JAY-Z is the greatest rapper of all time. People think that just because I say things like that, that means he has to be my favorite rapper as well. That's just not so. Yes, music is subjective. The artists you love the most are probably the artists that you think are the best. It's not like sports, where the best just outperform everyone else to the point where there's little to no doubt. There's only two stats in hip hop; years in the game and record sales. Those are the only two things where opinion doesn't matter. They're also the two things that purists couldn't care less about. I honestly believe that the only way to truly gauge an MC's greatness is by their catalog of music. When it's all said and done and the career is over, the catalog should be the crux of all GOAT discussions. JAY-Z's catalog was already head and shoulders above the competition. With his latest offering 4:44, he's putting even more distance between himself and whoever is number two.
JAY-Z has never been known for evoking emotion. In fact, he's notoriously aloof, nonchalantly recalling events from his past as if they're not even his own. Songs like "Lucky Me," "You Must Love Me," and "Song Cry" gave us a glimpse of Shawn Corey Carter the man. 4:44 gives us a bird's eye view. The trimmed down, 10 track album starts off with "Kill Jay-Z." Hov wants to kill the persona that has given him fame and fortune, because it's also causing rifts between his friends and family.
You egged Solange on
Knowing all along
All you had to say was you were
Jigga owns up to his mistakes, apologizing for putting his marriage in danger, and also acknowledging that he and Kanye aren't the best of friends at the moment.
"Story of O.J." Isn't a story about O.J. at all, but rather a plea for young black people to make better decisions, especially with their finances. Once again, Hov speaks on mistakes that he's made, referring to a missed real estate opportunity that would've netted him millions. "Smile" let's the world know that Jay's mom is a lesbian, and more importantly, she's happier than she's ever been. The title track is by far Jay's most heartfelt song of his career. He begs for forgiveness the Jay way, and somehow makes it look cool. He apologizes for cheating, and the emotional strain it put on Bey, which led to miscarriages.
"Family Fued and "BAM" are Jay at his slick talking best. "La La Land" touches on the lack of diversity in hip hop. "Y'all got the same fucking flows. I can't tell who is who."
"Moonlight," "Marcy Me," and "Legacy" round out Jay's most honest and relatable album of his illustrious career. At 47 years old, 21 years in and 13 albums deep, Jigga has dropped a classic and has again raised the bar and set the example for everyone else to follow.
"Catch up, niggas."