Jay-Z/ Reasonable Doubt

Every time you get into talks with heads about classic albums, you hear the same few albums every time. Illmatic, either Midnight Marauders or The Low End Theory, Resurrection, Reasonable Doubt, and a few other odd-balls. Lately though, I've been getting into lots of arguments about whether Reasonable Doubt is a classic album or not. I'm not the biggest Jay fan, but I do recognize the greatness of Dead Presidents II and D'evils. At the same time, I believe a classic album is one you can listen to from cover to cover without skipping any songs. Isn't that the case for Illmatic?
The biggest deterrent in this argument is the abuse of the word classic. To be a classic album, the album must stand the course of time. That's why I believe no album made after the year 2000 can even qualify to be a classic album. I'm not some stuck-up hip hop head who disregards all the music made today (just most of it). I believe One Be Lo's S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M. is one of the best albums ever made, but I won't call it a classic until it ages a few more years. Why is this important? Because as soon as a decent album comes along people regard to it as classic. I do enjoy MF Doom and Madlib's albums, but not all of them are classics! Jake One's White Van Music is not a classic! Give it some time, if it still sounds good in 10 years, then it can be a CLASSIC.
Now that's out of the way, why isn't Reasonable Doubt a classic?
  1. Sporadic production- Too many average instrumentals for a classic album. It really detaches from the overall playability. No one wants to have to skip 5 or 6 tracks on an otherwise flawless album.
  2. Second half blues- The first half of the album is amazing, but once you get past Can I Live, the album really drops off in quality. It doesn't even sound like the same album once you get past the half-way point.
  3. A great song isn't a great album- Dead Presidents II, Can I Live, and D'Evils are among the best songs ever made in this hip-hop genre, but a few great songs sprinkled in throughout mediocrity don't make a classic album.
Honestly, I love Reasonable Doubt, but it's just not a classic album. A few songs on the album are classic, but the album itself is not classic.
All arguments welcome.
Posted on 6:21 PM by Guy Fawkes and filed under | 5 Comments »

5 comments:

autumn said... @ October 26, 2008 at 8:36 PM

wow. this is cool. =]

gogoluver said... @ October 27, 2008 at 12:45 AM

Aint No Nigga- Opened is up to Foxy Brown. Yes, she might have fell off but that is not Jay-Z's fault.

Friend or Foe- "Ever...ever..ever...ever...ever...ever...come around here no more" is a common phrase spoken by hip hop heads. So that shows that songs greatness.

Coming of Age-

The deep sounds of the piano does it for me and the concept is greatness. Even Memph Bleek couldn't fuck this one up.

I could go on but that will take forever and I have my own blog to worry about. LOL.

Cathal said... @ October 27, 2008 at 12:12 PM

i think there is classics since 2000, heres a few possible contenders for classic status :

cold vein - cannibal ox
deltron 3030
j dilla - donuts
ghostface killah - fishscale (okay def not an all time classic but ill as fuk)
ghostface killah - supreme clientele
EL-P - Ill sleep when your dead
Madvillian - madvilliany
Quasimoto - the unseen

tell me wat u think man, am not sayin there all classics but at least 2 or 3 are!

Jordan said... @ October 27, 2008 at 1:11 PM

What this ultimately comes down to is definition of the term classic, which might be completely useless now.

About half the songs on Straight Outta Compton really aren't that good, but it's remembered and celebrated 20 years later because it undeniably changed the game. Whether you think this change was good or bad, it was important enough that we all have to acknowledge this album. Reasonable Doubt has at least stood the test of time, and people are as enthusiastic about it now as they were 12 years ago. If you want classic to work as this objective term, shouldn't that be enough? Like you can spend all day arguing with someone who thinks it's great without making it anywhere, since taste is subjective. The other option is to make the idea of a classic purely subjective, and in this case, your definition of classic doesn't have to be anyone else's definition. Personally as a child of the ipod generation, an album full of greatness with a couple misfires is more valuable to me than one that's merely really good all the way through. My favorite album is Ready To Die, yet when I listen to it I'll frequently skip Fuck Me Interlude, Respect, and Friend of Mine. The presence of these tracks doesn't bother me though, since I can control the listening experience myself.

SuPerMaN said... @ October 30, 2008 at 1:06 PM

cmon man r u serious? reasonable doubt is a classic. blueprint classic. black album classic.

all his other ones are not classics.