10 years before Reasonable Doubt was released, Jay Z dropped his first single “H.P. Gets Busy” as a member of High Potent. He was running with Brooklyn cats like Jaz-O and Sauce Money at the time while trying to get a deal with a major, but none of them bit on his demo, so he ended up starting his own record label, and the rest is history.
Now, we have a more comprehensive glimpse of what early Jigga was like with these 11 songs that just popped up on Soundcloud. It’s labelled as Jay’s demo tape, though we’d have to ask Clark Kent, who produced a majority of tracks, or Matty C and Schott Free, the legendary Loud A&Rs who were handed Jay’s demo.
Nonetheless, above is 11 tracks that predate Reasonable Doubt, and they find Jay spitting silver-tongued rhymes over vintage break beats and samples. These have all been available in scattered locations previously, but now you can hear ’em in the form they were apparently intended to be heard in.