Now, today being the birthday of one of (if not) the greatest rappers of all time, Jay Z, a lot of people spend the day recollecting their first run-in with Jay’s music, how it developed their love of Hip Hop, and also how he was able to transcend the genre time after time. Much like what Elzhi & Fashawn did with their paying of homage to Nas’ classic Illmatic (Elmatic & Ode to Illmatic, respectively), no one thought that a tribute tape dedicated to Jay’s first album Reasonable Doubt would be in the works, but low and behold, Brooklyn’s own, Skyzoo announced that he would be collaborating with producer, Antman Wonder on his own personal ode that would be dropping on the 44th Birthday of the G.O.A.T. Did I mention that it’s free (or you can pay how much you’d like)? There’s absolutely no issue with this, because I feel like Skyzoo has continued to go unappreciated in Hip Hop because he’s not the most commercial rapper to come out of Brooklyn (if you’ve forgot, there’s an abundance of them). Skyzoo’s catalog is damn near flawless, going back to The Great Debater (the first time I heard him), and when you move on from that point, there is no drop off, so I encourage you to check him out for yourself.
As for this mixtape here, Skyzoo and Antman take a stab at recreating one of the best Hip Hop albums ever, and with particular attention to detail, the way that each beat was flipped to encompass the original style along with their own flavour, it was simply perfection (and that’s not necessarily a word I like to throw around, because nothing is truly perfect). The clash of sounds is what gives the Ode such a distinctive vibe, and if you didn’t hear Reasonable Doubt ever before, and you’re listening to this, just for laughs (or simply appreciation), listen to the original to take in where the craft is so detailed within this project. I actually happened to listen to RD today and although the Ode doesn’t recreate every song from the album, 9 tracks is fine enough, especially when you have tracks like: 22 Twos, Can’t Knock The Hustle, D’evils, Politics As Usual, Bring It On, Regrets, Can I Live, Feelin’ It, and Coming of Age being part of the collection. Overall, this mixtape was well done, and I imagine that down the road, other classic albums in Jay’s catalouge will be subjects to being paid in homage. I’m grateful that Skyzoo and Antman Wonder took the ambition to take on this task, because they really delivered. I’m sure if Jay comes across this, or even the die-hard Jay fans do, they’ll be satisfied. Check it out, and definitely enjoy.
That’s My Word & It STiXX