18 July 2016

SINGLE: Skyzoo - Friend Or Foe Pt. 3

Last month many websites and social media outlets were celebrating the 20th anniversary of Jay Z's debut LP, Reasonable Doubt. While many consider this his magnum opus, it was not an initial commercial success, although it did eventually reach platinum status in '02 (currently at 1.5 mill+). Again, we at BITM care very little (if at all) about record sales, but I bring it up because Jay Z is viewed as a commercially successful emcee. And of course this is all relative, because his "worst" album sales come from his last release, Magna Carta Holy Grail (currently at 1.1 mill+). But before his megastar celebrity status, and before all the records broken and awards received, he was just an emcee slinging his tapes out of his trunk in Marcy. Reasonable Doubt is my favorite Hov LP. Well, on most days, I could make that claim for the likes of Vol. 2, The Blueprint and The Black Album as well. But I digress.

The DJ Premier produced track "Friend or Foe" might not have the same name recognition as a "Can't Knock the Hustle" or "Feelin'" It, but it packs the same complex and layered bars found throughout Reasonable Doubt. "Friend or Foe[?]" is a question Jay Z asks people who are not crew. The track continues with Jay explaining to an out of town dude that he ain't to be crossed. Not only is Jay gonna take his work, but if he ever shows his face, Jay will be less than merciful.

Mr. Carter followed up the single with "Friend or Foe '98" on his second LP, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. The out of town dude did not head Jay's warning. After taking out a few of the dude's crew, Jay stands face to face with the dude (with a Jamaican accent) before he shoots him in the abdomen. This track ends Jay's two part saga.

Enter Skyzoo. 20 years after "Friend or Foe", Skyzoo drops another ode to Reasonable Doubt. Using the original Preem instrumental, Skyzoo gives us a very different point of view. Sky takes the track as autobiographical. In Sky's track, "Friend or Foe" is a real account of a real Jay Z, killing a real rival. The last out of town dude (with the Jamaican accent) that Jay shoots in the stomach is Skyzoo's father. Two decades later, the fatherless son grew up and has been plotting his revenge. Sky's metaphors run through Jay's entire catalog in a masterful tribute. The 20 year old Sky robs Jay, but before he does, he let's Jay who he is.

Peep videos for "Friend or Foe" and "Friend or Foe '98", and the track for Skyzoo's "Friend Or Foe Pt. 3".

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