Most helpful critical review
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
For (Very) Casual Fans Only
on 4 December 2010
Nobody is being misled here; this album does indeed contain all of Jay-Z's biggest hits. Unfortunately, 'greatest hits' doesn't always mean 'greatest songs', and that's why I can't recommend this too heartily. There's some fantastic tracks here, no doubt; '99 Problems' and 'Big Pimpin' have phenomenal beats courtesy of Rick Rubin and Timbaland, and Jay is spitting fire over them, and the likes of 'Izzo (H.O.V.A)' and 'Empire State Of Mind' are classics in their own right as well.
But this record just does not contain the best of Jay either musically or lyrically; there's nothing from Reasonable Doubt, arguably his best album - I'd argue that 'Can I Live', 'Can't Knock The Hustle' and 'D'Evils' are better than anything on here, for a start, especially lyrically where Jay is incredibly poetic rapping tales of coming up hustling on the streets. The Blueprint is barely represented either, when tracks like the emotional 'Song Cry' and the Nas-killing 'Takeover' represent jigga at his absolute best.
Obviously, it's a natural drawback for this sort of compilation that it's going to omit stuff, but when the drab R'n'B-lite songs such as 'Run This Town' and '03 Bonnie And Clyde' are making the cut, and completely classic tracks from his back catalogue are missing out it renders this compilation both incomplete and unrepresentative.
Sometimes you can recommend Greatest Hits albums as an introduction to the artist, but this doesn't even serve that purpose, as it just doesn't paint a proper picture of who Jay-Z is. For every radio hit on Jay's albums there's always three or four brilliant album tracks, with great sampling, great flow and great lyrics. At best, this is a good album for people who only like commercial music that's easy to consume and full of hooks. Otherwise, The Blueprint is a far better album both in content and cohesion, as is Reasonable Doubt and The Black Album, so buy one of those instead and make your way into Jay's catalogue that way.