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The Hits Collection, Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition)

JAY Z

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Album Review

“Hits,” for the sake of this 2010 anthology, tends to refer to crossover singles, which might explain why it pays no attention to Jay-Z's first two albums, Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. The emphasis is on his pop-leaning singles that reached the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, beginning with 1998’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” and concluding with 2009’s “Empire State of Mind.” It doesn’t include every Top 20 hit — neither “Excuse Me Miss” nor “Young Forever” appear — and not every selection qualifies as a hit. For instance, the Black Album tracks “Public Service Announcement” and “Encore” weren’t even issued as singles, though the latter might be the stand-in for the Linkin Park collaboration “Numb/Encore,” which did hit the Top 20. Regardless, this is a decent overview, but it’s far from definitive and more a celebration of the man’s popularity, while also serving as a tie-in with Decoded, his memoir. The Hits Collection, Vol. 1 is lavishly packaged, containing a 32-page booklet of black-and-white photos. This might be the first time that a track list has used asterisks for the sake of denoting Grammy winners. [The second disc contains five tracks worth of deeper cuts and songs on which Jay-Z is featured.]

Biography

Born: 04 December 1969 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Embodying the rags-to-riches rap dream, Jay-Z pulled himself up by his bootstraps as a youth to eventually become the reigning rapper of New York City and, in turn, a major-label executive following his short-lived retirement from music-making. In the wake of his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z's albums sold millions upon millions with each release, and his endless parade of hits made him omnipresent on urban radio and video television. He retained a strongly devoted fan base and challenged whatever...
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The Hits Collection, Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition), JAY Z
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