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MTV Unplugged: Jay-Z (Live)

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iTunes Review

Very few MCs could pull this off successfully, but then Jay-Z is not your average rapper. Crack shot musical accompaniment by the Roots doesn't hurt either, and together we get one of hip-hop's most pleasant surprises of 2001. Unplugged is all about the hits, loaded from start to finish with some of the best and most beloved songs from Jay's first six albums. There's really not a bad track on here, though standouts include the Nas-dissing "Takeover" (which features some dope interpolations of "Shook Ones Pt. II" and "Oochie Wally" just to drive the anti-Queens point home), and the reflective, tearjerker favorite "Song Cry." Philly chanteuse Jaguar Wright provides strong backing vocals throughout, and Mary J. Blige practically steals the show on the Reasonable Doubt-era gem "Can't Knock The Hustle." This album is a must-have for any fan of Jay-Z or the Roots, but is also an excellent choice for casual listeners who may be apprehensive about hip-hop or unfamiliar with the artists. Live rap records are extraordinarily rare, and usually undone by poor mixing and/or sloppy delivery, but this one is just about perfect — stellar musicianship, flawless lyricism, and good vibes all around. 

Customer Reviews

broke me into jay-z

i have to admit, i hated hip hop/rap for far too much of my life. i listened to this album when i was still just getting into hip hop, and i fell in love with it immediately from listening to the first track. though i admit, it was, and still is, the band behind him that makes me love this album. (the roots! they're great!) the only problem is the two best tracks are too short! can i get a and jigga what should definitely not have been cut short. other than that, it's great.

if you like jay-z's swagger

i've had this cd since it first came out years ago. it's a classic, i can still listen to it. and for the guy who said that the songs were cut short and to buy the album elsewhere... THIS IS LIVE, DUDE... do you own the cd? did you see the performance on MTV? that's the beauty of it, he takes a little bit and rides it into the next. and the roots too? aw come on, man... this is a winner!


Great album. All the Jay-Z classics performed live with The Roots. It can get better in the world of hip-hop. These are all great songs and they sound even better when performed with the support of a live band. Definitely one of my favorite Jigga's albums.


Born: December 4, 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...
Full Bio
MTV Unplugged: Jay-Z (Live), JAY Z
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