A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in the grand scheme of rap, Jay-Z's songs are fairly mild -- including those featured here. Though they offer their fair share of swearing and more than a few mentions of drinking, drugs, and sex, they're still a far cry from the super-hardcore lyrics found in a lot of rap tracks. For teens who are rap fans, this collection of songs is a better choice than most of the rap music out there.
What's the story?
After a music career spanning nearly 15 years, iconic rapper Jay-Z has finally released his first greatest hits album: THE HITS COLLECTION VOL. 1. The record includes 14 tracks, from newer tunes like "Run This Town" to old favorites such as "Hard Knock Life." To say these songs are tame would be a stretch, since they include a decent amount of profanity, sex, and substance use. That said, the tracks are far less offensive than much of the rap on the airwaves, lacking the intensely violent and aggressive overtone that so often accompanies this genre. For teens who love rap, this record is a good alternative.
Is it any good?
It's hard to hear the words "good rap music" and not think of Jay-Z. The artist has earned a reputation for being one of the most talented rappers on the scene -- and these songs demonstrate why. His delivery is spot on, and you can't help but sway to the beats that back his rhymes. Particular highlights here include "Empire State of Mind," his scorching duet with Alicia Keys, and "Encore," featuring guest vocals by John Legend and Kanye West, among others.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Jay-Z achieved such tremendous success without sinking to the explicit depths of some of his peers. What qualities about Jay-Z have contributed to his huge popularity?
What lessons can other rappers learn from Jay-Z as they try to establish their own successful careers?