Trying to compile a list of the top Jay-Z songs is like compiling a list of Michael Jordan's best basketball performances. Moments, rather than dunks, passes, shots, or highlights. Because, like his roundball counterpart, Jay Z born as Shawn Carter did not build his empire only on the strength of his rhyming abilities. Rather, he has distinguished himself by making forward-thinking, awe-inspiring, never-before-done revelatory decisions that have contributed to usher in a customised feeling of transcendence over all of hip-hop. On his 52nd birthday, we have top 5 songs by the artist that will surely put you in a happy mood.
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If you have to pick a ballad, this has to be the choice, right? The rapper’s tale of a strong love lost and a good girl who’s gone bad is mesmerizing in its poignancy
So, maybe this is a tough one to buy into, but there’s something about the way he slows down his flow in the song’s second verse as he recites “But I got to get you out of here momma or I’m gonna … die … inside … and either you lose me momma so let loose of me”.
While it didn’t anchor ‘The Black Album’ – Jay’s supposed retirement record – ‘Encore’ was the ultimate curtain call.
Mixing Jay’s real life experiences as a low level drug dealer with glamourised gangster movie imagery, ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’ is a vivid slice of mafiosa rap with the Hov’s “godfather flow” justifying his thug in a ‘sorry not sorry’ kind of way.
With its jet-fueled bassline and punishingly thumped drums, Kanye’s sidewalk-crumbling take on The Doors’ ‘Five To One’ signaled a seismic shift in East Coast hip-hop. Standing alone at the top would be Jay Z, who used ‘Takeover’ to lay waist to, first, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, and over a sprawling 32 bar verse, his arch-nemesis Nas