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Jay-Z - MTV Unplugged Album Cover

Jay-Z - MTV Unplugged

Reviewed by
8.7
Jay-ZMTV Unplugged
Record Label: Roc-a-fella / Def Jam Records
Release Date: December 18th, 2001
Shawn Carter is known by many names – Jigga, Hov, and Jay-Z. At least, the latter is how most people know him, anyway. It’s arguable to say that Jay-Z is one of the most influential rappers to ever exist, and it makes sense that he’s one of the first rappers I’d get into. I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop, but I’ve getting into it more. I found a copy of Jay-Z’s MTV Unplugged album at Walmart for $5, so I thought I’d pick it up. It’s not a studio album, but I loved the concept of the album, so I thought I’d pick it up. Let’s just say, I enjoy this record quite a bit. The main record I enjoy this is that it’s not quite a live album, but not quite a studio album, either; it’s live because it was performed in a small audience, but that’s the thing, it was a small audience. It was a very intimate affair, and that’s why I like this. The second reason I enjoy this is because there are live instruments on this record, specifically by hip-hop the Roots, who are known now for being Jimmy Fallon’s band on his late night show. This was way before that happened, but regardless, the Roots are fantastic, so combined with Jay-Z, you can’t go wrong here. Basically, this is also kind of a compilation album to some degree, too. It features songs from Jay-Z’s albums up until 2001, so a few of his most popular songs on this album. And a few other musicians make some guest appearances as well, such as Mary J. Blige, and Pharrell. Despite not really being familiar with Jay-Z, this is a great place to start, because it features a lot of his most popular songs, and it’s a really cool idea, because it’s a live show performed in a very small audience. It’s a really cool album, but I’m mainly reviewing this in the sense that I’m not familiar with the original versions of these songs, but they’re not that different from these songs, rather, live instruments are used.

The album starts with “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and it begins with Jay-Z welcoming the audience to the show and the introductions and whatnot. It’s kind of a nice anticipation waiting for the actual album to start. Jay-Z even makes a few jokes about poetry readings and whatnot Once the song finally gets going, it’s really interesting to hear Jay-Z rap over organic instruments. Well, even just a rapper in general, because it’s really nothing I’ve heard before. It’s truly “unplugged,” and the idea is very genius. This was back when MTV was actually popular for music, not Jersey Shore. Despite being a live album, the production on this is amazing, which makes sense being Questlove himself produced this.

As the album goes on, it’s pretty straightforward, because Jay-Z is just rapping while the Roots play along. In between songs, Jay-Z will slow things down and speak to the audience, which is pretty cool. It’s nice to see a musician interact with the audience, and because this is a very intimate show, it’s nice to see him interact a lot with the audience. Third track “Girls, Girls, Girls” is a track I really like a lot. I mean, come on, this is a song that totally shows my love for women. Haha. Fifth track “Big Pimpin’” is probably the most popular song of his on the record, aside from “Can I Get A…” which is sort on here, and I’ll get to that in a minute. Most of these songs I’ve never listened to the original versions of, but that doesn’t mean I can’t review this, because these are songs. However, this album does make me want to check out Jay-Z’s studio albums. Anyway, after sixth track “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love),” which is one of my favorite tracks, the album goes into a rather strange direction, because it has three snippets of songs, meaning Jay-Z only performs a minute or so of a few tracks, “Can I Get A…” “Hard Knock Life (The Ghetto Anthem), and “Ain’t No.” They’re great, but he doesn’t perform the whole songs, which is kind of disappointing. After that, though, is the track “Can’t Knock the Hustle” with Mary J. Blige. This track alone makes up for that disappointment. This is amazing in every single way. One of the best tracks on the record hands down.

The last three tracks on the longest, which is kind of funny, I suppose; eleventh track “Song Cry” is a very “serious” song, in the sense that it’s very strange for Jay-Z, because this song deals with some very serious things, in terms of relationships and whatnot. He even has a spoken word part in the middle where he explains what the song is about, which is really cool. It shows that rappers don’t always talk about money and cars. Twelfth track “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” is a bit of the opposite, because it’s much more sexual than ‘Song Cry,” but it features Pharell, which is pretty cool, because a year later, he’d help produce (and appear on) Justin Timberlake’s first album “Justified.” Finally, last track “Jigga That N*gga / People Be Talkin’” is a really interesting track, because about halfway into the song, Jay-Z just kind of leaves and “People Be Talkin’” seems to be an actual song, rather than a “live” song. It ends on an interesting note, and it’s a nice hour-long live album. There’s not much to it. If you’re a fan of Jay-Z, you’ll dig this, hands down. It’s quite intimate and very down to earth, which I like it. It’s simple, but works very well.

Recommended If You Like Jay-Z but in a more intimate fashion.


Additional Information
Track Listing:
1. Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
2. Takeover
3. Girls, Girls, Girls
4. Jigga What, Jigga Who
5. Big Pimpin’
6. Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)
7. Can I Get A…
8. Hard Knock Life (The Ghetto Anthem)
9. Ain’t No
10. Can’t Knock the Hustle
11. Song Cry
12. I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)
13. Jigga That N*gga / People Be Talkin’



www.facebook.com/JayZ
This review is a user submitted review from justbradley. You can see all of justbradley's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 4 of 4
07:53 AM on 12/19/12
#2
ChaseTx
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Great album. Since you're looking to get into some deep hip hop, I recommend you check out Reasonable Doubt, then move straight on to The Blueprint. And if the extent of your knowledge of The Roots is their work on Late Night, you'd do well to go through some of their discography. A lot of great live-band hip-hop.

If I can offer a few tips on reviewing, it would help if you avoid dull statements like "this is an interesting song" or "I like this song because...". Instead, give the details of the song that make interesting and let the reader come to that conclusion. Also, avoid talking about the music from a first-person perspective -- instead of "I think", "I like", "I feel", give your opinions as firm, broad statements. Other than that, just avoid using so many sentence breaks and filler words like "honestly", etc. I can tell you really get the music and appreciate it on several levels, so just thought I'd give a few pointers to make for a more effective review. And obviously, it's easier to critique than to construct a well-written review, so keep it up.
11:52 PM on 12/22/12
#3
justbradley
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Great album. Since you're looking to get into some deep hip hop, I recommend you check out Reasonable Doubt, then move straight on to The Blueprint. And if the extent of your knowledge of The Roots is their work on Late Night, you'd do well to go through some of their discography. A lot of great live-band hip-hop.

If I can offer a few tips on reviewing, it would help if you avoid dull statements like "this is an interesting song" or "I like this song because...". Instead, give the details of the song that make interesting and let the reader come to that conclusion. Also, avoid talking about the music from a first-person perspective -- instead of "I think", "I like", "I feel", give your opinions as firm, broad statements. Other than that, just avoid using so many sentence breaks and filler words like "honestly", etc. I can tell you really get the music and appreciate it on several levels, so just thought I'd give a few pointers to make for a more effective review. And obviously, it's easier to critique than to construct a well-written review, so keep it up.
Wow, thank you for the kind words. That really means a lot, actually. Firstly, I do want to get into Jay-Z's discography. I picked this up for $5 at Walmart a few weeks ago, so I thought this was a good chance to start listening to his music, and I quite enjoyed it a lot. As for the Roots, I'm not too familiar with them, and Late Night is the first place where I even heard of them.

Anyhow, thank you again, and I do see what you mean. I'm not a perfect reviewer, but I really do get the music, and appreciate it on several levels. That's why I enjoy it, because I want to get my thoughts out there. Like I said, thank you for the genuine constructive criticism. Most people are quite rude, when it comes to criticism, and instead of focusing on the positive things, they just have to say "This is terrible!" and really won't explain why. So it really means a lot to actually have someone tell me what I should do to improve my reviews.
09:34 AM on 12/24/12
#4
cubine
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Didn't know this existed, I'm gonna have to find it now.

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