Hip-hop holiday on the horizon. It’s Reasonable Doubt’s 20th anniversary this Saturday! Merry Jay-Z to you. This is where we are. Celebrating one of undisputed greatest to ever do it. To think this album is most people’s introduction to Hov. It’s only been 20 years. My how time flies. An album that only sold 420,000 copies its first year out now the foundation of a modern day dynasty. (Ming not Carrington) Do your Googles kids.
I listened to the album in one of my favorite music spaces, the shower, with the F. Murray Abraham impressionist guiding me from track to track, making me feel like I could successfully escape a motel room I was tied up in and a lady was about to sever my body with a chainsaw. Listening to a young man, confident yet jaded by an old life, but being green to an impending one. Deciding to pursue his innate talent with words, and to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt he belonged atop the rap Mt. Rushmore.
From “Politicss as Usual” to “Can I Live” Jay’s debut album was riddled with quotables and double entendres he’d come to be known for. Telling us to buy and not lease cars, vividly painting the sacrifices made for survival. A role generally considered the villain, Jay gave views into a hustler’s heart, a hustler’s conscience. He pulled back the covers to expose men who had souls, families, responsibilities, and liked to show off.
In hindsight, the story couldn’t not be written any clearer any more perfect, but at the time RD wasn’t the catalyst that shot Jay to fame. For the time, 420,000 albums sold was considered a failure in music. Despite the setbacks, and the pressure laid upon him after Big’s death, he managed to pave his own road, and succeed to heights unimaginable to most. There was no Jay-Z before him for which he could model. Nobody’s designed like him. He designed himself.
So on Saturday, while you’re driving around your respective cities and or towns. Show love to the big homie. Revisit all Jay has done, for all of us. Teach a youngin about RD. Tell them why it matters. Tell them why it’s important.