The art of creating an album is one of the most understated aspects in music. There's something magical about how music ebbs and flows during a single sitting and takes you on a journey. Each song has a very specific placement within the track listing; there is a natural flow that invites the listener to keep listening from start to finish.
Here at Runaway Music, we have provided you with the "perfect albums" of some of the most influential artists of all time. These songs — comprised of both hits and deep cuts — work together to create a cohesive album that serves as more than just another greatest hits compilation.
Jay-Z's place in music history was almost predetermined: He literally told us that he was the blueprint that all rappers would have to follow from here on out. He's been rapping since 1994, with his first album (the incredible Reasonable Doubt) coming in 1996. Jay was the first rapper to sign as a label instead of as an artist, too — when he signed, he signed as Roc-A-Fella Records instead of just the artist Jay-Z. He knew from day one the line he would go on to rap nearly 10 years later: "I'm not a businessman; I'm a business, man! Let me handle my business, damn."
Jay-Z is also the most versatile rapper we've ever seen; he can seamlessly go from mafioso to bling bling to cookin' soul to pop-rap to rapping over EDM beats — and do them all well. He's also weathered every storm, taking shots from Nas, Tupac, Prodigy, 50 Cent, Drake, and many more, and still came out on top. He is the personification of the American dream; he started from nothing, became something, became more than something, and then created hip-hop's first family.
Jay-Z has an unrivaled line of firsts, too: He's the first (and only) rapper in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he's the first rapper to headline Coachella, he's the first rapper to ever headline a show at Carnegie Hall — and he should also be first on your list of greatest rappers. Not only does he just have the accolades; he's got the popular vote as well. He's Obama's favorite rapper, he's your momma's favorite rapper, he's your favorite rapper's favorite rapper — and he should be your favorite rapper.
Follow this album and the rest of the Perfect Album Series on Spotify!
01. Hova Song (Intro)
02. Can't Knock The Hustle
03. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
04. Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
05. I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)
06. Big Pimpin'
07. Niggas In Paris
08. Empire State of Mind
09. Public Service Announcement (Interlude)
10. 99 Problems
11. U Don't Know
12. Where I'm From
13. Can I Live
14. Dead Presidents II
15. Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)
16. What More Can I Say
Encore (Hidden Track)
Vol. 1, No. 7 | JAY-Z
Perfect Album Series: JAY-Z