Reasonable Doubt Explicit Lyrics
Extra Tracks, Reissued
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Jay-Z, Reazonable Doubt, back by popular demand, classic debut album from arguably The Greatest MC Of All Time. This title has previously scanned 1.4 million units. 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 romp "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.
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
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The album is centered around the theme of hustling and the life of a hustler. Jay-Z had been living that life since 1988 and many refer to Reasonable Doubt as the Hustler's Bible, so to speak. It starts off with "Can't Knock the Hustle" with Mary J. Blige. The beat is perfect for the lyrics and Jay drops bombs. "Brooklyn's Finest" with BIG is one of hip-hop's greatest collaborations. Jay and BIG go back and forth and just tear the track to shreds. They come hard with metaphors, punchlines, and their sick flows. The beat is produced by Clark Kent. Now, my favorite track "Dead Presidents II" is just unbelievable. The production on this track by Ski is some of the best you'll ever hear. It samples Lonnie Liston Smith's "Dreams of Tomorrow" and compliments Jay's style perfectly. I would say this song is one of hip-hop's best (almost on the level of TROY). As for the lyrics go, it's basically about getting your money and going against all odds in order to acquire it. Another highlight for the LP is the Premo produced "D'Evils". Lyrically, this track is one of Jay's best ever. At the end of Jay's verse he says: "And even if Jehova Witness bet he'll never testify", need I say more? It would probably take several listens to understand all of the underlying lessons in this track. Basically put though, it's telling you to that you must be willing to do anything to accomplish your goals and dreams. Whether it be fame, wealth, or whatever. On "22 Two's", Jay-Z spits straight fire throughout the Ski-produced beat and if you pay attention you'll realize that Jay uses the word two/too/to 22 times on the song. Pretty clever. Another track I love is "Cashmere Thoughts". Some fans criticize the beat on this song but it's dope to me. Jay spits his verses in his laid back, smooth, mafia style flow. Check the lyrics: Eroll Flynn, hot like heroine/young pimps is thorough when I pimp through your borough and/I gotta keep your tricks in tact, cause I walk like a pimp, talk like a mack. "Bring it On" features Jay's mentor Jaz-O and fellow Brooklyn mc Sauce Money. The beat is amazing and is done by none other than DJ Premier. Listen to the verses on this song and prepare to be amazed. "Regrets" is a sort of melancholy track and Jay talks about that you have to learn to live with regrets when you live this lifestyle. The beat was an excellent match for the mood. It was the perfect clincher for the original version of Reasonable Doubt. The album ended on a perfect note. I can't think of many that ended better.
The only downside of the album is "Can I Live II". This track wasn't part of the original Reasonable Doubt, it was added as a bonus with the 1999 reissue. The song isn't bad but I just feel that "Regrets" ended the album perfectly and "Can I Live II" just ruins the vibe of it. It seems out of place and you can tell that it's not truly a part of Reasonable Doubt.
Bottom line: Many artists had touched on hustling before Reasonable Doubt but none went this deep into the subject. Jay really brought you the soul of a hustler on this LP and it is without a doubt his best work. It plays out like the musical version of a Scarface/Godfather type movie. Even an artist of Jay's caliber can't meet or exceed the quality of this LP again. It has a combination of great production AND lyrics unlike most of today's music which often has one or the other. This is one of hip-hop's masterpieces and I recommend it to everyone. Even the casual hip-hop listeners.
On the first track, Can't Knock the Hustle, all of Jigga's verses are straight fire!! With Mary J on the chorus, things don't get much better than this. The next track Politics as Usual comes off as a hot track as well. Now this next track is one of the best songs of the 90s. I'm talking about Brooklyn's Finest. On this track produced by DJ Clark Kent, Jay teams up with Biggie Smalls to deliver another track that is on fire!! Think about it, the two greatest rappers ever on a track together. My favorite line is when Biggie says:
If Faith had twins she'd probably have 2 pacs
Get it two Pacs . . .
Now this next track Dead Presidents II, is one of my favorite Jay-Z tracks ever. This one is so good that there's not much to say except that it is fire. Jay sampled the voice of Nas on this one and made a classic song. Not to mention that Ski hooked Jay up with one of the best beats in hip-hop history.
Feelin' It was one of the singles for the album and it is a hot track too. The next track is called D'evils. Many people may not agree with me, but D'evils is one of the best tracks on the album. For you to understand why I say this then you have to go back and listen to Jay's lines closely.
D'Evils - "Thinking back when we first learned to use rubbers
He never learned so in turn I'm kidnapping his baby's mother
My hand around her collar, feeding her cheese...Those lines were incredible.
Check out the track 22 two's. Jay is freestyling in a club and Ski laces him with another dope beat. Pay close attention and you'll realize that he says the word too, 22 times. Hence the name of the track. His next track Can I Live is another fire track. Damn Jigga rips this track. On Can I Live Jay said
"dreams of getting cheese, it gets te-di-ous, so I keep one eye open like CBS"
On Ain't No N---a, Jay is with Foxy Brown talking about sex. It's not fire, but is still a very hot track.
Next is Friend of Foe and even though it's short, it still comes off as hot. On Coming of Age Jay-Z introduces his protege Memphis Bleek and this track is pretty good too. These verses by Bleek are some of the best he's ever spit. Bring it On is also one of my favorite tracks on the album. This track features Jaz-O and Sauce Money. Regrets is a great track, Jay shows a little emotion on this one. He also shows some love for his mother. Can I Live II is a hot track. Jay rips the verse but the original Can I Live still comes off better.
Overall if you don't have Reasonable Doubt then you must not love hip hop. This is one of the best albums of the 90s and anyone who claims to love rap music must have it. It's one of those few albums that you can listen to from start to finish and not have to skip a track. If you want quality music then you must have Reasonable Doubt. I know that die hard Nas fans won't agree with this but this album is better than Illmatic for the simple fact that it has more tracks. Illmatic was hot from start to finish and this was too, except longer. This is one of those albums that never get old and can survive the test of time. This album is this reason why Jay-Z has the right to be king of New York after Biggie died. With the extremely inflated prices of cds today, this is one that is definitely worth the money. No weak or average tracks to be found on this one.