This song was dope since the first time I heard it.
First off, the beat is amazing. It’s hard as fuck. It sounds vintage, like it came straight out of a 90s rap portal. It’s nostalgic. I can’t believe this beat sat around Pete Rock’s studio for so long.
Although Kanye had two dope verses, Jay Z made this song his. The beat gave that 90s feeling to it, so Jay decided to take it back in his verse. He credits his mother to introducing him to music, music similar to Curtis Mayfield, who’s sampled in this song.
He paints a picture of his childhood. He would wear his pajamas while soulful records were heard through the home’s walls. He continues the walk through nostalgia as he remembers weed with seeds and Afros. He pays homage to the malt liquors and 40-oz bottle beer that are known characteristics of being in the ‘hood.
In all, the song is perfect. Kanye and Jay managed to capture the essence of 90s rap in a bottle and put in on record two decades later.
There’s no way you cannot fuck with this song. The beat makes your head nod. It’s soulful. The raps are dope. This is the epitome of a great rap record.