DJ Clark Kent chatted with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson about legacy, latest projects and differences between Kanye West and Jay-Z’s debut albums while on Scoop B Radio. Press Play Below To Listen!
Last week Jay-Z gave a pretty insightful interview to the New York Times’ Dean Baquet. In it, he discussed life, his body of work, U.S. President, Donald Trump and more.
Jay-Z also detailed the state of his fractured relationship with Kanye West.
“I [talked to] Kanye the other day, just to tell him, like, he’s my brother. I love Kanye. I do,” he told Baquet.
“It’s a complicated relationship with us. Kanye came into this business on my label. So I’ve always been like his big brother. And we’re both entertainers. It’s always been like a little underlying competition with your big brother. And we both love and respect each other’s art, too. So it’s like, we both — everyone wants to be the greatest in the world. You know what I’m saying?”
They bump heads as successful professionals, but you know what? They both came into the game doubted as rap artists.
Kanye West’s first album, College Dropout made it cool to be an educated, back-packing nerd. Remember how folks used to take their suit jackets and wear them with jeans and a fitted cap?
Dig this: Kanye faced difficulty being accepted as a recording artist in his own right by figures in the music industry. An excellent producer, West produced mega-hits like Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name” and even Ludacris’ “Stand Up.”
He also had a huge hand in Jay-Z classic “Blueprint 1” album.
But a solo career? Folks weren’t buying it back then. He was too clean. He defied the odds with his College Dropout album though.
‘Jesus Walks’ on a hip hop album? Who could forget ‘Through the Wire,’ his into to the world and a reflection after a car accident that almost ended his life as well as his career before it started. Don’t forget the song popped with a Chaka Khan sample!
Don’t forget ‘Slow Jamz’ using a pre-Ray Charles role Jamie Foxx. College Dropout was THAT Work!
The College Dropout debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 441,000 copies during its first week. West broke through the industry as a rapper when folks didn’t think he was a realistic sell, by being, well; himself!
Rewind to 1996: Jay-Z did the same thing.
LL Cool J was the standard. He had the flow, he had the longevity, he was marketable, he had the gym rat body and he had Def Jam backing him. If you weren’t LL Cool J-like, you weren’t getting signed.
Jay-Z wasn’t LL Cool J and wasn’t signed. Through a distribution deal with Priority, he released Reasonable Doubt.
Hov’s first album released on June 25, 1996 and had hits like: “D’Evils,” “Can I Live,” “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” “Ain’t No N***a” and “Feelin’ It.”
The album boasts appearances from Mary J. Blige, Foxy Brown, Memphis Bleek and the Notorious B.I.G.
Reasonable Doubt debuted at number 23 on the US Billboard 200, on which it charted for 18 weeks.
DJ Clark Kent produced three tracks on Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt: “Brooklyn’s Finest”, which featured Notorious B.I.G., “Coming of Age” and “Cashmere Thoughts.
“When you talk about Reasonable Doubt damn near anybody can relate,” DJ Clark Kent told me on Scoop B Radio.
“Very few Jay-Z albums are on the level of Reasonable Doubt. You can say Ready to Die or Illmatic, like really take a moment to think what was on the level of Reasonable Doubt, that was a Jay-Z album.”
Clark Kent has also produced for 50 Cent, Slick Rick, Lil Kim, Rakim, Canibus, The Notorious B.I.G. and Mariah Carey. He’d later produce My 1st Song from Jay-Z’s The Black Album.
Jay-Z often says that Reasonable Doubt was his favorite album. Many didn’t understand it and the complexities of it when it was released back then. It makes sense to many now. “ To me, the reason why I think that people had to get it later was because he made his first album at 27,” he said.
“And his whole life was on his first album.”
DJ Clark Kent added:
“If you’re 27 and the average rap fan is 18, when a 27-year-old is talking to you, you’re going to be lost. Plus, if you haven’t ran the streets and you’re 18 when you hear that album you’re even more lost. So you had to grow up a little and then go back and get it but once you do you’re like ok yeah this is it.”
So who’s first album was better? “Jay-Z without question,” DJ Clark Kent said.
“Kanye’s first best album was Graduation. Late Registration was good. College Dropout was good but Graduation was that s**t..”