The ROC Files, Vol. 1 (Def Jam) Rating: NN
On Jay-Z's alleged swan song, The Black Album, the rapper taunts, "We'll see what happens when I no longer exist." The ROC Files, Vol. 1, a compilation of almost hits from Roc-a-Fella's stable of would-be Jay-Zs, including Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, and Freeway, is a pretty fair portrait of what happens now that Jigga's no longer around. This bizarro mix of dated whangers (the opposite of bangers) from obscure Shawn Carter-involved albums will force you to realize the Roc needs Jay-Z like an airplane needs an engine. Come on, Beyoncé, you've had your fun - quit hogging him. Rap needs Jay-Z back now.