It’s hard to think about Hip Hop without Jay Z. Whether you idolize him or despise him, his contributions to the game are undeniable. 

One of the long running debates in rap is which one of his albums is better: Reasonable Doubt or The Blueprint. My hat is thrown in to the Blueprint side. It’s got a much more lasting quality while remaining a product of its age, and it equally saw the rise of one of the best producers ever – Kanye West. But it was most definitely the Jigga show. It was the culmination of all of his potential, and it showcased his versatility better than any album he’d put out. The single guest appearance began a new way to measure guest appearances, and even though Eminem’s verses were extremely powerful, Jay Z had an equally strong showing. It was also the album where he aired out a few adversaries, something that lit a fire under Nas to have him also put out one of the best albums of his life. 

The Blueprint proved that Jay Z was here to stay, and that he is one of the best to ever do it. 

Proof of this is echoed in how he approaches song writing. DJ Premier confirmed it, as have so many others. He listens to the beat for a little while – maybe a couple of minutes – and starts crafting lyrics in his head. He doesn’t put a pen to page. He just gets an idea together, memorized anything particularly noteworthy, and just freestyles a lot of it. I often wonder what untapped potential lies in the off chance that he actually writes some my Hong down.