'Chapter One' represents the Jay Z story so far, taking a trip through his early work. Includes his smash hits, 'Hard Knock Life', 'Can't Knock The Hustle' (feat. Mary J Blige), 'Ain't No Nigga' & many more. In addition this import collection also features, 'Wishing On A Star', 'Sunshine', 'The City Is Mine', 'Imaginary Player', 'Money Ain't A Thang', 'Can I Get A....', 'Streets Is Watching', 'Money, Cash, Ho's' plus the bonus tracks 'Wishing On A Star' (D' Influence Remix), 'Can't Knock The Hustle' (Fools Paradise Remix feat. Melissa Morgan) & 'Ain't No Nigga' (Rae & Christian Remix feat. Foxy Brown). 17 tracks in all. BMG. 2002.
Jay Z's career thus far has been an object lesson in not giving up, as despite seemingly going nowhere with Roc A Fella records in the early days, he persisted until breaking through with "Hard Knock Life" and going on to team up with Def Jam. Loved and derided in equal measure, the song provided the springboard from which he would never look back. Chapter One
is a useful retrospective then, proving that he doesn't need to sample a sappy musical to produce music of a high quality. Taking tracks from Reasonable Doubt
, In My Lifetime Vol 1
and Hard Knock Life Vol 2
, of particular note is "Can't Knock The Hustle" featuring Mary J Blige
, an early example of his promise. A competent performance from Puff Daddy is also present, on "I Know What Girls Like", and "Can I Get A...." featuring Ja Rule
is a genuine foot stomper. Jay Z's rhyming, while never particularly inspired, is better than competent and always consistent, a rare feat in itself. --Chris Blenkarn