At first you don't succeed, try again. That must be the motto Jay-z & R.Kelly live by, as the duo is back for a second time to reunite for the Best of Both Worlds. With the R.Kelly sex scandal taking place during the release of their first album, Jay & Kells never got the chance to promote their album and take it to the level they expected it to reach. Even though the album was bash by critics and fans alike for its one dimensional sound and sub par production, it still featured a plethora of catchy club bangers. Unfinished Business 2004 follows this pattern, as two years later nothing has changed.
With the Trackmasters once again handling the production on the album, Unfinished Business suffers from the same problems the first album was plagued by. With almost every track geared towards the club circuit, and the Trackmasters providing their usual assortment of lusterless beats, Jay-z and R.Kelly are left with nothing to work with. Unfinished Business 2004 is unfortunately one of the most predictable albums of the year with no replay or conceptual value.
A prime example of the duo's lack of chemistry can be seen on "Big Chips", as the assortment of light and heavy horns are uninspiring at best. As always, Jay flows seamlessly in and out of the beat, but even Jigga's lyrical performance on the track cannot save the day. R.Kelly lays out his usual blueprint with his crooning on "Feelin' You In Stereo", which is awkwardly placed in the midst of the album's barrage of club bangers. "Break Up" is a similar effort, as the duo's make up to break up tales leave much to be desired on all levels. In addition, the remakes of "She's Coming Home With Me" and "Mo' Money" featuring Twista should have been left on the last album, as both tracks are carbon copies of the originals.
The only attempts on the album that live up to the greatness Hova and Kells posses are few and far in between. "We Got Em Goin" featuring Memphis Bleek is one of the few songs that is able to bridge the gap between the streets and the clubs perfectly. The 80's throwback "The Return Remix" manages to do the same, as the legendary Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh drop by for one of the freshest remixes of the year. The street tales of "Don't Let Me Die" is the album's finest attempt, as the track is the most aggressive the duo has ever gotten.
When you have the king of Hip Hop and R&B together for not only one album, but two, most would assume the outcome would be monumental. But unfortunately, this Best Of Both Worlds combination has been anything but memorable. Generic song making, horrendous production and a complete lack of conceptual material has ruined both of Jay-z & R.Kelly's albums, and one has to question why the duo even attempted to fix what was already broken on the first album. Not to be overlooked however, is the choice to let the Trackmasters produce both albums entirely. With producers such as Kanye West, Timbaland, The Neptune's and Just Blaze at their disposal, why Jay & Kells are infatuated with the Trackmasters is a mystery in itself. Nevertheless, let's hope Jay and R. Kelly's Unfinished Business remains unfinished, for both parties sake.