Jay Z has dominated hip-hop for decades, but he also knows when to shine the spotlight on others – whether that’s giving early breaks to up-and-coming talent like young Kanye West, or promoting personalities. as Rihanna and Mariah Carey with guest verses that give her stamp of approval. Here are a few reasons why Jay-Z and co won the right to rule this town.
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Notorious BIG (with Jay-Z and Angela Winbush): I Like Dough (1997)
Having met fellow Brooklynite Biggie Smalls, in 1997, the year Biggie died, Jay-Z had the honor of opening the shamelessly materialistic “I Love The Dough.” Taken from Life after deathBiggie’s final posthumous album, it helped set the stage for Jay-Z to take on the role of Greatest Rapper Alive.
Mariah Carey (with Jay-Z): Heartbreaker (1999)
Until he drops a verse midway through, Jay-Z’s contributions are more in the mold of the old-school hype man (shouts to DJ Clue; urgings to “bounce back like this “), but her appearance on Mariah Carey’s US “Heartbreaker” chart marked a big step into mainstream pop and also helped give Carey some street cred at the turn of the millennium.
Jay-Z (with Beyoncé): ’03 Bonnie & Clyde (2002)
Dating for the first time on a song, Jay-Z compared his new relationship with future Queen Bey to both notorious Depression-era outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, and the couple of R&B powerhouse Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. Fifteen years later, the song has proven prophetic: Mr. and Mrs. Carter remain an unstoppable force, straddling the world.
Beyoncé (feat Jay-Z): Crazy In Love (2003)
Beyoncé may have taken her husband’s name for the 2013-2014 Mrs Carter Show world tour, but “Crazy In Love” is her show, and Jay Z really is Mr. Knowles. Built around an infectious snippet of The Chi-Lites’ “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)”, the song was an inevitable hit during the summer of 2003, a year in which Jay Z and Beyoncé both released chart-topping albums, and HOVA dropped some of their best guest verses.
Pharrell (with Jay-Z): Frontin’ (2003)
Brain of N*E*R*D production Pharrell Williams was one of the few people to come close to Jay-Z’s chart dominance in the early 2000s. His debut solo single, “Frontin’,” honed his phuture-funk slow jam style, leaving just enough room for Jay-Z to slip in a verse that lets his increasingly emotionally honest personality shine through.
Jay-Z/Linkin Park: Numb/Again (2004)
Comfortably dominating the pop landscape, Jay-Z has set his sights on the world of rock, teaming up with rap-metal band Linkin Park for an all-collaborative, scholarly-titled EP. Collision course. However, the single “Numb/Encore” easily hit the mark and found Jay-Z performing the song with the band at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, seeing the hip-hop icon own a stage usually reserved for rock bands. and metal.
Kanye West (with Jay-Z): Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix) (2005)
Jay-Z gave Kanye West his first big break when he hired the young Yeezy to produce five tracks on his 2001 album, The plan. Four years later, Kanye answered questions about their friendship by allowing Jay-Z to hostage a remix of “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” with one of his finest verses – always a jaw-dropping moment in the career of two men.
Lupe Fiasco (feat Jay-Z): Pressure (2006)
In the mid-2000s, Jay-Z was scattering guest verses like $100 bills, giving Lupe Fiasco 45 seconds of her time — just enough to give the newcomer her thumbs up, while reminding everyone else that, two decades after the game debuted, Jay -Z’s Street narrative was complete.
Nas (feat Jay-Z): Black Republican (2006)
Si Nas honed a variety of soulful and funk-laden rap with 1994’s Illmatic, a decade later, he was ready to declare “hip-hop is dead”, on the 2006 album of the same name. Over suitably funeral beats, the pair juxtapose their difficult early years with their latter-day wealth, declaring their love for their roots.
Rihanna (with Jay-Z): Umbrella (2007)
Rihanna needed no introduction for her third album, Good girl turned bad. Nonetheless, Jay-Z was on hand to predict success in the intro to his world chart-topping debut, “Umbrella.”
Jay-Z (with Alicia Keys): Empire State Of Mind (2009)
A 21st century update of Frank Sinatra“New York, New York”, “Empire State Of Mind” reminded the world that hip-hop was born in the Big Apple. A long love letter to the city that birthed them, and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys gave New York a new anthem that captured all the possibilities of Sinatra’s original.
Jay-Z (feat Kanye West and Rihanna): Run This Town (2009)
Jay-Z was in an activist mood at the end of the decade that opened with 9/11. If “Empire State Of Mind” was a love letter, “Run This Town” was a manifesto that found Jay-Z enlisting Kanye West and Rihanna for a declaration not of independence, but of dominance.
Jay-Z & Kanye West: Ni__as in Paris (2011)
Ten years after they first worked together on Jay Z The planHOVA and Yeezy swapped verses about shameless hedonism Look at the throne album, pushing each other all the way through “Ni__as In Paris”, roaming the streets of the French capital to a song that bludgeons you into submission and makes no apologies for it.
Kanye West (feat Jay-Z, Rock Ross, Bon Iver, Nicki Minaj): Monster (2011)
If Kanye West was ready to give free rein to his darkest impulses My beautiful dark twisted fantasy, he was in good company on “Monster”. One of his most defining moments, not only did he introduce newcomer Nicki Minaj to the world on one of his best guests turnsit also gave Jay-Z an outlet for a pent-up horror fury.
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