June 21, 2007

Drink Coasters: R. Kelly & Jay-Z - The Best Of Both Worlds (May 15, 2002)

Before I jump into the eventual Kingdom Come review, let's catch up with one of the offshoot projects of Shawn Carter. During the time between The Blueprint and The Blueprint 2: The Blueprintining, R. Kelly released a remix of his song "Fiesta", which just so happened to feature Jay-Z. (There were also two other rappers on there, but they seem to have been forgotten with the passage of time.) "Fiesta" was a hit on the radio, for good reason: it actually sounded good, in a "chicks can shake their asses to this, and guys can watch chicks shake their asses to this" kind of way. Jay had also featured Robert Kelly on the oft-praised "Guilty Till Proven Innocent", off of his own Dynasty album. At this point, you can almost touch the light bulbs that appeared over their respective heads.

The Best Of Both Worlds was an attempt to give the hip hop audience an entire album of "Fiesta"s, but the project took on the air of a horrible mash-up mix CD, layering Jay's rhymes over R. Kelly's songs, except for the fact that this was all original material. Shawn linked up with arguably his worst collaborators ever, the Trackmasters, and recorded his vocals separately from Kells. It turns out that R. Kelly recorded on his own time because he spent his nights pissing on teenage girls, so the album was hysterically released around the same time as the lawsuit. (I suppose that Def Jam and Jive Records (home of Britney!) truly believed that there was no such thing as bad publicity.) Shawn Carter then disappeared so fast, you could speak to his breeze. As such, The Best Of Both Worlds was released with no fanfare to a public who couldn't give less of a fuck than if R. Kelly was pissing on them specifically.

In this case, the public (amazingly) did the right thing, since this album is fucking gawdawful. There are twelve tracks and an intro (even this album had to have an intro?), and positively every single one of them sucks. Shawn's lyrics are lazy and unfocused (except when he's rhyming about sex, which is the main thread of this entire album), but this album doesn't suck because of Jay-Z. Yes, that's right, R. Kelly ruined the entire project, what with the ego, the pissing, and the complete lack of commitment. Honestly, it sounds like he truly believed that the public would buy anything with his fucking name stamped on it, so he recorded some of the dumbest shit ever, as if The Best Of Both Worlds was a practical joke on you. On "Take You Home With Me AKA Body" (one of the only songs I've ever seen with two separate titles included in the official title), Kells interpolates both his own "Your Body's Calling'" and Jay's "Ain't No N---a", lifting Shawn's rhymes damn near verbatim. (I'm sure Jay was flattered.) And it's not as if the song would have improved without it, but Kelly's chorus on "Break Up To Make Up" ("You and me, having sex, after an argument") is, bar none, the corniest shit I've heard all day, and I was listening to the radio today.

Shawn somehow blackmailed Roc-a-Fella cohort Beanie Sigel and close friend Lil' Kim into appearing on this abomination, and they don't fare very well, as you can imagine. The blogger's favorite, Houston's own Devin The Dude, was probably so blown out of his mind while recording his vocal on "Pussy" that he was probably shocked to see royalty checks appear with Def Jam's logo. Jay himself doesn't even bother to appear on "Naked", probably figuring that the homophobic hip hop community would question his appearance with another guy on a song with that title. Yeah, I'm sure he worries about that every time he imagines what positions to work Beyonce and/or Rhianna into that night.

None of these songs approach the level of greatness that "I Know What Girls Like" occupies (you didn't think I forgot about that song, did you?), but that shouldn't be read as any sort of endorsement. I'm not a fan of R. Kelly, but truthfully, the whole lawsuit thing has probably tainted my mind. Shawn Carter is still one of my favorite rappers, though, and everyone is entitled to a major fuck-up now and then. At least Shawn was smart enough to distance himself from this shit almost immediately. Shit, I don't even remember a fucking video being released. Avoid at all costs, but I doubt that most of my two readers are the type to rush out to cop this anyway.


Jay-Z - The Black Album
Jay-Z - The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse
Jay-Z - The Blueprint
Jay-Z - The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
Jay-Z - Vol. 3...Life and Times Of S. Carter
Jay-Z - Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life

Jay-Z - In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt

1 comment:

  1. At least they made a second record together. The worst part about all of this is that my wife actually liked the first one. God, I hate that record.