Ole' Butt" and "Back Seat" make up for the egotism displayed on that track. Don't miss it. Crank "Mama Said Knock You Out" and then decide who's the G.O.A.T. LL's been through more bull than any other rapper, and "All World" is just a start of what is to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars GOAT? Maybe.
In 1987, I was nine years old and this older kid that I knew gave me a bunch of 45s that he had. One of them changed my life forever. The record was by this guy named LL Cool J and the song was "I'm Bad." It was the first time I'd ever heard a hip hop record and I've been hooked (obsessed?) for the past 15 years.

Uncle L has gone through several incarnations and I really don't like anything that he's done since MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT (except for the brief period when the lion was re-awakened by Canibus) but fortunately all the classics are here: "Radio," "Rock the Bells," "Mama Said Knock You Out," and of course "I'm Bad" showcase the self-proclaimed baddest rapper in the history of rap itself, while he still speaks to the ladies with "I Need Love," "Jingling Baby," "Around the Way Girl" and depending on how you look at it, "Big Ole..."

Yeah, LL Cool J in 2002 isn't the same that was LL Cool J in 1991, but nothing great lasts forever. But his work changed my life and I can always relive that with this.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good......But
One of LL's strongest suits is that he could take on all comers in the rap game, step his game up whenever and crush 'em (see Canibus). However, one diss record in particular got left of this compilation which was more deserving than "Jack The Ripper", and that was "Till The Break of Dawn" originally on the House Party 2 soundtrack. That record pretty muched sealed Kool Moe Dee's fate and put Ice-T in his place for even thinking he had enough lyrical skill to battle LL. Of course, since this LP came out in '97, I guess we'll have to wait for the song 4,3,2,1 as well as the ultimate diss that ruined Canibus's brief career on his G.O.A.T. LP. However, the remix for "Rock the Bells" is one of the most vicious singles ever released in hip hop and should have been put on this cd as well as the remix for "Doin it". I guess you can't have everything I suppose. But it's an okay compilation.

5-0 out of 5 stars DYNAMITE ALBUM OF LL's HITS!!!!!
I went and got this album when it came out in '96! Very dynamic album of his hits! He was RUN-D.M.C's stiff competition from 1985-1988, but he had his own agenda in rap. The '85 songs are still raw, the '87 music is still mesmerizing, the one '88 offering is still blistering, the '90s songs were all unique. He proved that rappers could do ballads and still keep their uptempo hardness with I Need Love. I saw him in concert last year and he really tore it up. Excellent revolving lights swirling behind him and his DJ was hot. He had the crowd on its feet too! He is a testament to longevity in rap and most of today's competition needs to use him as a model for their ongoing success. His songs are diverse and he's always challenging himself too with his songs. This is a dynamite album for its 73 minutes--he selected the right and best songs for this collection!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars THE WORLD OF LL.COOL J.


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