The 10 best Jay-Z songs range from tracks off his first album to his most recent. Jay-Z is ever changing and evolving, which helps him maintain popularity. The American rapper has multiple Grammy Awards, sells out shows around the world, and has an unshakable fan base. The ten best Jay-Z songs represent how he has maintained respect throughout the years from fellow artists, critics and fans.
- "22 Two's" A big portion of the lyrics are about different types of fake people in the world. Jay-Z also touches on how he changes up his style of flow and doesn't conform to what hip-hop should be. The song is off his 1996 debut album "Reasonable Doubt."
- "Song Cry" One of the ten best Jay-Z songs is an emotional ballad that brings out the rapper's softer side. Jay-Z wrote the song about how he cannot express emotions directly to a person, but he can through a song. It was never a single, but was on the 2001 album "The Blueprint."
- "Cant Knock The Hustle" Released in 1996 on the album "Reasonable Doubt" is a song about Jay-Z's childhood. It is one of his best songs because the lyrics about his rough upbringing are autobiographical. He raps straight from the heart about growing up with a single mother, and how he began to sell drugs for money.
- "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" Jay-Z put a ghetto life spin on the song from the Broadway play "Annie." He talks about how rough it was to grow up in the hood, and he had kids singing the hook. This is one of the ten best Jay-Z songs because it pushed Jay-Z into mainstream popularity.
- "Numb/Encore" The song is a mashup between Linkin Park's "Numb" and Jay-Z's "Encore." Both parties worked together to create the mashup, and an amazing, seamlessly effortless track was the result. It brings a new level to the hip-hop genre and to Jay-Z's career. The song was released on "Collision Course" which was a CD/DVD set with only Linkin Park and Jay-Z mashup songs.
- "Dead Presidents II" The song is from Jay-Z's debut album "Reasonable Doubt." He uses the term dead presidents as a way to describe money. The lyrics are cleverly written and explain how Jay-Z is rising in the hip-hop world. He exudes arrogance through the song, without being annoyingly cocky.
- "Empire State of Mind" Jay-Z raps the verses, and Alicia Keys sings the chorus, which brings a softer side to the song. It is a homage to the state he grew up in, New York. The clever lyrics and heartfelt lines make it a powerful track. This is one of the ten best Jay-Z songs because it became an instant classic track about New York.
- "Renegade" It is from his sixth studio album "The Blueprint," and is a collaboration between Jay-Z and Eminem. In the song, Jay-Z raps about his childhood and how much financial difficulties his family faced. It is one of his best songs because the lyrics talk about how his rough childhood shaped him into the man he is today.
- "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" It is arguably one of Jay-Z's most popular songs. It has a slight hand motion of brushing off your shoulders to go along with the hook. The song is off 2003's "The Black Album" and was also used as a mashup with Linkin Park's "Lying From You" for the "Collision Course" album.
- "99 Problems" One of the ten best Jay-Z songs is a Rick Ruban produced track about how he has 99 problems, but his girl is not one of them. It is a fun, mainstream song that was released in 2003 on "The Black Album." The lyrics reflect how Jay-Z has his hand in multiple ventures, which causes problems but through it all he could count on his girl to not cause him stress.
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