|Jay Z The Dynasty Roc Familia (2000-)
|Damon Dash, Rockwilder, Neptunes, Artist, others
|Snoop Dogg, Scarface, R.Kelly
|2000, 16 tracks
The latest from the Roc-A-Fella label is an odd "compilation" album that sounds more like a Jay Z album that happens to feature his labelmates. The Jigga man dominates most of the tracks while Memphis Bleek and Beanie Siegel are heavily featured and the other Roc-A-Fella artists to a lesser degree (and in the case of Amil this is a VERY good thing). "The Dynasty" follows in the steps of other recent Jay Z releases and once again we see the talented wordsmith with awesome mic presence waste it all on nihilistic wordplay alongside a gang of MC's doing the same thing.
While "The Dynasty" is less glitzy than his other releases and the increased griminess is appreciated, the constant careless and casual references to all kinds of negative bullshit get very tiring quickly. It's not witty, it's not clever and very little time is taken to justify or explain any of the materialism, bragging, drug talk, violent threats etc. A prime example of this shoddy lyricism is Beanie Siegel on "Stick to the script" where he rhymes "Slide a bitch what/Slide a bitch shit/Slide a bitch dick/Then I slide out a big shit". What the hell??? DJ Clue is also featured on this track and keeps his annoying shout-outs to a minimum and instead drops some nice cuts over the chorus - more of this would have been appreciated.
Not much of the production is worth mentioning, although Rockwilder does his thing on "Guilty until proven innocent". Snoop doesn't bring much to the party on "Get your mind right mami" but Scarface does add a ray of sunshine to "This can't be life" (one of the album's better tracks). A Jay Z album needs a gimmicky song with a sampled chorus and "Soon you'll understand" is it. This proves to be one of the albums' few high points with lyrics that actually sound heartfelt and show that Jay Z still has his story-telling skills intact somewhere. "Where have you been" is also pretty decent, again because it comes across as deeply felt and serious instead of plain trash talking.
No-one on "The Dynasty" delivers anything really remarkable, including Jay Z himself. Ultimately it is a disappointing, forgettable release that doesn't stand out from previous laconic Roc-A-Fella releases by the individual artists themselves. Hardcore Roc-A-Fella fans will probably disagree and lap this up while the rest of us look on, sadly muttering to ourselves. [4/10]