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Off Your Shoulder 5:34
Big Pimpin/Papercut 2:35
Jigga What 1:04
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Jay-Z at Live 8
Jay-Z (aka Jigga, HOV and Hova) born Shawn Corey
Carter on December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York is an African American
rapper/hip hop artist and record label executive; Jay-Z, one of the most
popular and successful rappers of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Besides
pursuing his own career, Jay-Z was one of the founders of Roc-a-Fella
Records, a successful hip-hop label which also launched the careers of
Beanie Sigel and Kayne West. Known for his metaphoric lines, freestyling
abilities, crafty wordplay, and blending of street and popular hip hop,
Jay-Z became one of the most respected rappers in the music industry before
announcing his retirement from recording in 2004. Jay-Z was later appointed
the new president and CEO of Def Jam.
In 1997, Jay-Z's follow-up, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, peaked at #3 on the
Billboard album charts, and helped establish his career and mainstream
success. In spite of the success, Jay-Z's image was tarnished by what
his core audience perceived as pandering to mainstream audiences with
a more pop-friendly sound. The next year, Jay-Z released Vol. 2: Hard
Knock Life, continued this evolution towards a pop-oriented market. This
included several huge singles, including "Can I Get A..." (featuring
Ja Rule and Roc-a-Fella artist Amil), "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)",
"Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originators '99)" (featuring Jaz-O and
Amil), "It's Alright" and "Money Ain't a Thang" (with
In 1999, Jay-Z released Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter, which was
another big hit in spite of continued criticism for his pop-oriented sound,
and a large roster of collaborators that many felt crowded out Jay-Z himself.
His next album, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, was originally intended as
a collaboration album with many guests from Roc-a-Fella's roster, including
Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Amil, as well as Scarface, Just Blaze,
R. Kelly, Kayne West, The Neptunes and Snoop Dogg.
Jay-Z's, 2001, The Blueprint is considered to be one of the best hip hop
albums produced thus far. Although it never surpassed Reasonable Doubt's
status in the hip hop community, The Blueprint contained a balanced blend
of street credibility and mainstream appeal, and received recognition
from both audiences. Eminem was the only guest artist on the album, appearing
on the track "Renegade". Jay-Z's, The Blueprint also includes
"Izzo (HOVA)", a top ten hit, and "Takeover", a song
which puts on blast rivals Prodigy of Mobb Deep and Nas. The latter responded
to Jay-Z with both an underground single entitled "Stillmatic"
and a track, "Ether", on his 2001 LP Stillmatic, and the pair's
resulting rivalry became one of the most talked-about subjects in the
hip hop community. The feud between Jay-Z and Nas escalated until 2003,
when the two MCs ended their rivalry peacefully, with most Radio personalities
and the streets saying Nas came out on top.
Two side projects followed Jay-Z's, The Blueprint: a late 2001 MTV Unplugged
album called Jay Z: Unplugged (featuring The Roots as Jay-Z's backing
band), and a collaborative album with R. Kelly, Best of Both Worlds, in
2002. Jay-Z's next solo album was 2002's The Blueprint²: The Gift
& the Curse, a sprawling double-album which included the Top 10 single
"'03 Bonnie & Clyde", a duet with his girlfriend, Beyoncé
Knowles of Destiny's Child. The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse
was later reissued in a single-disc version, The Blueprint 2.1, which
retained half of the tracks from the double-album.
In 2003, Jay-Z toured with 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Sean Paul while finishing
work on what was announced as his final album, The Black Album. The album
featured the Top 10 singles "Change Clothes" and "Dirt
Off Your Shoulder", one of a number of Jay-Z singles produced by
In 2004, an a capella special edition of The Black Album (which sported
a red CD cover) was released with the intention of allowing others to
create remixes. The most controversial of the ensuing remixes was by DJ
Danger Mouse, entitled "The Grey Album". It combined the a capella
version with instrumental samples of The Beatles' White Album. DJ Danger
Mouse was sent a cease and desist order from EMI, The Beatles' record
company, due to illegal sampling. As a result, many copies were destroyed
and an original is now a rare find.
Jay-Z and R. Kelly released a follow up to their Best of Both Worlds album
in October 2004 entitled Unfinished Business, which includes 11 previously
unreleased tracks by the duo. This release was timed to coincide with
the Best of Both Worlds Tour, which played half of its dates before being
cancelled in November 2004 after R. Kelly accused Jay-Z's entourage of
On June 18, 2004, Jay-Z appeared live with the jam band Phish at KeySpan
Park in Brooklyn, performing some of his hit singles with the band.
On November 30, 2004, Jay-Z released Collision Course, a collaboration
with Linkin Park. It features remixes of
songs from the rock band's two studio albums, Meteora and Hybrid Theory;
and also several from the rapper's albums including his latest, The Black
Album. It debuted at #1 in the US Billboard Album Charts, #12 in Australia
and #38 in the UK. The lead single "Numb/Encore" debuted at
#14 in the UK, and remained on the chart for nearly six months.
On January 3, 2005, Jay-Z was appointed the new President and CEO of Def
Jam Recordings. Damon Dash had left Roc-a-Fella Records in late 2004 to
pursue other ventures; the label will be retained as a Def Jam imprint.
This article about Jay-Z is posted under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia
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