Mr. Richard’s Reviews: Jay-Z – IZZO (H.O.V.A.)

Jay-Z – IZZO (H.O.V.A.) (written by Jay-Z and composed by A. Mizell, Berry Gordy, Jr., D. Richards, F. Perren, Jay-Z, and Kanye West)

Jay-Z is a rapper that I always have mixed reactions about. I know that he and his Roc-a-Fella associates greatly influenced the industry and established many of the trends that pervaded during the late ’90s and early 2000s. However, his continuous beef with Nas and his egomaniacal effort to be the “best east coast rapper” at the time has now transformed into being the “best rapper” in general.

In terms of Jay-Z’s incessant reminders of his rags-to-riches glory, he is a brilliant marketer. This twelve inch, maxi-single in our collection is a great fit. Not only is it pressed on translucent blue vinyl, but this was a chart topper and a classic song to bump real loud, singing every word of the odd chorus.

Frank certainly heard this song playing out of his daughter’s six CD changer, boom box in 2001. Plus, as an original pressing, this is super collectible and he would have appreciated that.

Even though this track is from the now classic ‘Blueprint’ album, which was a direct attack on Nas (as previously mentioned in my review of “Rule”), I enjoy that it isn’t a diss at all. Jay-Z shouting out being born in Virginia and where he came from is not a preachy or overly prideful tune. I’m not fibbing when I say that I screamed in joy a little when I found this. So many memories come back when I rock out to IZZO, especially from hearing this song on the radio and singing it in its entirety to my mom while she drove crazy fast to get groceries or run to Marshall’s.

– Mr. Richard

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