To make a list of the best Jay Z songs could be hard as this rapper has recorded what is consider some of best Hip Hop music in this genre and many say he is the best rapper of all time. Born Shawn C. Carter in New York City on December 4, 1969, Jay-Z was raised in Brooklyn’s drug-ridden projects. Just a few wrong moves and his life could have gone down an entirely different path than he did. By making just a few right moves, (luck or smart) Jay-Z became the best rapper in history. And he did this while building an empire of businesses and launching the careers of many talented artists in this industry.
10. – Vol.2…Hard Knock Life – Beginning of a Fruitful Period
This is the title track from Jay-Z’s 1998 album Vol.2….Hard Knock Life. This title track took its chorus from the musical on Broadway Annie, and became the rapper’s best single to that date winning him his very first nomination for a GRAMMY. This began the start of one of Jay-Z’s most productive periods where he would emerge the principal name in hip-hop/rap.
9. – The Blueprint 3…..3rd single “Empire State of Mind” ode to NYC
This is the 3rd single released from his 11th studio album containing a chorus and vocals by singer Alicia Keys. It dropped in October 2009. This song is an “anthemic ode” to both artists’ native hometown New York City. The album The Blueprint dropped in 2001 and later would land on any critics’ lists of the best of the decade.
8. – Song Cry…..single from “The Blueprint” Will Make You Cry
This is the final release from the album “The Blueprint” and is a rap song that will make you cry – the music and Jay-Z’s perfectly timed words are just pure hurt but also beautiful. Many lists do not have this song on their top 10 and it is not really known why. Beautiful!
7. – Run this Town – Could be #1 – Entire album features Kanye West and Rihanna – with album under Jay-Z’s new label
On many people’s lists this is number 1 but this critic didn’t put it there and although the music was good as well as the lyrics, it just wasn’t number one from here. This was Jay-Z’s first album under his own label and featured Kanye West and Rihanna who were both signed with the new label and was released in 2009
6. – Dirt off Your Shoulder – Rumor has it that this is one of President Obama’s favorite songs!
During the first primary for presidency, one reporter asked the then Senator Obama how he felt about some of the questions that Senator Clinton was piling on him during the debate that night. Obama did the ‘dust off shoulder sign’ and many took that to mean that he was familiar with this song! We have since learned that he and his wife have been invited to the White House several times.
5. – Niggas in Paris – Jay Z & Kanye West – A great video was made for this song with the two having a great night in Paris!
This was a song with both Jay Z and Kanye having great vocals but there were many that were much better. The video for this song is what sales it as the video has creative camera work and editing with a lot of black and white filming of Paris and color scenes especially the night spent in a casino.
4. – 99 Problems – This Is In Most Top 5 Lists But Couldn’t Find A Place for It in the Top Five Here.
When listening to various tracts for this article, many of the top 10 lists of Jay Z‘s raps puts this rap in the Top 3. Critics believe that this song is one of Jay-Z’s best. Although this song is one of Jay-Z better songs this critic just couldn’t make a place for it in the Top 3. There were just too many songs that deserved to be in the Top 5 before this one. Remember this was one of Jay Z’s most productive times and he was pumping out hit after hit. There were just too many songs that were considered better that deserved to be in the Top 3 before this one.
3. – Renegade – Featured Eminem
Both Jay-Z and Eminem grew up in households with no fathers – in the projects and that seemed to unite them in a cause. This track was their f—-you to critics who wrote that Jay-Z had forgotten his roots in the projects now that he had found new riches, and the moralizers who believed that Eminem was not a good influence on kids.
2. – Dead Presidents – Often Named as Jay-Z’s best
Dead Presidents is at times mentioned as Jay-Z’s best song and was the 1st release from his 1st album Reasonable Doubt. But that track didn’t make the final album cut, although its follow-up “Dead Presidents II” did.
1. – Big Pimpin’ – This is from the Unplugged Album with the song having an eastern feel
Almost anyone hearing this song usually will describe it as having a feel of the Middle East. And it does because a sample was borrowed from a famous “Abdel Halim Hafez” Arabic song entitled “Khosara”.
From Poor to Rich
Jay-Z went from a guy who everyone slept on to the guy every rap artist wanted to be like. He has been in this world of rap since the 80s and following the death of “The Notorious BIG” has turn out to be the King of New York.
Currently he has money and the baddest chick in the whole game, Beyonce, wearing his wedding ring. He is one of only a few rappers to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show. He has have several hit albums and is considered the best rapper ever but most of those who love rap will tell you that his best work has been from his earlier projects.