I always thought Jay-Z was one of the nicest emcees out there, even before he hit with “Ain’t No N-Word” and the “Reasonable Doubt” lp. I’m talkin’ ’bout the Original Flavor “Can I Get Open” days…. even when son was rappin’ like the Fu-Schnicks, if you were a true rhyme connisseur like myself you could just tell that this dude was taking schitt to another level. Yeah, I know y’all real heads out there will scoff since he ended up being a multimillionaire pop rapper-slash-record industry CEO… I gotta admit that as much as I myself am a fan of ya boy Young Hov, I will probably never forgive him for influencing the greatest rapper pound-for-pound EVER, Big Daddy Kane, to change his style from total perfection to some triplin’ up the word tongue twistin’ schitt. But regardless, my n***a Jigga paid his dudes and came up through those underground ranks (I ain’t gonna re-tell homie’s life story, y’all should know it by now and if you don’t you more than likely don’t care anyway). I didn’t even know until recent years that his first record was waaaay back in 1986 with the random rap classic “HP Gets Busy” by High Potent (so just how old is this dude for real??).
I really started paying attention back in I guess 1995 or so (probably even a little earlier) when I heard this joint “What’s In A Name” on a mixtape (was it Ron G? My man S&S? I forget stuff like this all the time… if you know, hit me on the comments and refresh my failing memory). A young lady emcee that I was doing tracks for at the time asked me who I thought was the best rapper and I told her “I dunno, it might be this dude Jay-Z… you know, the dude from ‘Can I Get Open'”. She just looked at me with a perplexed grill and probably thought I was high on something.
BTW, there was another unreleased cut by Jay-Z on that mixtape that I need… if you got it and can hit me with it I would be forever in your debt (not really, but I’d be your pal at least). I have the OG cassette somewhere but I don’t feel like looking for it. I really need to go through all my 90’s mixtapes… maybe one of these decades I’ll get around to it.