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Jay-Z – The Hits Collection: Volume 1

Jay-Z, The Hits: Volume 1

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

HIP HOP icon Jay-Z delivers the first greatest hits collection of his prolific career and confidently declares it to be Volume 1.

Packed with great hits and available in two formats, the album does actually help to show why Jay-Z has become such a prolific and respect artist in the genre, trailblazing a way to the top of his profession before relaxing into some great collaborations.

Hence, The Hits Collection – Volume One offers the iconic anthem Hard Knock Life from his 1998 release Hard Knock Life Vol.2, the club smash hit Big Pimpin alongside I Just Wanna Love U (Give It To Me), which serve as potent reminders of Jay-Z’s earlier material.

The Blue Print Vol. 1 track Izzo (H.O.V.A), featuring that lively Jackson 5 sample, provides the much needed punch and funk within the collection, while the artist’s memorable collaborations with R&B artist and now wife, Beyonce on 03 Bonnie & Clyde (from The Blue Print 2 – The Gift & Curse, as well as his much used Empire State of Mind, featuring Alicia Keys, also showcase his ability to mix styles with other popular contemporaries.

Empire State of Mind, in particular, swept the US upon its release, being used in countless advertising campaigns and soundtracks in various formats (including a stripped down Alicia Keys version).

But if ever there were any doubts as to Jay-Z’s ability to diversify his sound, then the Rick Rubin assisted and Grammy Award winning 99 Problems should help to dispel them, particularly as its rock backdrop probably helped to provide the catalyst for the artist’s extremely popular collaboration with Linkin Park – none of which, surprisingly, feature on this album (one of its few flaws). It also provided one of the undisputed highlights of his controversial Glastonbury set in 2008.

Further highlights (taken from the 2003 Black Album, include Encore and the Timbaland produced Dirt off Your Shoulder, while the collections comes right up to date with recent hits including Run This Town featuring Rihanna and Kanye West and D.O.A (Death of Auto-Tune).

A deluxe version of the release features five bonus tracks, including another collaboration with Coldplay’s Chris Martin (Most Kings), as well as a remix of Go Hard featuring T-Pain and Kanye West.

But no matter which format you opt for, this is a hip hop heavyweight collection of genuinely broad appeal that really does underline how Jay-Z has deservedly become such a music icon. It’s a fantastic memory trip and a great collection of tracks.

Download picks: 03 Bonnie & Clyde, Izzo (HOVA), Empire State of Mind, Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), Big Pimpin’, Dirt Off Your Shoulder

Track listing:

  1. Public Service Announcement (Interlude)
  2. Run This Town Featuring Rihanna & Kanye West
  3. ’03 Bonnie & Clyde Featuring Beyonce Knowles
  4. Encore
  5. I Just wanna Love U (Give It To Me)
  6. Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
  7. D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)
  8. 99 Problems
  9. Empire State Of Mind Featuring Alicia Keys
  10. Dirt off Your Shoulder
  11. Hard Knock life (Ghetto Anthem)
  12. Show Me What You Got
  13. Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)…
  14. Big Pimpin’

Deluxe version

  1. Young Gifted and Black
  2. Pump it Up (Freestyle)
  3. My President Is Black (Remix)
  4. Go Hard Remix-Jay-Z, Kanye West and T-Pain
  5. Most Kings Featuring Chris Martin