Jay-Z became the first rapper inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. To see a list of the other inductees click here.
In honor of Hov’s induction here are five of my favorite Jay-Z tracks that show off his songwriting skills.
1) “22 Two’s” from the album “Reasonable Doubt”
Jay-Z “retired” after he released this album. Had he really retired, he would have still made it in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame…if I were voting. The first eight tracks of this album are ridiculous, but none of them showcase Jay-Z’s writing ability and verbal versatility like “22 Two’s”. A sampling: “I been around this block too many times/Rocked too many rhymes, cocked too many nines, too/To all my brothers it ain’t too late to come together/Cause too much black and too much love, equal forever/I don’t follow any guidelines cause too many n****s ride mine/So I change styles every two rhymes”
2）”I Love the Dough” from the album “Life After Death”
I feel like Biggie got Hov on “Brooklyn’s Finest” off of Jay’s album “Reasonable Doubt”; this is just Jay returning the favor. “And the watches be all types and shapes of stones/Being broke is childish and I’m quite grown”
3) “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” from the album “Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life”
This is here because this song is the takeover before “The Takeover”; after this track Jay-Z ruled every summer with a different banger each year. “We live in hard knocks/We don’t take over, we borrow blocks/Burn ’em down and you can have it back/Daddy, I’d rather that.”
4) “Song Cry” from the album “The Blueprint”
You get deep, introspective Jay plus storyteller Jay. Boom. “We was so happy poor, but when we got rich/That’s when our signals got crossed, and we got flipped.
5) “Dear Summer” from the album “534”
Another “retirement” from Jay. “We’ll be reunited and it feels so hood/Have the whole world saying “How you still so good?””
There are many more songs I could have chosen, but these five will do. Congratulations to the legend.
All lyrics taken from Genius.