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The controversy seemed to be simmering down two years later (despite 14 then-pending child-pornography charges against Kelly in Chicago) and the two stars gave it another go. Kelly sings about sexing “pretty girls” from coast to coast — and specifically cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. If nothing else, the track delivers a needed response after Noel Gallagher disparaged his 2008 Glastonbury Festival headlining slot: “That bloke from Oasis said I couldn’t play guitar / Somebody shoulda told him I’m a fucking rock star.” (2004): An unnecessary revisiting of the stronger “Somebody’s Girl” from two years earlier. Kelly has been running what’s been described as an abusive and manipulative sex cult at his homes in Georgia and Illinois, according to an extensively reported Buzz Feed exposé? Aside from being a vehicle to showcase Amil, who already has two other appearances on this album, it really has no reason to exist. “Off That,” (2009): In the early 2000s, Jay-Z popularized and then killed the trend of wearing retro Mitchell & Ness jerseys in favor of another fashion fad: button-up shirts. It’s the only way to explain this silly Drake-sponsored attempt to buck some more trends — from Timberland boots to money showers at the strip club.Still, after “that VHS tape,” the title and subject matter of this generic song should’ve raised a red flag. The following year, Kelly was actually arrested in Miami after police found 12 images of a nude, underage girl in his Florida home. (2010): A charity track in support of survivors of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.He’d spend his time banging on the kitchen table at his 534 Flushing Avenue apartment, rhyming to the percussion he created.But as an adolescent, he put his hobby on the backburner and crack sales on the front.With the help of brilliant music minds like Kanye West, Just Blaze, and the Neptunes, Jay dictated the course of hip-hop and emerged as a keen songwriter who knew exactly how to maximize the strengths of his collaborators.He released his career-defining LP But Jay never really committed to his retirement.The verses are choppy and the song is mostly bloated with soundbites from older material.(2006): There’s some pretty harsh subliminal sniping at unnamed targets in the closing verse, but this song is probably best remembered as a hint of the impending release of “,” 11 years early. “(Always Be My) Sunshine,” (1997): Foxy Brown and Jay-Z’s glitzy follow-up to “Ain’t No Nigga” misses its mark, badly.
“Lookin’ at My S Dots” is fine as a one-minute short, but it would’ve dated the LP with of-the-moment references to NBA ballplayers Kenyon Martin and Shawn Marion.
He’d adopt a slower, more conversational pace for his 1996 masterpiece debut LP, , which took more than a few cues from the flashy rap aesthetic that Puff Daddy had been proliferating through his Bad Boy label.
The sound fit Jay just as well as one of Biggie’s oversized Coogi sweaters might have — there are hints of genius, but he was clearly still finding his voice and place in the art form. He released at least one project annually, while nurturing promising new talent like Philadelphia-based rappers Freeway and Beanie Sigel.
Blige–featuring track recorded to boost anticipation for their co-headlining Heart of the City tour that year.
You might believe him, if a usually high-energy Swizz didn’t sound so dry on this overall (1999): A lukewarm Roc-A-Fella family affair that unites Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z, and Amil.