Jay Z’s Pre-‘Reasonable Doubt’ Demo Tape Surfaces
What if we were able to witness the beginning of greatness? What if we were fortunate enough to get a quick peek behind the curtain to see how one of the most celebrated rappers began? That question can be answered today (Jan. 14), as Jay Z's early demo tape (circa pre-'Reasonable Doubt') has surfaced online.
On this priceless gem of a demo tape, a young Hov can be heard using a sped-up cadence -- a very popular lyrical flow in the early 1990s when groups like Das EFX came out -- and dropping hundreds of quotable punchlines.
The lo-fi tape is 11 tracks-long and it's evident from the start that Jay had an amazing sense of diction and word clarity. Not to mention, his lyrical confidence at the age of 24 is mind-boggling.
On cuts like 'Under Pressure' and 'Broken English & Drug Selling,' a young Jigga talks about just leaving the drug game. On 'What's in a Name' and 'Pass the Roc,' Jay Z shows how strong he is at conceptual writing, as every line is devoted to the chosen topic, bringing the listener deeper and deeper into the song's subject matter.
You will also love the early East Coast-style production, along with the call-and-response hooks that were popular back then. However, the biggest treat is listening to Jay as his lyrics were still incredibly sharp back in the mid-90s.
"They don't be knowin' the way I be flowin' / When I be goin', I be running the track like Jesse Owens / I disrupt the natural scheme, the way that you do things, with a swing and have them rocking like Sting," he raps on 'Nuthin' But Love.'
Enjoy the whole demo tape below and witness how one of the lyrical greats got started in the rap game.
Listen to Jay Z's Pre 'Reasonable Doubt' Demo Tape