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Jay Z

In LEVEL. More on Medium.

Just Rankin’ Sh!t

One of hip-hop’s greatest rivalries has yielded some yearned-for duets — most recently on DJ Khaled’s latest album. How do they all stack up?

Photo: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Despite solid, straightforward verses, this solemn Theater of the Mind deep cut is a bit ham-fisted — like pandering too hard to the kind of dudes who refused to acknowledge Soulja Boy as #realhiphop. Loosen up a little, fellas. Sheesh.

Years of anticipation and royal horns ripped straight from The Godfather: Part II made the perfect setup for this much-anticipated linkup between two former foes. But the hype of this 2006 Hip Hop Is Dead cut was impossible to meet — and the end result felt especially anticlimactic. (Plus, Juelz Santana and Mixtape Weezy did it better.)

Due to their…

Word to Jay (and Brené) — own, embrace, and fully step into living with those regrets

In his latest “What Would Hov Do?” column, Joel Leon. tackles one of the most human feelings we experience: regret.

He hits the Jay-Z crates — and the self-help aisle…

Medium’s weekly advice column provides inspo in the words of Hov

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there really are no rules. While the world is topsy turvy though, we can reset our goals in a way that works…

Hip-Hop at a Crossroads

His three-comma aspirations inspired millions. But what now, when billionaires are under fire?

Photo illustration: Moya Garrison-Msingwana; Image source: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images

As the summer of 2020 draws to close, it’s clear the world has changed in unprecedented ways. A pandemic, its ensuing economic fallout, and a broad-based racial justice movement—not to mention the toxic, repressive administration that serves as their backdrop—have disrupted our lives in ways we scarcely could have imagined. If ever there was a moment for hip-hop to realize its promise as a political and cultural corrective, it’s this one. …

Just Rankin’ Sh!t

And yes, we included A Written Testimony

Photo illustration. Source Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

6. ‘Unfinished Business’ (with R. Kelly)

Should’ve tag-teamed with Usher instead.

5. ‘Collision Course’ (with Linkin Park)

Someone call State Farm! The mashup project that no one asked for bagged a Grammy for its Frankensteined single “Numb/Encore.”

4. ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ (with R. Kelly)

R. Kelly’s personal demons have unfortunately stricken this otherwise sound project from the Jay-Z canon.

3. ‘A Written Testimony’ (with Jay Electronica)

Five Percenter Hov shows he can still rap better than 100% of his peers, appearing on eight of 10 tracks from Jay Electronica’s debut LP.

2. ‘Everything Is Love’ (with Beyoncé)

The Carters put their love — and mutual rap skills — on top for a spiritual sequel to Watch The Throne.

1. ‘Watch The Throne’ (with Kanye West)

That shit cray.

Shawn Carter has rewritten the playbook and outgrown men twice his age. Does a billionaire have anything left to prove?

An illustration of Jay-Z
An illustration of Jay-Z
Illustration: Jacob Rochester

The year Shawn Carter turned 20 (1989) was the year Jay-Z was born. A peripatetic hustler, he’d been running the streets, running from poverty — a quest that also helped him outrun, if unwittingly, an early demise. His mentor, Jaz-O, had been sent to London by his record label to record his debut album, and brought along his talented protege. While Jay was overseas, federal officers raided the illegal narcotics trade his band of brothers had going back home, shattering the business and sending much of his cohort to face the judicial system. …

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