Building a case for being the greatest rapper all-time is largely predicated on one's accomplishments and longevity, two areas in which JAY-Z is near, if not at, the forefront.
Since first ficially stepping onto the scene in 1996 with his classic debut album, Reasonable Doubt, the Brooklyn native has continuously risen to the occasion while leaving listeners in awe with his lyrical exploits and timely hits, putting together a resume that rivals his predecessors and fspring alike.
With more than 20 years and 13 solo studio albums under his belt, not to mention numerous collaborative endeavors and cutting-floor material, the sheer amount defining moments in JAY-Z's career can seem overwhelming. But there are a few instances in the mogul's career that are synonymous with his continued evolution as an artist.
For instance, albums like Reasonable Doubt and In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 were the brainchild a callous hustler attempting to reconcile his criminal with aspirations for stardom, resulting in some his most edgy selections to date.
Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life would symbolize him realizing those aspirations, while subsequent albums would find him sneering at the competition while fulfilling his aspirations as a full-fledged boss, an evolution which was complete by the time Jay released what is ten pitted against Reasonable Doubt as his best album 2001's, The Blueprint.
From there, retirements (The Black Album), comebacks (Kingdom Come), and sheer artistic license (American Gangster) were all themes that embodied the music featured on JAY-Z albums, making his career arc one the more multi-faceted in the history music.
To commemorate JAY-Z's legacy as one the greatest emcees all-time, The Boombox has handpicked and highlighted 11 the most unforgettable songs in his career for your listening pleasure.