Definitive Jay-Z Song List (Part 3) #25-1

#25. The Watcher 2 ft. Dr. Dre, and Rakim – I think this has to be the most “underrated” Jay-Z song of all time! Not a soul speaks about this track, but they definitely should!… Hov flows fatal on this one, not to mention it features two of hip hop’s most influential pioneers on it as well. These different elements combine to make this a song to remember…

#24. Never Change – This marks a Kanye West debut of sorts. Kanye’s voice appears on the hook of this song from 2001. He doesn’t rap, but it’s cool to hear his voice this early in his development as an artist. As far as Jay’s concerned on this track… It’s more of what you would expect from the Jigga of this era. Tight lyricism, and great storytelling are a couple words that come to mind…

#23.  Politics As Usual – I love the instrumental on this track! It gives the listener the feeling of cruising in their car on a cool summer day. Maybe I’m crazy for feeling that strongly about an instrumental, but that’s what I experience every time I listen this joint…

#22. Moment of Clarity – “If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli. Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense, but I did 5 mill’ – I ain’t been rhyming like Common since”. Those are the types of memorable “bars” you can expect from this Jay in this one. In almost anyone else’s catalog this track would probably be “top 10”, but Jay-Z’s a different type of MC…

#21. Brooklyn’s Finest ft. Notorious B.I.G – I have to be honest with you, i’m kind of disappointed with how this record turned out… I’m not saying this isn’t a good song or anything (it’s number 21 on my list), but this should’ve been an easy “top 5” considering who was involved. I wanted to “love” this track, instead of just “liking” it a lot…

#20.  Encore – MTV once came up with an idea to have the best rock group of the era (Linkin Park), and the best rapper of the era (Jay-Z), collaborate on couple of songs together so that they could then perform  a” once in a lifetime” televised concert… The results from this “experiment” weren’t terrible. The Linkin Park version of this particular song is tolerable, although I still prefer the original version by far…

#19. Izzo (H.O.V.A.) – One of the best Jay-Z summer anthem’s!… This song has one of those hooks that will get stuck in your head for hours after you listen to it. If this is a problem for you, you might want to skip this one.

#18. Empire State of Mind ft. Alicia Keys – I think the main reason why people tend to not like Jay-Z’s work after he came out of retirement is because of songs like this one. You could call it “selling out”, I wouldn’t call it that though. He got more “pop” the deeper he got into his career. Being married to the biggest “pop” star in the world probably impacted this trend somewhat…

#17. Dirt Off Your Shoulder – This one’s a “fan favorite”. People who know nothing about hip hop can recite every word of this song…

#16. What More Can I Say – Jay-Z was on “fire” when how wrote this one. Some of the punch lines in this song hit like a sledgehammer! You definitely can’t accuse Jay of “falling off” during the “Black Album era” because it’s simply not true…

#15. Can I Live – Rappers love this song, it’s been referenced in countless tracks over the years. It’s one of the often forgotten gems from Jay’s classic debut album…

#14. N*gga What, N*gga Who (Originator 99) ft. Jaz-O – Jay-Z reunites with his old “partner” Jaz-O for this uptempo jam. These two had a great chemistry “back in the day”, so as you would expect both rappers perform excellently together on this track. The hook is simple, but the flow is one of the most complex of Jay’s entire career…

#13. Streets is Talking ft. Beanie Sigel – “Streets is Watching” is basically the “original” version of this song. So why isn’t that “original” song on my list? For some odd reason, it is damn near impossible to find an unedited version of that song. Thus i prefer the “Streets is Talking” over the latter…

#12. U Don’t Know – The remix of this song with M.O.P. is one of my favorite Jay tracks as well, but i give the original the slight nod over that version due to the “strength” of lyrical content found within the original…

#11. Money, Cash, Hoes – The beat on this song is fucking crazy. This is one of the earlier beats from legendary music producer Swizz Beatz. With beats like this, it’s no wonder why Jay has continued to collaborate with Swizz over the last twenty years… 

#10. Heart of the City – You could tell Jay-Z was feeling bitter when he wrote this record. For everything Jay had contributed to the “Hip hop culture” up to that point, people weren’t giving him the same level of respect as some of his contemporaries. Namely 2Pac and Biggie. Jigga clearly felt some type of way about this, and voiced his frustration on this track…

 #9. D.O.A (Death of Auto-Tune) – This is the song that single handily destroyed T-pain’s career. Hov has a history of doing this to certain rappers. Mobb Deep and Busta Rhymes are a few names that come to mind…

#8. Where I’m From – “I’m from the place where the church is the flakiest
And n*ggas is praying to God so long that they atheist. Where you can’t put your vest away and say you’ll wear it tomorrow ’cause the day after we’ll be saying, “Damn, I was just with him yesterday.”… “Verse 2” of this song is one of my favorite rap verses of all time. Classic Jay here!…

#7. 99 Problems – Easily the best hook Jay ever produced! Producer Rick Ruben works his magic on this track, giving it that “old school Beastie Boys/Run DMC” sound Ruben is best known for. This makes “99 Problems” the “biggest hit” on Jay-Z’s “final” farewell album… Damn, that’s a lot of apostrophes…

#6. A Million and One Questions (DJ Premier Remix) – “I know what y’all n*ggas asking yourself. Is he gonna ever fall off? NO!”… This is my favorite Jay-Z song ever! Why?… Because it’s just a really good track. The “bars” are memorable, and the “freestyle” flow Jay is known for is as potent as ever here…

#5. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) – If you were to tell someone in the late 90’s that soon a song from the “Annie” movie would be the chorus of a chart topping hip hop single, they would probably think you were naive or just plain stupid. In reality this is what actually happened! Not just that, but it’s arguably the biggest record of Jay-Z’s entire career! Who could’ve foreseen that happening?!?…

#4. Takeover – A lot of “shots” were fired in this one. Not since 2Pac was alive had we seen this level of “savagery” on a track. Jay tried to permanently “bury” Nas and Mobb Deep with this joint… Hey it didn’t happen, but it wasn’t due to a lack of trying on Jay’s part. Oh and for the record, “Takeover” is better than “Ether”… Just saying…

#3. Big Pimpin’ ft. UGK – I think the “Big Pimpin’” instrumental would have to be considered the most “iconic ” instrumental of any Jay-Z song! There was no rapper who benefited more from the death of Biggie and 2Pac, then Jay-Z in the late 90’s. This song is synonyms with the “run” Jay had in this time period, where there was no longer any question of who “ruled” the hip hip kingdom. Adding southern legends UGK to the mix gave this record “mass appeal”, and probably Jay’s biggest hip hop record too date…

#2. Renegade ft. Eminem – When you think of  a”dream” track between the best rappers of an era, it usually sounds better in theory then it does in actual reality. This song right here, is a MAJOR EXCEPTION to that rule… Both rappers bring their “A” games here, which in turn creates the vibe of a real “competition” throughout the entire track. Both rappers want “the crown”, and neither rapper is willing to concede to their competition. So who winds up “wining” in the end? Most people would probably say Eminem took this one. Does this mean Eminem is a better rapper then Jay-Z? Hell the fuck nah…

#1. Dead Presidents II – When I think of “great” Jay-Z songs, this is usually the first song to pop into my head. I don’t think Jay was at his very best when he made his this track, but there was a certain level of ambition in the “Reasonable Doubt era”; that lacked in “2000’s era” Jay-Z, and beyond. Jay was still a major “underdog” to this point, and this was the song that really propelled him as an artist into the “mainstream” hip hop scene. Jay might not be perceived as the rapper he is today if it wasn’t for this very influential record…


The Definitive Jay-Z Song List Pt. 1: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/09/10/the-definitive-jay-z-song-list-part-1/

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The Definitive Jay-Z Song List! (Part 1) #75-51

#75. No Church in the Wild ft. Frank Ocean – “Tears on the mausoleum floor. Blood stains the Coliseum doors. Lies on the lips of a priest. Thanksgiving disguised as a feast. Rollin’ in the Rolls-Royce Corniche. Only the doctors got this, I’m hidin’ from police. Cocaine seats, All white like I got the whole thing bleached.”…

#74. The Story of O.J. – “But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for nine ninety-nine. I turned that two to a four, four to an eight. I turned my life into a nice first week release date, mm Y’all out here still takin’ advances, huh? Me and my n*ggas takin’ real chances, uh. Y’all on the ‘gram holdin’ money to your ear. There’s a disconnect, we don’t call that money over here, yeah.”…

#73. Otis ft. Otis Redding – “Photo shoot fresh, looking like wealth. I’m ’bout to call the paparazzi on myself. Uh, live from the Mercer, run up on Yeezy the wrong way, I might murk ya. Flee in the G four fifty I might surface. Political refugee, asylum can be purchased. Uh, everything’s for sale, I got five passports I’m never going to jail.”…

#72. Moonlight – “Fake Dracos all in the videos. We show ’em, we shoot ’em in my city though. I don’t post no threats on the Internet, I just pose a threat, blame Lenny S for that. I don’t be on the ‘Gram goin’ ham, Givin’ information to the pork, that’s all spam. Please don’t talk about guns, That you ain’t never gon’ use. Y’all always tell on y’all self, I’m just so f#ckin’ confused.”… 

#71. Hola’ Hovito – “One life to live – notice you get no sequel, So I truly got to live this like my last movie. Six oohie, jewels drippin, big toolie. I ball for real, y’all n*ggaz is Sam Bouie, And with the third pick – I made the earth sick. M.J., hem Jay, fade away perfect. I rhyme sicker than every rhyme spitter. Every crime nigga that rhyme or touch a mic because my mind’s quicker.”

#70. 03′ Bonnie & Clyde – “The problem is, you dudes treat the one that you lovin
with the same respect that you treat the one that you humpin. Now they ’bout nothin – if ever you mad about somethin, It won’t be that; oh no it won’t be that.
I don’t be at, places where we comfy at. With no be-atch; oh no you won’t see that.”…

#69. My 1st Song –When you think back, you thought that You would never make it this far, then you Take advantage of the luck you handed Or the talent, you been given. Ain’t no, half stepping, ain’t no, no slipping, Ain’t no different from a block that’s hitting. Gotta get it while the getting’s good, Gotta strike while the iron’s hot, before you stop. Then you gotta bid it, good riddance.”…

#68. Bam ft. Damian Marley – “I can’t take no threats, I got a set of twins. Those were just the words you’ll never hear again. For the final time you don’t believe these fools. I’ve never seen a worker rock so many jewels, I’ve never seen the runner with so many cars. Y’all couldn’t stop me, you’re not as tough as you say you are.”…

#67. Ignorant Sh*t ft. Beanie Sigel – “They’re all actors, lookin’ at themselves in the mirror backwards. Can’t even face themselves, don’t fear no rappers. They’re all weirdos, DeNiros in practice. So don’t believe everythin’ your earlobe captures, it’s mostly backwards.”…

 #66. Brooklyn We Go Hard ft. Santigold – “I father, I Brooklyn Dodger them. I Jack, I rob, I sin. Aw man, I’m Jackie Robinson. Except when I run base, I dodge the pen.”…

#65. Change Clothes – “I know the world glued you back to the wall, You gotta brawl to that. I been through that, been shot at shoot back. Gotta keep it peace like a Buddhist. I ain’t a New Jack nobody goin’ Wesley Snipe me.It’s less than likely, move back. Let I breathe Jedi Knight. The more space I get the better I write.(Oh) Never I write, but, if, ever I write. I need the space to say whatever I like.”…

#64. Kill Jay-Z – “You got people you love you sold drugs to. You got high on life, that shit drugged you. You walkin’ around like you invincible. You dropped outta school, you lost your principles. I know people backstab you, I feel bad, too But this “fuck everybody” attitude ain’t natural. But you ain’t the same, this ain’t KumbaYe, But you got hurt because you did cool by ‘Ye. You gave him twenty million without blinkin’. He gave you twenty minutes on stage, fuck was he thinkin’? “Fuck wrong with everybody?” is what you sayin’. But if everybody’s crazy, you’re the one that’s insane.”…

#63. Dynasty Intro – “The theme song to The Sopranos, Plays in the key of life on my mental piano. Got a strange way of seeing life like, I’m Stevie Wonder with beads under the doo-rag. Intuition is there even when my vision’s impaired, yeah. Knowing I can go, just switching a spare. On the highway of life, n*gga it’s sharp in my sight. Oh! Keen senses ever since I was a teen on the benches.”…

#62. Run This Town ft. Rihanna & Kanye West – “We are, yeah I said it, we are. This is Roc Nation, pledge your allegiance. Get ya’ll black tees on, all black everything. Black cards, black cars, all black everything. And our girls are blackbirds, ridin’ with they Dillingers. I’d get more in depth, if you boys really real enough.”…

#61. Lucky Me – “Swear to everything when I leave this earth, It’s gon’ be on both feet, never knees in the dirt. You could try me fucka but when I squeeze it hurts, fine We’ll lose two lives, yours and mines. Gimme any amount of time don’t let Ms. Carter grieve, At the funeral parlor drippin’ tears on my sleeve. Told the judge didn’t budge it was him or me. And I ain’t trying to be hard but I’m guilty as charged. Put my mercy on this court and my faith in God, And pray hard none of my nephews wanna be stars…Lucky me.”

#60. Guns & Roses ft. Lenny Kravitz – “Tote, more Guns then Roses, foes is, visibly shook of the invisible book, let’s go. Flowers need water to grow, it gotta rain. And in order to experience joy you need pain. Every time a baby is born, somebody slain. You know the saying, somebody’s loss is another’s gain. The sun comes out when the water goes down the drain. A rainbow then the cloud comes out we do it again.”…

#59. This Cant Be Life ft. Beanie Sigel & Scarface – “See I was, born in sewage, born to make bomb music. Flow tight like I was born Jewish. Used the streets as a conduit, I kept arms 38 longs inside my mom’s buick. At any given moment shawn could lose it, be on the news Iron cuffs, arms through it, or stuffed with embalmin fluid. Shit, I’m going through it, mom dukes too. Tears streamin down her pretty face, she got her palms to it. My life is gettin too wild I need to bring some sort kinda calm to it. Bout to lose it voices screaming “don’t do it!”.”…

#58. Already Home ft. Kid Cudi – “They say that I’m in the way, they want me to sit for them. But what they admitting is they ain’t got shit for him. And really the fact is, we not in the same bracket. Not in the same league, don’t shoot at the same baskets. Don’t pay the same taxes, hang with the same bitches. So how am I in the way, what is it I’m missing? Nigga I been missing, nigga I been gone. The shit that you just witnessing I been on. And as for the critics, tell me I don’t get it. Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it.”…

#57. Heaven – “Arm, leg, leg, arm, head – this is God body. Knowledge, wisdom, freedom, understanding, we just want our equality. Food, clothing, shelter, help a n*gga find some peace. Happiness for a gangsta, ain’t no love in these streets. Conspiracy theorist screaming Illuminati. They can’t believe this much skill is in the human body. He’s 6’2”, how the fuck he fit in a new Bugatti? Aw, f#ck it, you got me.”…

#56. You Must Love Me – “Still haven’t apologized, so please play this back. While I try to come to terms with such a heinous act. You know in more than one way cocaine numbs the brain. All I did was think about how the funds once came. Then I ran across this memory and it stung the brain. How can you ever destroy the beauty from which one came. That’s a savage you’re the reason why me and these beats make a marriage. Why I rhyme above average and I ain’t shit. Glad you got yourself together, no thanks to me. Strong and beautiful the way thangs should be. You must love me.”…

#55. All I Need – “Now understand we can’t be stopped. From blowin’ Swisher Sweets outta candy drops. Like we underground kings, ridin’ dirty. A n*gga been focused since I said hi to 30 (What up?). Young n*ggas, y’all can’t hurt me. Better watch and observe me. And learn how to earn better, I burn cheddar. I set fire to your empire. I blow smoke in your face, burn rubber off the rim tires.”…

#54. La, La, La – “Everybody’s like, “He’s no item! Please don’t like him. He don’t wife ’em, he one nights ’em!” Now she don’t like him, she never met him. Groupies try to take advantage of him, he won’t let ’em. He don’t need ’em, so he treats ’em like he treats ’em. Better them than me, she don’t agree with him. She’s mad at that, he’s not having that. So those opposites attract like mag-a-nets”…

#53. On to the Next One ft. Swizz Beatz – “Hov’ on that new shit, n*ggas like “How come?” N*ggas want my old shit, buy my old albums. N*ggas stuck on stupid, I gotta keep it movin’. N*ggas make the same shit, me I make The Blueprint”…

#52. Girls, Girls, Girls – “I got this indian squaw the day that I met her. Asked her what tribe she with, red dot or feather. She said all you need to know is I’m not a ho, And to get with me you better be Chief Lots-a-Dough. Now that’s Spanish chick, French chick, indian and black. That’s fried chicken, curry chicken, damn I’m gettin fat.”…

#51. Hovi Baby – “They say a midget standing on the giant’s shoulder can see much
Further than the giant (the giant). So I got the WHOLE rap world on my shoulder they tryin to see Further than I am (than I am). And I have been trying to be patient with they preoccupation With David and Goliath (Goliath). But sooner or later, that patience gonna run it’s course And I’m forced to be a tyrant (be a tyrant).”


The Definitive Jay-Z Song List Pt. 2: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/09/13/definitive-jay-z-song-list-part-2-50-26/

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