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GeoReview: Jay-Z In Fade To Black
by Clayton Ruley

Jay-Z is one of the most influential rappers ever and he will continue to show his presence in the game as the President of Def Jam.   For now though, Jay-Z has retired and being an artist takes a backseat to his other endeavors.   Luckily for the world, you can catch Jay-Z in Fade To Black, a Hip Hop documentary about Jay-Z's huge retirement concert at Madison Square Garden in November of 2003 with a collection of his thoughts and comrades and some of Hip Hop's well-known artists like Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, R. Kelly, Common, Kanye West, Beanie Sigel, Slick Rick, P. Diddy, Ghostface, Timbaland, Dame Dash and Pharrell to name a few.


Narrated by Jigga himself, you see him listening to beats for his The Black Album, talking with colleagues about the rap game and pressures of being and artist and selling records as well.   You get to see Jigga do songs from all his albums including hits like „Can't Knock The Hustleš, and „Where I'm Fromš and you hear artists you know well expound on why Jay is in his current position.


Several cool points are when Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest points out that too many people on the streets try to do him and do it wrong and when a young rap artist said he doesn't even want to rap about the guns, drugs, sex and money but it's what the people buy and support it seems.   Lastly you actually get to see Jay-Z question himself and his friend for his lyrics and it's effects on the street.


Overall this movie was very good.   While it covered little in time it gave you a chance to hear Jay-Z talk and not just rap. You got to see his process in the booth, the first time he heard the beat from artists like Timbaland and Kanye and his meeting with Rick Rubin that eventually produced „99 Problemsš.   Of course he doesn't dwell on the negative like his battle with Nas but that is in the past and this movie and the concert is a show for good times and Jay-Z, also one of the film's Executive Producers, brought out his whole team of friends/business associates out for this film.   The DVD special features like:   The Story Behind „Fade To Blackš, „Encoreš Music Video , and one deleted scene.


I'll give the film at 4 globes. It was solid and it gave you more of what Jay-Z the artist has meant to the big dollar industry called Rap and to people he knows or doesn't know.  

Any questions or comments please direct them to Clayton at


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