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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Best Jay-Z Song “Features” of All Time!

#10. Jay Electronica – We Made It ft. Soulja Boy – Can You believe that “Soulja Boy” was “on” a classic hip hop track with Jay-Z? His only contribution to the song is saying “We made it”, but the sh*ts still really hard to fathom…

#09. Drake – Pound Cake/ Paris Morton Music 2 – This song makes me wish Jay-Z, and Drake were still cool with one another. Both these guy’s have a habit of making alot of “enemies”, so it should come as no surprise that these two have been in a “cold war” essentially since the inception of this track. I think the beef stems from who has the “bigger pool”, but I can’t even remember at this point…

#08. Scarface – Guess Who’s Back – Rockafella’s roster was “mean” in the early 2000’s. Scarface, Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Dipset… Oh and that Memphis Bleek guy that Jay-Z always wanted us to care about… Yeah he was there too…

#07. Kendrick Lamar – Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe (Remix) – Both Kendrick and Jay-Z go innnn, on this one. You know Kendrick rewrote his verses after hearing that Jay verse. Both of these guys wanted “the win” on this track…

#06. Young Jeezy – Go Crazy – I feel like between Rick Ross and Jeezy, that account’s for at least “half” of the total Jay-Z features right there… Anyways I remember buying this album (Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101) when it came out, for my 15th birthday. Back then I was still under the assumption that Young Jeezy calling himself the “snowman” was because he liked to throw “snow balls” or some sh*t like that… Just so you know kids, that is not the reason…

#05. Dead Prez – Hell Yeah – I think this song came out right after Jay-Z’s first “retirement” in 2003. Listening to this track, it was fairly “clear” from the “get go” that this whole “retirement thing” wasn’t going to last for very long…

#04. Beanie Sigel – It’s On – This song is (ugh)…its so f#cking (ugh)… it’s just f#cking (ugh)…. I’m just like (ugh)… and its just (ugh)… I’m on my (ugh)… “Master P sh*t” (ughhhhhhh)… (translation: I really enjoyed this song, so much so that I briefly “altered” my persona for dramatic effect)…

#03. Kanye West – Never Let Me Down – This song is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo underrated (put’s computer down, and stare’s blankly into the wall)…

#02. Mya – Best of me (Part. 2) – Do y’all remember that Mya music video for that song “My Love Is Like…Wo”?… I must be on my “Drake sh*t” today because y’all are gonna have “Thank Me Later” for that “reminder”…

#1. Kanye West – Diamonds from Sierra Leone (remix) – Jay-Z is like a “giant shadow” that will forever loom over Kanye West legacy. Whenever someone tries to make an argument for Kanye being the G.O.A.T, fans can easily point to a track like “this” for example, and laugh directly in that person’s face. Kanye will never be “Batman”, but he does make an exceptional “Robin”…


Jay-Z 4:44 Album Review: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/07/01/jay-z-444-album-review/

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Best Jay-Z Songs of All Time!

#25. 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 when describing this song…

#24. 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…

#23. Encore – MTV once came up with an idea that had the best rock group of the era (Linkin Park), and the best rapper ever (Jay-Z), collaborate on couple of songs so that they could then perform together for a” once in a lifetime” televised concert. The results from this “experiment” weren’t terrible. In fact, i kind of like the Linkin Park version of this particular song more than the original version…

#22. Izzo (H.O.V.A.) – Another summer anthem from Hova… 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.

#21. 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 elements all combine to make this a song to remember..

#20. 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 20 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…

#19. 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…

#18. Where I’m From – “I’m from the place where the church is the flakiest
And niggas 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…

#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. Nigga What, Nigga 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. 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…

#12. 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… 

#11. 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…

#10. Empire State of Mind – 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 influenced this trend somewhat…

#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 come to mind…

#8. Streets is Talking ft. Beanie Sigel – “Streets is Watching” is basically the “original” version of this song. So why isn’t that 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. Both versions are great for different reasons…

#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. 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?...

#5. 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…

#4. A Million and One Questions (DJ Premier Remix) – “I know what y’all niggas 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…

#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…


Jay-Z Best Song “Features” of All Time: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/06/22/10-best-jay-z-features-of-all-time/

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