Tuesday, April 2, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 121


Jay-Z, R. Kelly join forces; compilation includes nine hits

Cougar Entertainment Services

Sex scandals, beef with fellow rappers and countless bootlegging did not stop the debut of the long awaited hip-hop/r&b collabo,
The Best of Both Worlds. This album features the two most popular artists from both hip-hop and r&b, Roc-A-Fella's Jay-Z and Jive's
R. Kelly.

Both names are synonymous with chart-topping, Grammy-winning hits and the two make an effort to continue their reign as rap and
r&b kings with their new release.

The Track Master, Tone, who plays referee between the two artists and accomplishes diversity with his mixture of Latin acoustics,
Motown flavor and up-tempo beats, produces every track.

The album welcomes you to The Best of Both Worlds with its title track that knocks out competition with its Rocky-inspired beat and
inspirational lyrics. The song allows both artists to display impressive performances, but Kelly shines when he takes a break from
the common love song to sing thuggish verses.

Round two comes hard with "Take You Home with Me a.k.a. Body," a tribute to the female anatomy with an up-tempo beat sure to
keep your head bobbin'.

The party-type beats are continuous throughout The Best of Both Worlds until the album takes a break to slow down in "It Ain't
Personal" and "The Streets," displaying classic Jay-Z lyrics.

"It Ain't Personal" is an emotional tune directed to all the haters we used to call friends and "The Streets" uses a spiritual and
inspirational method to guide endangered youth to a better way.

R. Kelly's classic sound takes over in "Naked," a solo depicting Kelly's legal sexual fantasies. It works to show thugs need love too,
but seems out of place on this album.

Lil' Kim makes an appearance on "Shake Ya Body," a club tune encouraging everyone to dance. Jay-Z's label mate Beanie Sigel
collaborates on "Green Light," a mixture of hardcore lyrics with a rock 'n' roll beat.

The only downside of this album comes when R. Kelly tries to battle Sisqo through his songs; it seems petty because of the
differences in their style and cheapens R. Kelly's talent.

You definitely won't skip any songs; the beats and lyrics will keep you listening. Unfortunately, none of the songs will make you say,
"Damn, that's the jam!" But as a whole, The Best of Both Worlds is jamming. 

Both artists fit well together and produce an impressive album of both hip-hop and r&b. With a little improvement, the next one will be
a classic.

Jay-Z and R. Kelly

The Best of Both Worlds

Jive Records/Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella

4 stars

Becky Proctor

Daily Cougar Staff

The Grammys has one; now Soul Train has jumped on board.

MCA Records has released a compilation of Soul Train-nominated artists including Alicia Keys, Usher and Missy Elliot. The CD itself
is nothing special lacking any original material but it does bring together nine of the hottest, baddest tracks of 2001,
engineered by Don Cornelius. The remix of Alicia Keys' earth-shattering hit "Fallin'" gets things started with Busta Rhymes lending
his trademark growl to formulate a flowing hip-hop version of an already masterful song. "Fallin'" is nominated for two awards
including Best R&B/Soul Single, Female.

Angie Stone's "Brotha," nominated for the same award, is an ode to strong African-American males.

Usher, who was nominated for two awards, contributed "You Remind Me" and Jagged Edge and Nelly's "Where The Party At" adds a
dash of urban funk to the compilation. Throw in Fabolous with Nate Dogg's "Can't Deny It" and Elliot's smash success "Get Ur Freak
On" and you've got a rather enjoyable album. 

The only missteps of the compilation are the last two The O'Jays' "Let's Ride" and Donnie McClurkin's "That's What I Believe." The
two tracks were obviously included to provide a break from the overplayed radio material. 

For a first-time compilation, Soul Train did a decent job of giving audiences a taste of what the Soul Train Music Awards show is all
about. But the anemic nine tracks of this year's album doesn't give music buyers their money's worth.

Various Artists

Soul Train 2002 Music Awards

MCA Records

2.5 stars

Jake McKim

Daily Cougar Staff

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