Jay Z would like everyone to believe that Reasonable Doubt is a lot more of a ‘classic’ than it actually is. Granted, ‘Ain’t No Nigga’ was an unstoppable behemoth of a single, and there was a certain charm to hearing S. Carter’s early musings over Ski and DJ Premier beats, but in no way, shape, or form did it even approach the buzz and impact of Ready To Die, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Illmatic, or The Score when it was first ushered into the world. As Jay’s star has risen, Reasonable Doubt has come to be regarded with higher esteem – a look back at the ‘salad days’ before Swizz Beatz, Timbaland and that horrible ‘Sunshine’ single. As part of this continued attempt to re-write history, an RD-themed pop-up event took place in New Yitty where Hova stans were able to purchase Mary J. Blige throat lozenges, a letter of rejection from Steve Stoute regarding Dame Dash’s request to get a Nas feature, and milk cartons with Jaz-O’s photo on the side. Might I suggest some more interesting classic rap records that would make for a more entertaining novelty shop?
Because who wouldn't want to cop some lavender-scented candles from Drake's "Take Care" store?
01. Screwball - “Y2K: The Album”
The final chapter in the legacy of great nineties Queensbridge music, Screwball were led by Blaq Poet and were responsible for the likes of ‘H-O-S-T-Y-L-E,’ ‘FAYBAN’ and ‘Who Shot Rudy?’ Potential merchandise might include the baseballs with giant screws in the middle (as depicted in the group logo), ‘I Shot Rudy’ t-shirts (I’m pretty sure a variation of these existed back in 1999) and a pop-up book with a scale map of Queensbridge houses.
02. Black Moon - “Enta Da Stage”
The one and only time that Buckshot actually held my attention for an entire long-player, I’d argue that the remixes and b-sides that this album spawned were more interesting than the album itself. That being said, it presents an ideal opportunity for Timberland, North Face, and Carhartt to offload old deadstock to kids currently reliving their mid-nineties lifestyle synergy dreams through Timz ‘N Hoodz checks. Not to mention that the ‘Who Got The Props’ video was one of the first clips to showcase the ‘backpacker’ look. Somebody get Jansport on the phone, stat!
03. Roc Marciano - “Reloaded”
A record that’s absolutely jam-packed (if you’ll pardon the delicious pun) with food references, both literal and metaphorical, Marcy’s superior sophomore solo effort has all the ingredients (whoops) for a pimp-themed pop-up cafe specialising in chicken and biscuit meals, seafood platters and assorted meatball dishes, complimented by an extensive bar serving pina coladas and fine cognacs, all topped off with fresh fruit bowls filled with grapefruits, Georgia peaches, and strawberries.
04. Kwame and A New Beginning - “The Boy Genius”
Hardly an essential LP by anyone’s standards, I suggest Kwame deserves a pop-up shop if only for the opportunity to bring back the polka dot craze for 15 minutes and redeem his good name after being forever besmirched by Biggie Smalls. I mean if high-top fades made it back why can’t hideous spotty shirts and blonde tips?
05. Jeru The Damaja - “The Sun Rises In The East”
Some bright spark at Payday Records already thought of sending out bars of Jeru soap to promote the mighty ‘Come Clean’ single, so why not expand on the range to offer a full selection of balms, lotions, tonics and talcs for the ultimate bathroom experience? Plus the shop can offer some type of medical cream to treat all those alleged yeast infections that girls wearing tight jeans always suffer from. Jeru’s words, not mine!
06. Drake - “Take Care”
Perfect for Mother’s Day gifts and Sad Boys alike, the Aubrey pop-up offers lavender scented candles, patchouli bubble bath, and pedicure sets for those miserable Saturday nights when all you want to do is cry yourself to sleep in the bathtub and wake up Sunday for an avocado facial mask and orange caramel Frappe.