In this edition of a London DJ’s Top Ten Tunes we’ll be looking at the career of Jay Z, arguably the most successful rapper of all time. When you consider the longevity he’s experienced, how prolific he’s been and the commercial success he’s had Jay Z is undoubtedly a real Hip Hop Heavyweight. In my latest blog ‘Jay Z’s Top Ten Tunes’ I’ll be looking at some of this best work and analyzing which of his songs appeared in DJ Pascoe’s Top Ten Tunes book.
As well as being one of the most successful rapers of all time Jay Z is also one of the industry’s most successful artists and entrepreneurs, with an estimated net worth of $520 million, according to Forbes magazine. With wife Beyoncé Knowles, he forms half of a global power couple that are acknowledged as much for their musical creativity as for their business savvy. Born Shawn Corey Carter in December 1969, Jay Z overcame a hard knock early life (which included a period selling crack cocaine) to become an MC and establish the building blocks for his current career as a prolific producer of earthy, catchy tunes powered by uncompromising lyrics. He’s sold more than 75 million records and received 19 Grammy’s. His defining style can be seen in the albums ‘Reasonable Doubt’ (1996), ‘The Blueprint’ (2001), and ‘The Black Album’ (2003). These groundbreaking works paved the way to success and led to MTV ranking him number one on their list of “The Greatest MCs of All Time” in 2006.
DJ Pascoe’s selection of Jay Z’s Top Ten songs makes for very interesting reading. Surprisingly in my opinion ‘Empire State of Mind’ occupied the Number One position. Whilst it’s a song I quite like personally, ‘Paris’, released in 2011 is certainly his best track in my opinion. As a DJ, it’s one I continue to play now, five years after its release and it always gets a great reaction. Aside from that I must say that broadly I agree with his list. There are a couple of glaring omissions in my opinion. ‘Tom Ford’ released in 2013 is worthy of a place on the list as is ‘I Just Wanna Love You’ released in the year 2000 from the Dynasty album. It’s must also be considered that DJ Pascoe’s book was published in 2014. If it was published today I’m certain that Jay Z’s recent collaboration with DJ Khalid and Future ‘I Got The Keys’ would have appeared on the list!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog if you have you can find similar posts every week here as we look at the work of some classic musicians.