HOV to the H.O.F

This past weekend on Saturday, October 30th, 2021 history was made Shawn Corey Carter more commonly known as Jay-Z was inducted into the ROC(k) and Roll Fame.  To me, Jay- Z is the GOAT or the greatest of all time and I am not just saying this because he is my favorite rapper but the numbers back this up. This is to say the Brooklyn street poet has 14 number one albums and 22 Grammys. With these numbers, HOV stands alone and on top as he has the most Grammys for a hip-hop artist and the most number-one albums for any artist. Just incredible. While the numbers speak volumes to his artistry so do his lyrics and messages. Carter has used his music to tell stories that shine a light on daily life as a Black man in America the beauty and the ugliness of this reality but ultimately he has given joy to the world. In addition, his music is nuanced as he has provided a language to speak about the effects of systemic racism and injustices, but he has also given a roadmap to financial freedom in his lyrics. It is his ability to string words, patterns, rhymes, and messages together so coherently and masterfully is the art that makes him so great! Jay-Z is a wordsmith and I would put him in the same category as poets like Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Derek Walcott, Nikki Giovanni, and others. HOV has given us some memorable bars and songs. Therefore, as a way to celebrate this accomplishment, I have compiled a list of 24 of his iconic lyrics and songs. The number 24 is significant to HOV because this is the 24th year since his debut album which is perfectly named Reasonable Doubt. So please enjoy the two lists below if you had any doubts if HOV is the GOAT.

24 Bars

  1. “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man!” – Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)
  2. I heard, “Son, do you know why I’m stopping you for?” ‘Cause I’m young and I’m black and my hat’s real low? Do I look like a mind reader, sir? I don’t know Am I under arrest or should I guess some more?”Well, you was doing 55 in a 54”- 99 Problems 
  3. “Nobody built like you, you design yourself”- Regrets
  4. “I stepped it up another level, meditated like a Buddhist/Recruited lieutenants with ludicrous dreams of gettin’ cream/‘Let’s do this,’ it gets tedious/So I keep one eye open like CBS—you see me stressed, right?”- Can I Live
  5. “My pops knew exactly what he did when he made me/Tried to get a nut and he got a nut and what” – Can’t knock the hustle
  6. “What’s fifty grand to a mothafucker like me?/Can you please remind me?(Ball so hard) This shit crazy/Y’all don’t know that don’t shit faze me/The Nets could go 0 for 82/And I’d look at you like this shit gravy”- Niggas in Paris
  7. “I arrived on the day Fred Hampton died/Uh, real niggas just multiply/And they say by 21, I was supposed to die/So I’m out here celebrating my post-demise/If you put crabs in a barrel to ensure your survival/You’re gon’ end up pulling down niggas that look just like you” – Murder to Excellence 
  8. “D’USSÉ is the shit if I do say so myself/If I do say so myself, if I do say so myself/Hold up, stumble all in the house/Time to back up all that mouth/That you had all in the car/Talkin’ about you the baddest bitch thus far/Talkin’ about you be reppin’ that Third/I wanna see all that shit that I heard/Know I sling Clint Eastwood/Hope you can handle this curve, uh” – Drunk in Love
  9. “If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be/Lyrically Talib Kweli/Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense/But I did 5 mill’ – I ain’t been rhyming like Common since” – Moment of Clarity 
  10. “Everybody wanna know what my Achilles heel is. Love, I don’t get enough of it.All I get is these vampires and blood suckers. All I see is these niggas I made millionaires/Millin’ about, spillin’ they feelings in the air/All I see is these fake fucks with no fangs/Tryna draw blood from my ice-cold veins/I smell a massacre. Seems to be the only way to back you bastards up”- Monster
  1. “People look at you strange, say you changed. / Like you worked that hard to stay the same.” –Most Kingz
  2. “Strays from the same shade, nigga, we on the same team/ Giving you respect, I expect the same thing, uh/ All-black everything, nigga, you know my fresh code/ I’m out here fighting for you, don’t increase my stress load/ Niggas watching the throne, very happy to be you/ Power to the people, when you see me, see you”- Murder to Excellence 
  3. “I mastered my aesthetics. I know you often heard me wax poetic. ‘Bout bein’ back in the Lexus/But trust me, that was nothin’/ A nigga up in the hundreds of millions/ I have no ceilings, ah, this that feelin’, I’m that boy/ Anita Baker’s “You Bring Me Joy”-Smile 
  4. I don’t know what life will be in H.I.P. H.O.P. without the boy H.O.V./ Not only NYC, I’m hip hop’s savior/ So after this flow you might owe me a favor” Kingdom Come
  5. “ Made in the image of God that’s a selfie” – Jail
  6. “What’s better than one billionaire? Two / Especially when they’re the same hue as you” – Family Feud 
  7. “Only God can judge me, so either love or leave me alone” -PSA
  8. “Sure books can guide you/But your heart defines you”- Beach Chair
  9. “Fear not when, or fear not why / Fear not much while we’re alive / Life is for living, not living uptight” – Young Forever
  10. “My swag different, that bag different/My wife Beyonce, I brag different” – I Got the Keys
  11. “I’m back in my bag/My eyes bloodshot but my jet don’t lag/A pair of Jordan 3s tryna chase this cash/Gucci air bag just in case we crash” – Pound Cake
  12. “Sometimes you need your ego, gotta remind these fools/Who they effin’ with, and we got FN’s too/Before we had A&Rs, we had AR’s too.” – Bam
  13. “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian/Had society shame and the pain was too much to take/Cried tears of joys when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her” – Smile
  14. “I father, I Brooklyn Dodger them/ I jack, I rob, I sin/ Awww man, I’m Jackie Robinson/ Except when I run base, I dodge the pen.” – Brooklyn (Go Hard)

HOV’s Classics



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