Song of the Day #4,512: ’99 Problems (Live)’ – Jay-Z

Every time I do one of these Decades theme weeks, I highlight a celebrated rap album from the year in question, hoping it will make a big impact despite my aversion to the genre.

For 2003, the lucky record is Jay-Z’s The Black Album. And I’m sorry to report that it fared about as poorly as the rest.

Rap just isn’t my genre, and even Jay-Z’s “farewell” album, widely praised as one of his best, can’t change that.

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Song of the Day #4,251: ‘Bled White’ – Elliott Smith

The Random iTunes Fairy chose an Elliott Smith song exactly one week ago, and now she’s back with another.

Hearing those songs back-to-back gives a great glimpse at how much Smith’s sound evolved over the three years between his acoustic self-titled 1995 album and XO, the expansive album featuring today’s SOTD. His Figure 8, released in 2000, went even further down a path of baroque instrumentation and production.

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Song of the Day #1,872: ’99 Problems’ – Jay-Z

jay-z_black_albumI feel like I have an adequate working knowledge of most artists considered among the greats. I own or have owned albums even by performers I don’t care for, such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

But it occurred to me recently that I have absolutely no familiarity with the man many critics and fans consider the greatest rapper of all-time — Jay-Z.

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