Release date: May 12, 1998
Record label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
Taking cues from Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (1988), Jay-Z orchestrated the 60-minute musical film Streets is Watching as a way to connect several of his music videos—taken from his albums Reasonable Doubt, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, and the movie's eponymous soundtrack—into one semi-cohesive story. It's more a collector's item for fans than an actual work of cinema, but who's going to complain about its filmmaking merits when Streets is Watching also gave us one of Roc-A-Fella Records' best releases?
The disc allowed Jay-Z and Damon Dash the chance to showcase some of the label's lesser-known acts, like Christión and Diamonds in the Rough, yet, expectedly, its bigger draws are the album's greatest contributors. Hov himself scores with the Memphis Bleek-aided single "It's Alright," as well as "Only a Customer" and the posse cut closer "Celebration," co-starring Memphis Bleek and Sauce Money. Streets is Watching truly pulverizes, however, with "Murdergram," the sinister Ty Fyffe-produced three-headed lyrical death blow from Jay, DMX, and Ja Rule.