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"The Dynasty: Roc La Familia" was released as the fifth Jay-Z album and came out in 2000. The album itself isn't truly a solo effort as it was originally planned to be a project designed to showcase the talent of his record label's roster with the likes of Memphis Bleek, Freeway and Beanie Sigel, who all make prominent appearances. It also finds him bringing in two people now known as super-producers for their work in Hip Hop as Just Blaze and Kanye West take care of a fair bit of what goes on here.
2. "Change The Game"
After getting an introduction that sounds as though it was recorded before they decided that this was to be a Jay-Z solo record, we see that we're pushed into a freaky tune and one designed to get over in the clubs. Seeing that Rick Rock is given the chance to offer the beats, you know that it isn't hard for him to make things work and we find that he really does all that's needed to get the rappers (Jay, Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek) in the mood to deliver hype rhymes.
3. "I Just Wanna Love U"
The album's lead single and a track that has The Neptunes taking control, we see that here we get a killer piece where Pharrell gets up on the hook and makes things have a very summery vibe with the beats that he brings with N*E*R*D's Shay Haley and then raps from Omilio Sparks. It's a very complete tune and as a result was the perfect choice in one of the tunes to act as promotion towards getting this album release attention.
4. "Streets Is Talking"
We see that here Just Blaze gets back on the beats (after having composed the introduction) and we see that he comes up with an innovative style that would soon take over the game. Once you're over the power of the beats, we find that we're given an intense piece from Jay-Z as he rhymes as a representation of the streets with a little help from Philly's Beanz, and they make for more material that shows that the album is going to have a lot to get excited about within it.
5. "This Can't Be Life"
We have the first Kanye West-produced tune on this one and with the soulful samples and the stripped-down feel of it you can see that it's just the sort of thing he used by the time he made his debut as a recording artist himself. He seems to do a great job at setting up the foundations for the rappers (in this case Jay alongside Houston's Scarface and Beanie Sigel again) as they get the job done on a rather dark one.
6. "Get Your Mind Right Mami"
We see that things roll away nicely as Rick Rock gets back on the beats and as we've gone over to the West Coast to get the beats, we find that the producer brings another rapper along with him as here he pulls Snoop back with him and all together (with Memphis Bleek) we see that they do a smooth one that makes the most of each artist as they speak on how they can please their girls.
7. "Stick 2 The Script"
We find that with this one we're given a pretty generic East Coast Rap piece from this time at the start of the '00s. We find that here Jay-Z used some classic Run-D.M.C lines to help him along the way and to show where his influences have come from before he comes to rhyme about what he's about. We see that he speaks on how people are often made to go off-track by letting girls take up their time and prevent their hustle from being as strong as it could be.
8. "You, Me, Him and Her"
This one has Jigga working with Amil, Memphis Bleek and Beanie Signel as he comes to show just how strong his label is at this point and just how much talent is found within it. I felt that it was a nice piece and one that gives you the opportunity to hear stuff from artists who would never see the same exposure that Jay would and so he gives them somewhere to get themselves heard in the mainstream for a brief stint.
9. "Guilty Until Proven Innocent"
Although is one dropped as the third single to the album, I have to say that I really can't remember this one getting to much attention. I'm surprised that this was the case as Rockwilder comes with an impressive set in the beats and takes things to the clubs, and from there R. Kelly takes control of the hook and gets you excited about just how big the names on this one are and just how well they seem to work together here.
10. "Parking Lot Pimpin'"
We see that this one really bumps away and reflects the fact that the Millennium period was seen as a chance to really change up the game and reinvent things with a fresh sound and much more time spent appreciating the material goods that they had accumulated (rather than focusing-in on violence and all the other things that gave this style of music a bad reputation from the late eighties).
We get a bit of a different tune here as we see that Memphis Bleek shows that he's actually capable of more than just rapping and he comes with a grungy beat to accompany himself on a solo piece. I thought that this one had quite a bit to offer the listeners and I expect that many would have been into this if they were down for this kind of East Coast Rap from around this time. However, some may disappointed by a lack of Jigga.
We have Bink! Taking over the beats for this one and he seems to take on the sort of classy style that Just Blaze and Kanye have both offered at earlier points on the record. I thought that it suited the style well of the artists who come to do their thing here as State Property's Freeway and Beanie Sigel rap with Memphis Bleek on a pretty general tune that doesn't particularly do much here on the release.
13. "The R.O.C."
Just Blaze shows just how versatile he is here as he comes out with a tune that sounds as though it had been done by a West Coast-styled beatmaker like DJ Battle Cat, Jelly Roll or Rick Rock. From there we see another pretty nice tune and one that has a lot going on within in it as we get another chance to see more of how well the rappers (other than Jay-Z on Roc-A-Fella work when they perform.
14. "Soon You'll Understand"
We have Jay-Z returning to things here and we find that with it we get him taking full control and not getting any guests in to assist him. I have to say that as I can't really claim to be any real fan of his, I thought that it didn't really help things out that much as we see that we get some rather typical stuff out of him where he's said to have deep lyricism, but gets away by just presenting this and not making a very complete tune where this is balanced by nice beats and a general likeability.
15. "Squeeze 1st"
We get more Jay-Z solo stuff here and as Rick Rock decides that it's about time for more club material. I thought that this was a nice one from him and we see that they combine together to make material that I'd expect a wide range of listeners to really get excited about as he uses some classic B.I.G. lines as inspiration, and from there he builds a full tune where he rhymes about his intensity.
16. "Where Have You Been"
The album ends with a track that has Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z doing their thing together. We see that they drop a cold one and a piece that has the pair of them rhyming towards their fathers (one's that weren't in their lives for too long). I felt that it was a thought-provoking one and the personal information is likely to appeal to those who are really into these two as people, but I can't say that it was really my thing.
This was quite a significant album from Jay-Z. I can see why the lack of him personally gathered it a little criticism (when you consider that few have as much to say, that you'd like to hear, as him) and so it does hold it back a bit, but you have to take on the fact that he packs in some big tunes to fill it out and get the most out of it. Its inconsistencies are what make it not as strong as it should be and by having the album polarised with good ones to start and then weaker ones towards the end seems like a bad move to whoever put it together.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro - Jay-Z
2 Change the Game - Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel
3 I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) - Jay-Z
4 Streets Is Talking - Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z
5 This Can't Be Life - Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z, Scarface
6 Get Your Mind Right Mami - Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Snoop Dogg
7 Stick 2 the Script - Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z
8 You, Me, Him and Her - Jay-Z
9 Guilty Until Proven Innocent - Jay-Z, , R. Kelly
10 Parking Lot Pimpin' - Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek
11 Holla - Memphis Bleek
12 1-900-Hustler - Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek
13 R.O.C. - Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek
14 Soon You'll Understand - Jay-Z
15 Squeeze 1st - Jay-Z
16 Where Have You Been - Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z