FEATURE: Super Lyrical

Jay-Z hardly wastes any lines—making him the type of artist you can’t skim through, but have to listen to. In the course of his storied 13-year career, whether spitting bragadocious (“Money Ain’t a Thing”), getting introspective (“You Must Love Me”), cinematographic (“Friend or Foe”), offering club-friendly joints (“Do It Again”), or even getting outshined  (“Renegade”), the God MC hasn’t taken too many bars off.

His verses usually feature clever similes (“Like short sleeves, I bear arms”), metaphors (“She said the taste of dollars were shitty so i fed her 50s”)  or double entendres (My pops knew exactly what he did when he made me/Tried to get a nut and he got a nut and what”). And when he does rely on lines that appear a bit more simplistic, the verse is usually enhanced by agile cadences. Simply put, there are too many dope Jay-Z verses to list. Still, XXL attempted the impossible and compiled Hova’s best verses. Some are super lyrical, while others showcase impeccable flows. Here are Jay-Z’s Top 20 verses (not ranked) in chronological order. -Compiled by Matt Barone, Carl Chery, Jesse Gissen, Clover Hope and Rob Markman

[Editor's Note: All lyrics are provided courtesy of OHHLA]
1. “Can’t Knock The Hustle” Verse 3, Reasonable Doubt (1996)

Yo, y’all niggaz lunchin, punchin the clock
My function is to make much and lay back munchin
Sippin Remy on the rocks, my crew, somethin to watch
Nothin to stop, un.. ..stoppable
Scheme on the ice, I gotta hot your crew
I gotta, let you niggaz know the time like Movado
My motto, stack rocks like Colorado
Auto off the champagne, Cristal’s by the bottle
It’s a damn shame what you’re not though (who?) Me
Slick like a gato, fuckin Jay-Z
My pops knew exactly what he did when he made me
Tried to get a nut and he got a nut and what
Straight bananas; can a nigga, see me?
Got the US Open, advantage Jigga
Serve like Sampras, play fake a rappers like a campus
Le Tigre, son you’re too eager
You ain’t havin it? Good, me either
Let’s, get together and make this whole world believe us huh?
At my arraignment, screamin
all us blacks got is sports and entertainment, until we even
Thievin, as long as I’m breathin
Can’t knock the way a nigga eatin – fuck you even!

2 & 3. “Dead Presidents II” Verse 1 & 2, Reasonable Doubt (1996)

Verse 1
Ahh, who wanna bet us that we don’t touch leathers
Stack cheddars forever, live treacherous all the et ceteras
To the death of us, me and my confidants, we shine
You feel the ambiance, y’all niggaz just rhyme
By the ounce dough accumulates like snow
We don’t just shine, we illuminate the whole show; you feel me?
Factions from the other side would love to kill me
Spill three quarts of my blood into the street, let alone the heat
Fuck em, we hate a nigga lovin this life
In all possible ways, know the Feds is buggin my life
Hospital days, reflectin when my man laid up
On the Uptown high block he got his side sprayed up
I saw his life slippin, this is a minor set back
Yo, still in all we livin, just dream about the get back
That made him smile though his eyes said, “Pray for me”
I’ll do you one better and slay these niggaz faithfully
Murder is a tough thing to digest, it’s a slow process
and I ain’t got nothin but time
I had near brushes, not to mention three shots
close range, never touched me, divine intervention
Can’t stop I, from drinkin Mai-Tai’s, with Ta Ta
Down in Nevada, ha ha, Poppa, word life
I dabbled in crazy weight without rap, I was crazy straight
Potnah, I’m still spendin money from eighty-eight… what?

Verse 2
Geyeah, know what? I’ll make..
you and your wack mans fold like bad hands
Roll like Monopoly, ad-vance you copy me
like white crystals, I gross the most
at the end of the fiscal year than these niggaz can wish to
The dead presidential, canidate
with the sprinkles and the presidental, ice that’ll offend you
In due time when crime fleas my mind
All sneak thieves and playa haters can shine
But until then I keep the trillion cut diamonds shinin brilliant
I’ll tell you half the story, the rest you fill it in
Long as the villian win
I spend Japan yen, attend major events
Catch me in the joints, convinced my iguanas is bitin
J-A-Y hyphen, controllin, manipulatin
I got a good life man, pounds and pence
Nuff dollars make sense, while you ride the bench
Catch me swinging for the fence
Dead Presidents, ya know

4. “D’Evils” Verse 2, Reasonable Doubt (1996)
We used to fight for building blocks
Now we fight for blocks with buildings that make a killing
The closest of friends when we first started
But grew apart as the money grew, and soon grew black-hearted
Thinkin back when we first learned to use rubbers
He never learned so in turn I’m kidnappin his baby’s mother
My hand around her collar, feeding her cheese
She said the taste of dollars was shitty so I fed her fifties
About his whereabouts I wasn’t convinced
So I kept feedin her money ’til her shit started to make sense
Who could ever foresee, we used to stay up all night at slumber parties
Now I’m tryin to rock this bitch to sleep
All the years we were real close
Now I see his fears through her tears
Know she’s wishin we were still close
Don’t cry, it is to be
In time, I’ll take away your miseries and make ‘em mine, D’Evils…

5. “22 Two’s” Verse 1, Reasonable Doubt (1996)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Can I kick it? (Yes you can!) *repeat 3X*
Y’all motherfuckers musta hear that Tribe Called Quest, let’s do it again
Can I kick it? (Yes you can!) *repeat 3X*
Well I’m gone… check this out
Too much West coast dick-lickin, and too many niggaz on a mission
Doin your best Jay-Z rendition
Too many rough motherfuckers, I got my suspicions
that you’re just a fish in a pool of sharks nigga, listen
Too many bitches wanna be ladies, so if you a hoe
I’ma call you a hoe, too many bitches are shady
Too many ladies give these niggaz too many chances
Too many brothers wannabe lovers don’t know what romance is
Too many bitches stuck up from too many sexual advances
No question; Jay-Z got too many answers
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 niggaz ride mine
so I change styles every two rhymes, hah, what the fuck
That’s 22 too’s for y’all motherfuckers out there, yaknahmean?
Shall I continue? Check it out, what?

6. “Can I Live” Verse 2, Reasonable Doubt (1996)
My mind is infested, with sick thoughts that circle
like a Lexus, if driven wrong it’s sure to hurt you
Dual level like duplexes, in unity, my crew and me
commit atrocities like we got immunity
You guessed it, manifest it in tangible goods
Platinum Rolexed it, we don’t lease
we buy the whole care, as you should
My confederation, dead a nation, EXPLODE
on detonation, overload the mind of a said patient
When it balls to steam, it comes to it
we all fiends gotta do it, even righteous minds go through this
True this, history school us to spend our money foolish
Bond with jewellers and, watch for intruders
I stepped it up another level, meditated like a buddhist
Recruited lieutenants with ludicrous, dreams of
gettin cream let’s do this, against T-D-S
So I keep one eye open like, C-B-S, ya see me
stressed right? Can I live?

7.”Friend or Foe,” Reasonable Doubt (1996)
Friend or foe yo, state your biz
ya tend to dough, ah , there it is
me, i run the show, oh, and these kids
don’t like nobody commin around here fuckin wit they doe for shit
you enterprisin though,
and i like it
but fuck with the big dogs though, i gotta bite ya,
look, its out of my hands
and you gettin money round here, its not in the plans
so hop yo ass out of that van, head back to kansas
i’m sendin niggas back up in campuses
chance is slimmer than that chick in calvin klien pantses
let me guess, they said it was money round here
and the rest is me stoppin you from gettin it, correct?
sorry to hear that, my guess is you got work at the hotel
i’ll take care of that , you’ll see, now please
give me the room key
you’re twitchin, don’t do that, you makin me nervous
my crew, well, they do pack, them niggas is murderous
so would ya, please put your hand back in sight
they don’t like to see me nervous you can understand that, right?
you draw, better be picasso, y’know the best
cause if this is not so, ah, god bless
you leave me no choice, i leave you no voice
believe me son i hate to do it just as bad as you hate to see it done
now calm your boys,
cause i’m findin it a little hard to concentrate with all the noise
get the point, i’ll let ya go,
before ya leave,i guess i aughta let you know, i need those keys
and promise you never, no matter the weather
evaevaevaevaevaevaevaevaeva come around here no mo’

8. “Imaginary Player” Verse 1, In My Lifetime Vol.1 (1997)
I spit that other shit
That’s the nice motherfucker shit
Fed time follow me around, deep cover shit nigga
You beer money, I’m all year money
I’m popping, you ain’t got to count it, it’s all there money
I never change money ’cause niggas got strange money
NARC’d up, marked up, fucked up in the game money
I got bail money, XXL money
You got flash now, one time we’ll reveal money
I spit the hottest shit, you need it I got it shit
That down South Master P, Bout It Bout It shit
I got blood money, straight up thug money
That brown paper bag under your mattress drug money
You got show dough, little to no dough
Sell a bunch of records and you still owe dough
I got 900 and 96 plus 4 more dough
You crazy, you fugazy I’m loco with dough papo

9. “Streets Is Watching” Verse 3, In My Lifetime Vol.1 (1997)
My street mentality flip bricks forever, know me and money
we like armed co-defendants, n*gga we stick together
Sh*t whatever for this cheddar ran my game into the ground
Hustle harder to see it if indictment time came around
And you can look up and down the streets and I can’t be found
Put in twenty-four hour shifts but, that ain’t me now
Got a face too easy to trace, n*ggaz mouths got slow leaks
Had to hide between my workers, couldn’t play those streets
She out of space like Mercury you jerkin me? Hectic
Had to call upon my wolves to send, n*ggaz the message
I said this: ‘Let’s play fair and we can stay here
I’m trying to transform you Boyz II Men like daycare’
Hey there’s money to be made and, n*ggaz got the picture
Stopped playing with my paper and, we got richer
Then hard times fell upon us, half of my staff
had warrants, the other half, in the casket lay dormant
I felt like life was cheating me, for the first time
in my life I was getting money but it was like my concious was eating me
Was this a lesson God teaching me? Was he saying that?
I’m playing the game straight from Hell from which few came back
like bad coke, pimp or die, was my mindframe bad
Was n*ggaz thinkin simplify was turning cocaine crack?
Ain’t a whole lot of brain to that, just trying to maintain a stack
and not collide like two trains that’s on the same track
But, get my life together like the oars I bring back
In the bottom of the pot where no, water gets hot
Got my transporter take it ‘cross the border then stop
To set up shop with a quarter of rock – here’s the plan!
For three straight weeks, n*ggaz slaughtered the block
But you know the game is ‘lluted, f*cked up me and my dues
One drop can wipe a n*gga out, faster than the cops
and this unstable way of living just, had to stop
Half of my n*ggaz got time, we done real things
By ninety-four became the subject of half of y’all n*ggaz rhymes
Public apoligies to the families of those caught up in my street
But that’s the life for us lost souls brought up in the streets
The life and times of a demonic mind, excited with crime
And the lavish luxuries that just excited my mind
I figured, ‘Sh*t why risk myself I just write it in rhymes
And let you feel me, and if you don’t like it then fine’
The mindstate, of a n*gga who boosted the crime rate
so high in one city they send National Guards to get me
Ya dig?

10. “Where I’m From” Verse 2, In My Lifetime Vol.1 (1997)
I’m from the place where the chruch is the flakiest
And niggas is praying to god so long that they Atheist
Where you can’t put your vest away and say you’ll wear it tomorrow
Cause the day after we’ll be saying, damn I was just with him yesterday
I’m a block away from hell, not enough shots away from straight shells
An ounce away from a triple beam still using a hand-held weight scale
Your laughing, you know the place well
Where the Liqour Store’s and the base well
And Government, fuck Government, niggas polotic themselves
Where we call the cops the A-Team
cause they hop out of vans and spray things
And life expectancy so low we making out wills at eight-teen
Where how you get rid of guys who step out of line, your rep solidifies
So tell me when I rap you think I give a fuck who criticize?
If the shit is lies, god strike me
And I got a question, are you forgiving guys who live just like me?
We’ll never know
One day I pray to you and said if I ever blow, Let ‘em know
Mistakes ain’t exactly what takes place in the ghetto
Promise fulfilled, but still I feel my job ain’t done
Cough up a lung, where I’m from, Marcy son, ain’t nothing nice

11. “You Must Love Me” Verse 2, In My Lifetime Vol.1 (1997)
We used to fight every night
but I never would suffer
just smile my big brother’s
tryna make me tougher
As we grew fussing and fighting continued
as I plundered through ya stuff
and snuck ya clothes to school
Got intense real intense
as we got older
Never believed it would lead
to be popped in one of ya shoulda
With my rings knew you had it
’cause you took too long
as Mickey, Andy, and the girl that bought it looked on
Huffin’ and puffin’ gun in my hand
told you step outside
Hoping you said no but you hurt my pride
made our way down the steps
maybe you thought it was just a threat
or maybe ya life was just that crazy
and you was beggin’ for death
try to justify this in my young mind
but ya drillin’ it
and my ego hurt combined
drove me berzerk
Saw the devil in your eyes
high off more than weed
confused I just closed
my young eyes and squeezed
What a sound
opened my eyes just in time
to see ya stumbling to the ground
Damn what the fuck I done now
runnin’ around in a circle
thinking I’m assed out
hot gun burnin’ my waist
ran straight to Jazz’ house
Like a stranger damn I just shot my nigga
and ran off into the night as if it was not my nigga
Left the scene how could I go out that way
Still you asked to see me in the hospital ya next day
You must love me.

12. “Nigga What Nigga Who (Originator 99)” Verse 2, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998)
Got a condo with nuttin but condoms in it
The same place where the rhymes is invented
So all I do is rap and sex, imagine how I stroke
See how I was flowin on my last cassette?
Rapid-fire like I’m blastin a Tec, never jam though
Never get hot, never run out of ammo
Niggaz hatin and shit cause I slayed your bitch
You know your favorite, I know it made you sick
And now you’re, actin raw but you never had war
Don’t know how to carry your hoe, wanna marry your hoe
Now she’s mad at me, cause Your Majesty
just happened to be, a pimp – what a tragedy
She wanted, us to end, cause I fucked her friends
She gave me one more chance and I fucked her again
I seen her tears as she busted in, I said, “Shit..
there’s a draft, shut the door bitch and come on in!”

13. “Pre-Game,” Sauce Money Feat. Jay-Z, Belly Soundtrack (1998) & Sauce Money’s Middle Finger U (1999)
Jigga, what the fuck?
As a youth explosively, clappin off the roof
Shootin guard like Kobe, raised up slay smears and bo’e
Back then, Gil was my codiene, Spanish Jose
showed me how to get the money niggaz owed me
Fast forward, no kids, six cars and three Role’s
Two cribs, trips to Cuba, sippin on Uba
Got rap in a stupor, first to clap your group up
from the Range with the ski rack, or six with the Ruger
Shit, I light the motherfuckin soundproof booth up
New shit, y’all say the same shit like you’re looped up
Your rap’s all lazy, Jigga the Black Scorcese
What your album lack is more Jay-Z
Code name: Jay-hovah, all praise me
Y’all don’t paint pictures, y’all all trace me
You’ve yet to see the day when my squad be done
I represent that shit nigga, Marcy son, what?

14. “Do It Again (Put Your Hands Up)” Feat. Beanie Sigel, Vol.3…Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)

How the fuck you gon’ talk about MC’s on our heel?
When we just cop them things homie the chromey wheels
Both arms are chunky the sleeves on chill
Any given times a hundred G’s in your grill
Don’t talk to me ’bout MC’s got skills
“He’s alright, but he’s not real”
Jay-Z’s that deal, with seeds in a field
Never fear for war, hug, squeeze that steel
Fuck, you gotta a flow that’s cool with me
You got a little dough that cool with me
You got a little cars, little jewelries
But none of y’all motherfuckers could fool with me
You know the wrist frostbit minus two degrees
Bout as blue as the sea the way I manuever the V
Hat cocked can’t see his eyes, who could it be?
With that new blue Yankee on, who but me?
Niggaz shipped two million, then I blew the three
Then I skated the four, ‘fore I went on tour
I came back and it’s plain, y’all niggaz ain’t rappin the same
Fuck the flow, y’all jackin our slang
I seen the same shit happen to Kane
Three cuts in your eyebrows tryin to wild out
The game is ours, we’ll never foul out
Y’all just better hope we gracefully bow out
Throw yo’ hands up – niggaz, bitches, bustas
Hustlers – FUCK THAT (throw the hands up)

15. “Come and Get Me” Verse 2, Vol.3…Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)
I remove your roof nigga let the sun shine in
Thirty-eight waist, enough to put one nine in
Really a thirty-six without the gun I’m thin
but when the gat is tucked, I’m fat as fuck
Ignorant bastard, I’m takin it back to day one
No kids, but trust me I know how to raise a gun
For niggaz that think I spend my days in the sun
well here’s the shock of your life, the glock not the mic
Homey I’m not into hype; trust me, I’m still street
You still fuckin up then trust me I still creep
Yeah I know the platinum chain be lookin real sweet
but reach and I bury niggaz sixty feet deep
S dot Carter turn rappers into martyrs
Seperate fathers from they daughters, why bother
I’m a crook like you, I took like you
I disobeyed the law threw out the book like you
How dare you look at Jigga like I’m shook like boo
I keep the fifth with me nigga, come and get me..

16. “Is That Yo Chick?” Verse 1, Vol.3…Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)
Uh, yo don’t get mad at me
I don’t love ‘em I fuck ‘em
I don’t chase ‘em I duck ‘em
I replace ‘em with another one
You had to see she keep calling me BIG
(And another one!)
And my name is Jay-Z
She be all on my dick
Gradually I’m taking over your bitch
Coming over your shit
Got my feet up on you sofas, man
I mean a hostess for my open hand
You coming home to dishes and empty soda cans
I got your bitch in my Rover man
I never kiss her, I never hold her hand
In fact I diss her I’m a bolder man
I’mma pimp her, it’s over man
When I twist her in the Gold sedan
Like I’m Goldie man, you’ve been chosen man
Jigga man, ice burg with the frozen hands
Wedding bands don’t make it rosey man

17. “Takeover” Verse 3, The Blueprint (2001)
I know you missin all the – FAAAAAAAME!
But along with celebrity comes bout seventy shots to your frame
Nigga; you a – LAAAAAAAME!
Youse the fag model for Karl Kani/Esco ads
Went from, Nasty Nas to Esco’s trash
Had a spark when you started but now you’re just garbage
Fell from top ten to not mentioned at all
to your bodyguard’s “Oochie Wally” verse better than yours
Matter fact you had the worst flow on the whole fuckin song
but I know – the sun don’t shine, then son don’t shine
That’s why your – LAAAAAAAME! – career come to a end
There’s only so long fake thugs can pretend
Nigga; you ain’t live it you witnessed it from your folks pad
You scribbled in your notepad and created your life
I showed you your first tec on tour with Large Professor
(Me, that’s who!) Then I heard your album bout your tec on the dresser
So yeah I sampled your voice, you was usin it wrong
You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song
And you ain’t get a coin nigga you was gettin fucked and
I know who I paid God, Serchlite Publishing
Use your – BRAAAAAAAIN! You said you been in this ten
I’ve been in it five – smarten up Nas
Four albums in ten years nigga? I can divide
That’s one every let’s say two, two of them shits was due
One was – NAHHH, the other was “Illmatic”
That’s a one hot album every ten year average
And that’s so – LAAAAAAAME! Nigga switch up your flow
Your shit is garbage, but you try and kick knowledge?
(Get the fuck outta here) You niggaz gon’ learn to respect the king
Don’t be the next contestant on that Summer Jam screen
Because you know who (who) did you know what (what)
with you know who (yeah) but just keep that between me and you for now

18. “U Don’t Know” Verse 1, The Blueprint (2001)
I’m from the streets where the
hood could swallow a man, bullets’ll follow a man
There’s so much coke that you could run the slalom
And cops comb the shit top to bottom
They say that we are prone to violence, but it’s home sweet home
Where personalities clash and chrome meets chrome
The coke prices up and down like it’s Wall Street homes
But this is worse than the Dow Jones your brains are now blown
all over that brown Brougham, one slip you are now gone
Welcome to hell where you are welcome to sell
But when them shells come you better return ‘em
All scars we earn ‘em, all cars we learn ‘em like the back of our hand
We watch for cops hoppin out the back of van
Wear a G on my chest, I don’t need Dapper Dan
This ain’t a sewn outfit homes, homes is about it
Was clappin them flamers before I became famous
For playin me y’all shall forever remain nameless
I am Hov’

19. “Renegade” Verse 1, The Blueprint (2001)
Motherfuckers -
say that I’m foolish I only talk about jewels (bling bling)
Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?
See I’m influenced by the ghetto you ruined
That same dude you gave nothin, I made somethin doin
what I do through and through and
I give you the news – with a twist it’s just his ghetto point-of-view
The renegade; you been afraid
I penetrate pop culture, bring ‘em a lot closer to the block where they
pop toasters, and they live with they moms
Got dropped roasters, from botched robberies niggaz crotched over
Mommy’s knocked up cause she wasn’t watched over
Knocked down by some clown when child support knocked
No he’s not around – now how that sound to ya, jot it down
I bring it through the ghetto without ridin ’round
hidin down duckin strays from frustrated youths stuck in they ways
Just read a magazine that fucked up my day
How you rate music that thugs with nothin relate to it?
I help them see they way through it – not you
Can’t step in my pants, can’t walk in my shoes
Bet everything you worth; you lose your tie and your shirt

20. “Ignorant Shit” Verse 2, American Gangster (2007)
They’re all actors
Lookin at themselves in the mirror backwards
Can’t even face themselves, don’t fear no rappers
They’re all weirdos, DeNiros in practice
So don’t believe everything your earlobe captures; it’s mostly backwards
Unless it happens to be as accurate as me
And everything said in song you happen to see
Then, actually, believe half of what you see
None of what you hear, even if it’s spat by me
And with that said, I will kill niggaz dead
Cut niggaz short, give you wheels for legs
I’m a K-I-double-L-E-R
See y’all in Hell, shoot niggaz straight through the E.R.
Whoa~! This ain’t B.R., no
This S.C. CEO, the next Lyor, no
The next leader of the whole free world
And the first thing I’ma do is free Sigel, go

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    “Can I Live” is amazing. Most of Reasonable Doubt and Vol.1 could’ve been on this list.

    I’m not so sure about “Ignorant Shit” – I thought there were better verses on that album.

    • Sincere

      co-sign Pierzy most of those songs could of been on here.
      Vol.1 is classic imo (minus girls like damn you puff)

      • 619

        Everybody forgot the second verse on “Can I Live 2″:
        “Cops pullin’ it over, Jigga react militant
        speed off, officer told me turn the beat off
        I turned it a level higher
        and returned the devils fire
        I’m raised different
        react in situations niggas lay stiff in
        rookies blame it on the age difference
        my subliminal flows create criminal O’s
        sing along if y’all with me ’til the end of the road
        I’m cynical when in the view of the pubic
        is it because I’m defensive when I’m in interviews
        the percentage who don’t understand is higher than the percentage that do
        check yourself what percentage is you”

        • 619

          Oh yeah, everyone forgot Scarface’s ‘Guess Who’s Back’, even though Beanie had the best verse on there, Jay still went in:
          “Guess who’s bizack
          still smell the crack in my clothes
          don’t make me have to relapse on you hoes
          take it back when I was taxin’ them roads
          when I was huggin’ it
          niggas could’nt do nothin’ with it
          straight from the oven with it
          came from the dirt
          I emerged from it all without a stain on my shirt
          you can blame my old earth
          for the shit she instilled in me, still with me, pain plus work
          shit, she made me milk this game for all it’s worth
          that’s right, you niggas can’t fuck with me
          I’m callin’ guts everytime
          drag my nuts everytime homie
          we make a great combination don’t we
          me and the Facemob, everytime we face off
          face it y’all, y’all niggas playin’ basic ball
          I’m on the block like I’m 8 feet tall
          I’m in the drop with the AC on
          that’s why the streets embrace me dog
          I’m so cool”

    • Young Prophet

      I would also say his verse’s on Coldplay’s song Lost+, to me this should have been his verse on suceess on American Gangster…

      With the same sword they knight you, they gon’ good night you with
      Shit, that’s only half if they like you
      That ain’t even the half what they might do
      Don’t believe me, ask Michael
      See Martin, see Malcolm
      See Biggie, see Pac, see success and its outcome
      See Jesus, see Judas
      See Caesar, see Brutus, see success is like suicide
      Suicide, it’s a suicide
      If you succeed, prepare to be crucified
      Media meddles, niggaz sue you, you settle
      Every step you take, they remind you you’re ghetto
      So it’s tough being Bobby Brown
      To be Bobby then, you have to be Bobby now
      And the question is, “Is to have had and lost
      Better than not having at all?”
      Because I’m…

  • stoneyisland

    Tracks 1 and 12 bring me back to a time when I thought Jigga was top 3 alive, dude was hungry back then. He aint spit no hot shit since…..Guess when you get filthy you stop getting them hunger pains in your side…….

  • stoneyisland

    Politics as usual should have been on this list

    • zino


  • yoprince

    Hov used to be so nice…

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    I agree with Pierzy, Ignorant Shit is an odd choice.

    • Rob the Music Ed

      nahhhh. That stanza in Ignorant Shit just sums up rap in a whole!

      “hey’re all actors
      Lookin at themselves in the mirror backwards
      Can’t even face themselves, don’t fear no rappers
      They’re all weirdos, DeNiros in practice
      So don’t believe everything your earlobe captures; it’s mostly backwards
      Unless it happens to be as accurate as me
      And everything said in song you happen to see
      Then, actually, believe half of what you see
      None of what you hear, even if it’s spat by me
      And with that said, I will kill niggaz dead”

      It’s such an important verse IMO. It’s crazy how he waste’s so many bars telling u how these rapeprs are fake and then goes “believe none of what you hear even if it’s spat by me and with that said I will kill niggaz dead.”

      He doesn’t exempt himself, then goes back on his bullshit. I think it’s crazy!

      • Justice4All

        Yeah, that verse has to be one there. It’s rap in truth, and the word play was sick.


    now. before i even read the article. IMO, the last verse from “What More Can I Say” should be on this list.

    “…but the real shit u get when u bust down my lines, add that to the fact i went plat a bunch of times, times that by my influence on pop culture, i supposed to be #1 on everybody list, we’ll see what happens when i no longer exist, fuck this… WHAT MORE CAN I SAY!”


      well, disappointed. but, hey it wasnt a bad list by far.

  • http://xxlmag.com Pop

    Yall Buggin, Take it from Blueprint 3 the second verse on Already Home. He kills that, We not in the same bracket/not in the same league, don’t shoot at the same baskets/don’t pay the same taxes/don’t Hang with the same bitches/so how am I in the way/what is it I’m missing/Nigga I been missin/nigga I been gone/the shit that you just witness-ssin I been on…He killed that!!

    • yoprince

      nigga are you retarded??

      the only verse from BP3 that could even come close to making this list is the third verse from “thank you”

      that shit you just quoted almost ruined my day. we’re trying to reflect on better times here. GTFOH, ruining the moment and shit…

      • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

        “Niggas want my old shit, buy my old albums”

        nigga get the fuck over it and fuck your day hate when niggas can’t help to realize that people change but that does not take away the talent.

        • yoprince

          yea people change. go figure. great point! you even quoted jay-z himself in an attempt to prove that jay-z himself hasn’t fallen off. how intelligent you must be!

          now, kindly, go listen to BP3, while the rest of us somehow foolishly deny Jay-Z’s “talent” while simultaneously praising his earlier work. however that works.

        • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

          dont try to act like you wasnt jus bitchin about son comment above talkin bout how your day was almost ruined and shit if thats a line he likes then let him like it dont cry like a lil bitch bout it kuz who the fuck are you to say if somethin is hot or not nigga kuz u on xxlmag.com all day and night xxl doesnt even have enough credibility to say shit like that so yeah while i go listen to the bp3 u dwell on the past like the old ass nigga u are

        • yoprince

          i’m 24 “kuz”… is that old now?

          who am I to say if something is hot or not? really “kuz”?

          soo.. is everything hot “kuz”?

          on a side note… congratulations on writing an entire paragraph void of punctuation “kuz.” that was fantastic.

          please stop. you’re losing. and it’s not even close.

        • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

          That makes it even worse if you are 24 when you could be doin somethin way more productive nigga so you are losing by a far margin i cud give two fucks how my grammar and vocabulary is presented on a hip hop site who am i impressin loser ass niggas like you no everything is not hot yes jay old shit trumps his new shit ok how may times is a nigga gonna say it you got mad KUZ a nigga said he liked a verse off the bp3 while it may not contend with the verses above it is still good and this thread was made for an open discussion on jays hottest lines so that is his opinion so you i have to say are in the loss because i clearly addressed your fault and all you can do is talk about how i wrote a paragraph which means i can actually create a body of information that is relevant and analyzes the flaws of your short bias statements

        • yoprince

          what could be more productive than assisting at-risk youth such as yourself in making coherent statements?

          with my help, you’ve already progressed.

          i concede your point that punctuation may be a bigger step than you can currently handle, but i urge you to start with these little blog comments.

          one day, when you’re in community college, maybe you’ll be able to punctuate an entire five paragraph essay. or even a research paper.

          best of luck to you “kuz!”

        • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

          That would make sense if I actually fitted that description and like I said why do I need to impress a 24 year old nigga who stays on xxlmag.com and assumes I will go to a community college when I actually already attend the university of md but im not the type of nigga to brag or make myself out to look like a smart dumb nigga tryin to be a fucking teacher to everyone on a blog post about Jay-Z really though you are a clown ass nigga who is probably still struggling to get his GED don’t come at me with that bullshit because you insecure with your own life and you felt you missed out on so many opportunities in your lifetime and I’ll quit stop saying KUZ when you stop bitchin’ on niggas about their opinions

          P.S i wrote this shit in between doing my term paper reason why I haven’t responded as “vigorously” as you did that and because you stay on this site 24/7

        • yoprince

          writing a term paper in september?

          ok “kuz.”

        • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

          Yes a term paper. You may be getting it confused a term paper is a research essay, so before you go making yourself look stupid know what you’re talking about. Univ. of MD begins after Labor Day and we have to type a Term paper now so yeah know your facts before you speak, and take your own advice.

        • yoprince

          sure. and you’re probably taking final exams this week too, right?

          a “term paper,” short for “end-of-term paper,” cannot be written in september, when classes just started.

          also, there are essays. and there are research papers. there are no “research essays.” at most, there are essays that require some research. but essays are typically comprised of mostly opinion. but i know you have a problem with opinions.

          lastly.. and here’s the kicker… wait for it… Univ of MD’s first day of classes was Aug. 31. that’s BEFORE labor day. factual enough for you?

          you lose and your life sucks, therefore you have to go on the internet and make up a fake one. sorry.

  • http://xxl ryan

    imo friend or foe is hands down the best verse. can i live and 22 2s can battle it out for 2nd.

  • Barry Washington

    I think his best verse is the “Can I Live” one you’ve chosen, I would rank that verse as one of the best verses ever in hip hop. Classic.

  • Barry Washington

    Also, how do you leave out his material from “The Black Album”???


      ^^^thank you. i could have swore i was gonna see something from the Black Album.

    • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

      Exactly PSA and Lucifer should easily be on here.

  • AZ40

    If you can shoot ya own bro ova some bullshit u must be a grimey ass nigga who don’t care bout nobody…BROOOOOOOKLYNNNNNNNNNN BABY!!!!!!!!!

  • GregSIde

    2nd verse on “99 Problems”. I had already loved the verse and the song then I think on the Fade to Black movie they show him at Rick Rubens house making that shit and everybody’s standing there like “Damn!” How he’s going back and forth between him and the cop. That made me appreciate all his work even more.

  • Hanch

    How can they Leave out the Third Verse from “Feelin It”? Thats the best Verse talkin about why ppl Smoke the Green Ever!!!

  • kedordu


  • murK

    grammy family freestyle

    • Rich-Porter

      I swear I was going to see that on here. He murked that and since then I haven’t been able to listen to the original.

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    what a strange list.

    first of all, three words: Meet… The… Parents!

    the THIRD verse of DP2 is the nastiness. second verse is awesome too, but i love verse 3 more than 1.

    “the soviet. the unified steady flow. you already know…” murder from then on.

    44 Fours > 22 Twos… and it’s all one verse.

    who HASN’T memorized the first verse of PSA? “allow me to reintroduce myself…”

    his verse on 4 Alarm Blaze is a personal favorite of mine.

    verse 3 of Dopeman… far too overlooked. as are all the gems on vol 3, because of… well, the bullshit on vol 3.

    verse 1 of A Week Ago. genius.

    and American Gangster is LOADED with wayyyy better gems than that Ignorant Shit verse. pick ANY verse on Fallin’, for example.

    American Dreamin’… i wish you well…
    American Gangster is pretty sick. as is the Oliver North & Iran Contra verse on Blue Magic.

    just some thoughts and suggestions, dear friends.

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      Good call all around.

      “4 Alarm Blaze” is nasty and I like Vol. 3 a lot more than most so I feel you on that.

      Up top, I also said almost any other song on American Gangster was stronger than “Ignorant Shit”

      • Rob the Music Ed

        Nah Ron
        “Meet The Parents” is WILD overrated to me. Hov’s story-telling just wasn’t up to par with the greats like Rick, BIG, Nas, and Andre 3K.
        I loved the attempt on “Meet The Parents” but the execution was lacking to me. It just doesnt GRAB you.

        • yoprince


          i think ppl just got excited that the nigga was finally telling a story in that way… but it wasn’t really all that

        • Eric

          y’all are trippin… nigga spun a tale about a man killing his own son over some stree shit and made a metaphor out of it, like fathers start raising your kids! the whole damn concept of the song is metaphoric, not just a story.

          Big and Slick Rick and them were great storytellers, but they never did no shit like that

    • GregSide

      I second you on American Gangster. I’m not sayin’ “Ignorant Shit” not a good song but come on. “I Know” was 2 me the best song on there. He’s rappin to a girl as if he’s heron. That shit was deep if you really listen to what he’s spittin’. Going through the ups and downs of addiction and how it be callin you. Only Jay can do that shit.

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    and… REGRETS! pick a verse! i’ll pick verse 3.

    remember newton?

    • yoprince

      “mutual friend? well, me and him feudin”


    • latino heat

      thank you Mex!

      i was just going through these comments to see if anybody mentioned Regrets. i agree verse 3.

      “i think i’m touched this whole verse i been talking to your spirit a little too much.”

  • LightsOut

    3rd verse from “What more can I say”

    His verse in “You, me, him & her” off the Dynasty

    Dynasty Intro

    His verse on the U Don’t know Remix (BP2)

    The Watcher verse 1 (BP2)

  • dnero718

    “D’evils” verse 2 best jay verse ever by a mile..”thinkin back when we first learned to use rubbers/he never learned so in turn i’m kidnappin his baby’s mother” classic!

  • cazo

    instead of renegade they should have chose heart of the city verse 1 and 2 and instead of pre-game they should have chose on to the next one verse 1, am i the only one who thinks verse 1 from where i’m from is better than verse 2

  • tambo

    3rd verse from “Can’t Get Wit That”….Period.
    “I don’t kick it I punt it…
    I’m so wicked, ya want it?
    My tounge is tired from lickin’ my fingers and countin’ up hundreds….
    So I bought a money manchine,… and it goes, dat-da-doodala-dat-dit-doodala dat dit dit dit DOUGH.
    How many styles I gotta kick to prove i’m def?…I can even kick my, rip that,..& catch a breath.”

    One word: WHOA!

    • Peschola

      I remember when i first heard that song, i instantly began looking jigga records from like 92 and beyond. his word play was sinmply unreal back then……

  • cazo

    i think they should have chose heart of the city verse 1 and 2 over renegade, and they should have chose on to the next one verse 1 of pregame, am i the only 1 who thinks verse 1 from where i’m from is better than verse 2

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    So much to choose from. That’s a fact.

    Co-sign kedordu.

    Jigga’s verse on “Throw Your Hands Up” is the one I would swap w/”Ignorant Sh*t”.

    “Imaginary Players”. The end skit killed his own verses.

    Totally forgot “Who You Wit” I see…

    Vol.1 does sound better with age. Except the Foxy & Lil Kim songs.

  • TAtor

    Corporate Takeover freestyle

  • Avenue the Rookie

    “Got my feet up on you sofas, man
    I mean a hostess for my open hand”

    I could have sworn he said ” Im needin Holsters for my open hand”

    • latino heat

      i thought he said “i’m eating Hostess (cupcakes) with my open hand.”

    • Eric

      he did.

  • What Theee?

    No “Bring it On?”


  • paris

    My fav verse is from you must love me. Suprisingly a verse i would also include comes from KC. The intro from Kingdom Come

  • Pierzy

    Ignorant shit rocks.

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      Welcome back. I guess they finally have Wi-Fi in your 10th grade study hall?

  • yoprince

    man, the second verse of “this life forever”

    i hold the gun eye level,i ain’t afraid of conflict
    i let the nine rip, nigga say hi to the devil
    i blind with the bezzel, i’m in line with the ghetto,
    what ya’ll niggas afraid of, my mind or the metal?
    niggas tryna subtract my life
    my mathematics is precise
    i carry the nine
    so fuckin with me just ain’t the answer

    over my years i’ve seen
    +rooks+ get tooken by the +knight+
    lose they crown, for tryna defend the queen
    Checkmate! in four moves
    the bobby fischer of rap wit’ raw moves…

    he killed that shit.

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      Great call! I always thought that was one of his illest songs that the majority of people never heard.

  • Tre

    Where is any verse from “So Ghetto” and the 3rd verse from Is that your chick instead of the 1st.


    Ya’ll missin:

    Hovi Baby…BP2
    Allure….Black Album
    American Dreamin….AG
    Intro…Kingdom Come

  • ROCstar

    One of my faves: “A Dream” off BP2 – first verse

    “I had a dream, I said; bout who he said
    Bout BIG I said, thats big he said…

    …I see I said, jealousy I said
    got the whole industry mad at me, I said
    and B-I said ‘Hov remind yourself
    nobody built like you, you designed yourself’
    I agree I said, my one of a kind self
    Get stoned every day like Jesus did
    And what he said, I said has been said before
    ‘Just keep doin ya thing’ he said, say no more”

    I been quotin that verse since I had a profile on AOL Instant Messenger in like 8th grade haha.

  • http://xxlmag.com Kappadolla

    I dont know about the rest of yall(those who say he fell off) but this album has heat on it no doubt. The first cut “What we Talkin bout” line for line is damn near perfect. Now I will admint that his last two joints were kinda ewww but I belive he hit it with this last one

  • Sincere

    1st verse of the Watcher II

    Things just ain’t the same for gangsters
    But I’m a little too famous to shoot these pranksters
    All of these rap singers claimin they bangers
    Doin all sorts of twisted shit with they fingers
    Disrespectin the game, no home trainin or manners
    I was doin this shit when you was shittin Pampers
    I was movin them grams ‘fore you, knew what a hand that hand was
    Duckin the vans, radars, the scanners
    ‘Fore you knew what hard white to tame was
    I was hittin the turnpike, aight with the bammers
    I was nice with my hands, cuss aight with them hammers
    I was prickin my finger ‘fore you knew what a Fam was
    I had it laid out ‘fore you knew what a plan was
    Three hundred mill’ later, now you understand us
    Y’all ain’t see us comin through Vegas
    You ever seen so much cham’ bust in one night
    Grand fucked up one fight
    I was on the Peter Pan bus
    You was Peter Pan up in your room, y’all fuckin with whom?
    Allow me to retort
    You cowards is just now learnin the shit that we taught
    You niggaz ain’t know about a Robb Report
    Bout a high speed Porsche, i.e.
    You niggaz ain’t know how to floss ’til I came through the door
    like “Eric B. for Pres,” respect me in this BITCH!
    You can’t disrespect us cause you got a little check cut
    You was suckin for so long, fuckin your little neck up
    Now you too big for your britches, you got a few little bitches
    You think you Hugh Hefner, you just ridiculous
    I blew breath for you midgets, I gave life to the game
    It’s only right I got the right to be king
    Niggaz that got life really like what I sing
    Cause they know what it’s really like, niggaz feel my pain
    Know the shit I DON’T write be the illest shit that’s ever been recited
    in the game word to the hyphen in my NAME!
    J, A, Y, DASH, Hoffa
    The past present nigga the future, proper
    The holy trinity of hip-hop is us
    We give, Dre his props BUT that’s where it stops
    It’s the Roc

    • Justice4All

      Actually, that is the illest verse.

    • Silly Chilly Willy

      Major cosign!

      Fuck a general consensus, I think he killed that whole song.

    • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

      That may actually be the hottest it was a couple errors in there but we got the message.

  • Black Rick

    His best verse is so debatable because he got so many sick ones.A lot of times he goes over niggas heads and they think the song or verse is wack(see bp3)but his shit is still incredible in my opionion.I think the verses given were just the writers opinion and you gotta admit it was some sick verses on it.Just the fact that it’s even a article on this shit shows the niggaz impact on the game.They should do one for some of the other greats as well.

  • Chris Cash

    Nah yall forgettin his verse from Lost wit Cold Play.

    Now that was a genious verse.

    • Chris Cash

      Or the 2nd verse of B.I.T.C.H

  • Sincere

    A Million and 1 questions

    …a lot of speculation
    on the monies I’ve made, honeys I’ve slayed
    How is he for real? Is that nigga really paid?
    Hustlers I’ve met or, dealt with direct
    Is it true he slay the beef and slept with a tech?
    What’s the position you hold? Can you really match
    a triple platinum artist buck by buck by only a single goin gold?
    Roc-A-Fella ship fold, and you’re left out in the cold
    Is it back to charging motherfuckers 11 for an O
    For the millionth time askin me
    Questions like Wendy Williams, harrassin me
    then get upset when I catch feelings
    Can I get a minute to breathe? And in that minute you leave
    While I’m looking at my Rol’ ice spinnin on my sleeve
    Uh, nice watch, do you really have a spot?
    Like you said in Friend or Foe and if so, what block?
    What you doin in L.A., with phillipinos and ese’s
    Latinos and Cheve’s, down by Pico withh Frederico
    I answer all your questions but then y’all got to go
    Now the question I ask you is how bad you want to know? BLAOW!

    • yoprince

      yeaaaa… that’s a good one my dude.



  • http://abcnews.com cheezey
  • RR

    While there were many verses that could have been included, I think the most glaring omissions were “What more can I say” and “Public Service Announcement”…

  • Sway-z

    I feel you homie, my favorite Jay SONG is Can I live, favorite VERSE is Bring it on, no doubt:

    Mannerisms of a young Bobby DeNiro,
    spent spanish wisdoms in a whip with dinero, crime organized like the pharoah
    I cream, I diamond gleam
    High post like Hakeem,
    got a lot of things to drop
    Brooklyn to Queens, I gotta keep my steam
    Niggaz wanna try to hem my long jeans
    Uptown fiend for Jay-Z to appear on the scene
    In the meanwhile, here’s somethin dope for y’all to lean
    Liason for days on in
    Money make the world go around
    so I made some to spin
    Can I Live, did dough, with my nigs, dividends flow
    like the Mississippi riv’, lookin jig’
    Can’t do for dolo, had to turn away when Tony killed Manolo
    That’s real,
    mixed feelings like a mulatto
    Thug thought he was O.G. Bobby Johnson
    I played him like Benny Blanco, mano a mano
    you ain’t ready,
    I find no trigger straight up shoot my guns
    horizontal, get your weight up,
    I am
    two point two pounds you’re barely a hundred and twenty-five grams
    Wouldn’t expect y’all to understand this money
    Do the knowledge, due to few dollars, I’m due to demolish Crews
    Brooklyn through Hollis to a hood near you, what the fuck…

  • brand-new

    the second verse from threats off of the black album is one my favorites. no 1, no 2, no 3, no why, cause one’s 45 may blow your high, something no man should try, its like nunbchucks held by jet l. i.

  • Ali

    nothing from the Black Album? Iono bout that………how bout “Heart Of The City” verse #2?

    Can I live? I told yall back in ’96 I came to take this shit & I did, handle my biz, I scramble like Randle with his, Cunningham but the only thing runnin is numbers fam, Jigga held it down 6 summers damn WHERE’S THE LOVE?

    4 real, where is it? lol

  • hollywood_P

    How can “Meet the Parents” off Blueprint 2 not make the cut…

  • Escobar9300

    I agree with these choices. One of my favorite Hov verses was from “Storm” with Lenny Kravitz.

    “Brooklyn’s bad boy back again
    Feet hit the ground runnin’ and my back’s to the wind
    Angels on my shoulders, head in the clouds
    No, I’m not rappin’, I’m just thinkin’ real loud
    My karma’s my armor, my charm and wit
    Is like a leather bomber, I’m warm as shit
    And I did bad for good but when you’re trapped in the hood
    You do worse for less, homie earth’s a test
    Only God can judge me
    My heart ain’t ugly
    But the toughts that I drop is heavy
    Try budge me
    Mama loved me, pop left me
    Still the homies call me lucky lefty
    I’m flashy and deadly
    Deceptively smart
    I make hustlin’ heaven and pimpin’ an art
    Long as I know that I’m blessed
    ‘Cause I’m loved in depth
    I can walk trough water and not get wet
    I’m that fresh”

    • Silly Chilly Willy

      Damn ! Thanks Esco, that’s one of my fav too. And I think one of the best Jay song ever is Dead President part1. That’s a flawless song !

      • Escobar9300

        No sweat S.C.W. That verse off Storm was straight flames. I do agree about DP I and DP II being timeless classics. Both are literally flawless songs.

  • crwdplsr

    “Girls, Girls, Girls” anyone?

    “Now that’s Spanish chick, French chick, Indian, and black. That’s fried chicken, curry chicken, damn I’m gettin fat. Arroz con pollo, french fries, and crepe. An appetite for destruction but I scrape the plate”

    “I got this African chick with Eddie Murphy on the skull. She said Jigga Man why you treat me like animal. I said excuse me miss Fufu, but when I met yo ass, you was dead broke & naked & now you want half?” (eddie murphy raw)

  • oskamadison

    Dude forgot about “American Gangster”, too. “Success” (Nas did his thing but Hov was on his shit), “Sweet” (The rhymes were bonkers, the flow? straight small yellow bus status), “Roc Boys” (how the fuck you write an acceptance speech as “dopeboy of the year”?), No Hook (nothing but real talk. But I got a forgotten joint for y’all: “The People’s Court” from that bonus CD that came with “Vol. 3…”. Hold up, one more: The 2nd verse to “Squeeze 1st” from “The Dynasty” and as soon as I finish typing, I’ll probably remember like 5 or 6 more.

    • oskamadison

      My bad, I ain’t realize dude had Ignorant Shit up there. Still, swap his joint off “Success” (I’m way too important to be talkin’ ’bout extortin’/Askin’ me for a portion’s like askin’ for a coffin…) for Ignorant Shit.

  • jonny bizness

    totally agree with ron ,meet the parents is one of my faves of all time. the line where he says isis liked this broadway life she loved the gucci sneakers the red ,green and white wtf .pure genius

  • balaramesh

    hova has too many incredible verses.

    i’d take vol 1, blueprint 2 and kingdom comes verses over 99% of the stuff out now. besides, nothing out right now is touching “hovi baby”

  • Fink

    respect to whoever compiled this… clearly an opinion based top 20 anything will always include some that others disagree with. At the very least I agree with 10 of these verses though, and as a result I think yall should get props. You also put me on a verse I’d pretty much written off, “Come and Get me.” When I was younger it never really did it for me so I never came back around to it. Reading it though was a completely different experience. Nice work.

    Someone above mentioned Meet the Parents and I think I agree with that also (can’t say for sure though until I made my own personal top 20).

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    the point is: jayz and his stellar great 13 year career proves that he is the best rapper dead or alive. Point Blank.

    Also, i’m tired of people saying bp3 sucks. Nah, u gotta be slow or broke or both to not see all those great lines. its a new day. its not 96 not 2006 and those days ain’t coming back. In fact, its not 9/11/09. move on. cry a river build a bridge move on.

    all the comments show support. I agree, its more verses out there. Mixtape verses. Freestyles. I respect the list, but its clear reasonable doubt is xxl’s favorite.

    • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

      Co-sign to the fullest BP3 is ill as shit times change only album I ain’t really feel that much (Vol. 3) beats alot of other guys albums out but you can’t blame em because all of Jay’s albums been ones that had to grow on you point blank, then they will soon enough understand why BP3 is a great album

  • Silky Johnson

    What about Intro from Roc La Familia?

    “The theme song to The Sopranos
    plays in the key of life on my, mental piano
    Got a strange way of seein life like
    I’m Stevie Wonder with, beads under the doo-rag
    Intuition is there even when my vision’s impaired, yeah
    Knowin I can go, just switchin a spare
    On the highway of life, nigga it’s sharp in my sight”


    “Never read the Qu’ran or Islamic scriptures, Only psalms I read was on the arms of my niggas, Tattooed so I carry on like I’m non-religious, Clap whoever stand between Shawn and figures, Niggas, say it’s the dawn but I’m superstitious, Shit is as dark as it’s been, nothin is going as you predicted, I move with biscuits, stop the hearts of niggas actin too suspicious, This is, food for thought, you do the dishes…”

    • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

      Damn I forgot about that one, underrated shit right there.

    • Eric

      damn, i read through every comment seeing if someone would mention this… maybe my all time favorite verse from ANYBODY. “got a strange way of seeing life/like/I’m stevie wonder with beads under the doo rag/”

      damn, he’s the coldest to ever do it.

  • BK

    I personally liked the 2nd and 3rd verses from Fallin off American Gangster

  • dolla bill

    man no one said nothing bout “encore” (go listen to it!!! its so true!) or the second verse on “renagade” i had to hustle my back to the wall ashy knuckles pockets filled wit alot lent not cent gotta vent lotta inoccent live lost on the project bench what u hollering gotta pay rent bring dollars in by the bodega iron under my coat feeling brave a du-rag wrapping my waves up pockets full of hope do not step to me i’m awkward i box lefty an orphan my pops left me and often my mother wasnt home cannot stress 2 me i wasnt grown especialy on nights i brought something home to quiet the stomach rumblings my demeanor thirty years my senior my childhood didnt mean much only raising green up raising my finger 2 to critics raising my head to the sky big i did it multi before i die no lie just no i chose my own fate i drove by the fork in the road and went straight!!!!! i still wonder how people say em killed jay on this song? guess u gotta be a hustler from the hood to really get it?!

  • Ice-Berg-Slim

    2nd verse of hovi baby off the bp2
    I’m so far ahead of my time, I’m bout to start another life
    Look behind you, I’m bout to pass you twice
    Back to the future and gotta slow up for the present
    I’m fast, niggaz can’t get past my past
    How they propose to deal with my perfect present?
    When I unwrap “The Gift & the Curse” in one session
    Ain’t no livin person can test him
    Only two restin in heaven can be mentioned in the same breath as him
    Seven straight summers, critics might not admit it
    But nobody in rap did it, quite like I did it
    If you did it I done it before, you get I had it
    Got mad at it and don’t want it no more
    And that goes for everything from flippin that raw
    Flippin whores, flippin vocal chords, don’t get it twisted
    Get it right, did different, did it better, did it nice
    Did the impossible then did it twice (get it right)

    2nd verse hola hovito off bp
    Yeah, yeah, yeah
    Yeah naw I don’t fuck around, stay on my J.O.
    Hov’ been about that dough since I was a day old
    Oh, push perrico if I need to for the rule of evil
    Was born in the belly that’s the way the streets breed you
    One life to live – notice you get no sequel
    So I truly got to live this like my last movie
    Six oohie, jewels drippin, big toolie
    I ball for real, y’all niggaz is Sam Bouie
    And with the third pick – I made the earth sick
    M.J., hem Jay, fade away perfect
    I rhyme sicker than every rhyme spitter
    Every crime nigga that rhyme or touch a mic because my mind’s quicker
    I’m a eighty-eighter, nine-six to “Reasonable Doubt”
    Temper short, don’t take much to squeeze you out
    Yeah you shinin but the only thing you’re leavin out
    You’re a candle in the sun – that shit don’t even out

  • dolla bill

    oh man i almost forgot the first verse on “big pimpin” ice berg slim at his finest!!! “beep beep then i’m picking em up let em play wit the dick in the truck” nuff said

  • Knowledgeable

    This list is so incomplete. Some hot verses that the writer missed are “The Watcher II” verse, 1st verse on “American Dreamin”, 3rd verse on “No Hook”, 1st verse on “Lucky Me”, 3rd verse on “Empire State of Mind”, any verse on “Regrets”.

    The writer did have verses from “D’Evils”, “Can I Live”, “Takeover” and an often overlooked verse on “Renegade”. They are definitely among my favorites.

  • LightsOut

    The joint he did on the DMX album with the Lox where he starts off…
    “I sleep cold winters wake up and spit summers, ghetto nigga puttin up Will Smith numbers…”

  • Sway-z

    Don’t sleep on Moment of Clarity either, that shit had niggas checking for Talib & Common that probably never even heard of um

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    ya the list is crazy. I think that dynasty intro is prob one of the illest. i think about it alot. Plus, I woke up early this morning. i think it was suppose to be on the bp or bp2. its tight. Also, the verse of i go hard. the dude just got hits on hits.

  • jojo

    I’m surprised theres nothing from Roc La Familia, which is a pretty cohesive album when you consider that most of the songs have a guest appearance….

    1-900-hustler?…also, the threats song from the black album, first verse

    Put that knife in ya, take a little bit of life from ya
    Am I frightenin ya? Shall I continue?
    I put the gun to ya, I let it sing you a song
    I let it hum to ya, the other one sing along
    Now it’s a duet, and you wet, when you check out
    the technique from the 2 tecs and I don’t need two lips
    To blow this like a trumpet you dumb shit
    This is a un-usual musical I conductin
    You lookin at the black Warren Buffett so all critics can duck sic
    I don’t care if you C. Delores Tuck-it
    Or you Bill O’Reilly, you only rylin me up
    For three years, they had me peein out of a cup
    Now they bout to free me up, whatchu think I’m gon’ be, what?
    Rehabilitated, man I still feel hatred
    I’m young black and rich so they wanna strip me naked, but
    You never had me like Christina Aguiler-y
    But catch me down the Westside, drivin like Halle Berry
    Or the FDR, in the seat of my car
    Screamin out the sunroof death to y’all
    You can’t kill me, I live forever through these bars
    I put the wolves on ya, I put a price on your head
    The whole hood’ll want ya, you startin to look like bread
    I send them boys at ya, I ain’t talkin bout Feds
    Nigga them body-snatchers, nigga you heard what I said

  • http://danjlovesthe90s.wordpress.com DANJ!

    This just drives home how serious dude’s talent was and is… That just 20, and that’s covering his first few years in the game, not to mention a lot of others that could’ve been thrown in there as well.

    the second verse of Hovi Baby kills it as well…

  • dollaboston

    “roc boys” i figured lames never hit a lick before so they don’t know the feelin when them things get across!!! c’mon man!!! the whole joint!!!! crazy! …his verse on “go crazy” bananas!!!… hova song the outro! we could do this for days man he the best do ever do it hands down!! STOP HATIN AND LISTENNNNN!! but y he aint never help the clipse? he fuck wit p! heavy all he had to do was have em on a track on a album!!!! that would be fucking insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    D’Evils = “We used to fight for building blocks
    Now we fight for blocks with buildings that make a killing
    The closest of friends when we first started
    But grew apart as the money grew, and soon grew black-hearted”

    Friend/Foe = (Whole song)

    Where i’m from = “I’m from the place where the chruch is the flakiest
    And niggas is praying to god so long that they Atheist
    Where you can’t put your vest away and say you’ll wear it tomorrow
    Cause the day after we’ll be saying, damn I was just with him yesterday”

    U don’t know = “I’m from the streets where the
    hood could swallow a man, bullets’ll follow a man
    There’s so much coke that you could run the slalom
    And cops comb the shit top to bottom
    They say that we are prone to violence, but it’s home sweet home”

    Come & Get me = “I remove your roof nigga let the sun shine in
    Thirty-eight waist, enough to put one nine in”

    Do it again = “How the fuck you gon’ talk about MC’s on our heel?
    When we just cop them things homie the chromey wheels
    Both arms are chunky the sleeves on chill
    Any given times a hundred G’s in your grill
    Don’t talk to me ’bout MC’s got skills
    “He’s alright, but he’s not real””

    Street is Watching = “I felt like life was cheating me, for the first time
    in my life I was getting money but it was like my concious was eating me
    Was this a lesson God teaching me? Was he saying that?
    I’m playing the game straight from Hell from which few came back”

    Twenty two = “That’s 22 too’s for y’all motherfuckers out there, yaknahmean?”

  • wes

    I agree with a lot of the ones listed also:

    Diamonds are forever Remix

    The intro to Mary J.s love and life

    Intro to 2nd disc of BP2

    Intro to Roc la fam

    Come and get me 1st

    Where I’m from 2nd

    too long of a list and it’s late

  • ErvGotti85

    The list and everything that everyone listed makes this list almost impossible to get a consensus list, so I add Jay’s verse off of this can’t be life that starts off I was born in sewage forced to make bomb music flow tight like I was born Jewish. And his verse off Freeway’s What we Do that start off Hov never second mayne slippin in the black range faster than the red ghost getting ghost with pacman.

  • hovihov

    what happened to the blue print2(the watcher)…classic verses on there no kingdom come(30 something,do you wanna ride) and BP3?(already home)We not in the same bracket/not in the same league, don’t shoot at the same baskets/don’t pay the same taxes/don’t Hang with the same bitches/so how am I in the way/what is it I’m missing/Nigga I been missin/nigga I been gone/the shit that you just witness-ssin I been on..as for the critics tell me i dont get it, everybody can tell you how to do it they never did it,now these niggas is mad, o they call me a camel but i last in the drought, wtf im an animal, half man half mammal, my sign is a saige, this is just what i planned to do, o don’t me mad….one of the hotteset verese on bp3

  • mdb

    nothing from the black album? really?

  • Screwmatic

    I would say, Imaginary Player lyrics be the hottest line.

  • What’s up…..

    What about that Gangsta Shit verse off of that DJ Clue album with Ja Rule.

  • Durbey E. Macon

    I am going to say the whole “The Jump Off” freestyle.

  • phenomena

    To ff1one@yahoo.com:
    The people complaining of bp3 are discussing how he sounds as if he has not completely devoted himself on this album. Playing baby wrangler for Kanye’s stupid antics is diverting his concentration. Anyhow, XXL should have posted What More Can I Say off of the black album

  • tonytwist

    this list could go on forever…

  • Lord Maximus

    Nice list, but how about his verse of of Big L’s “Da Graveyard”? Sick ass verse

  • Eric

    this is too damn hard. its impossible. I mean, why is there a debate on this guy being the best ever? seriously, i can’t think of anybody who has more consisitently hot verses. some other rappers are really good, don’t get me wrong. but there are probably close to a hundred different verses that could easily be listed here

  • Joe

    I DARE anyone to top my list lol:

    DP1-verse 2
    DP2-verse 1
    D’EVILS verse 2 AND 3
    PRE GAME (Sauce Money song)
    LUCKY ME-ALL 3 verses
    WHERE IM FROM-verse 2
    JIGGA WHAT (ORIGINATORS)-verse 1 and 2
    IT’S LIKE THAT-verse 2
    NYMP-verse 2 and 3
    HOVA SONG (got yall with that 1)
    SONG CRY-verse 2 and 3
    TAKEOVER-verse 3 and 4
    MOMMA LOVES ME (that shyt was all 1 verse!)
    IGNORANT SHYT-verse 2
    BLACKOUT-(Lox and DMX song)
    PUT IT IN THE AIR (M.O.P. song)-”u bout to witness the most, intelligent ignorant bytch u gon hear in this miserable life that u livin, i hope that u diggin it’
    GO CRAZY REMIX (Jeezy song)

    The short list for best ever is Soon You’ll Understand, Lucky Me, Regrets, D’evils, Go Crazy, Put it in the Air

    • Neibo

      Joe, you completly read my mind, it’s nice to know someone on here knows they shit.

  • http://xxlmag.com d-cov

    1st off..bp3 is a great album..i just put it on shuffle and listen to it completely..i can go say the last verse on on to the next one..1st and 3rd verses on venus vs. mars..what about the intro to vol. 3 or his last verse on its alright or his verse on what we do or 1st verse on breathe easy(lyrical exercise)or 3rd verse on justify my thug or 3rd verse on trouble or his verse on lupe’s song pressure?

  • http://xxlmag.com dcov

    1st off..bp3 is a great album..i just put it on shuffle and listen to it completely..i can go say the last verse on on to the next one..1st and 3rd verses on venus vs. mars..what about the intro to vol. 3 or his last verse on its alright or his verse on what we do or 1st verse on breathe easy(lyrical exercise)or 3rd verse on justify my thug or 3rd verse on trouble or his verse on lupe’s song pressure or his verse on young g’s and one minute man?

  • Ric

    “Can I Live”..verse 1

    “While I’m watching every nigga watching me closley
    My shit is butter, for the bread they wanna toast me
    I keep my head, both of them where they suppose to be
    hoes will get you clapped with close feet.”

  • BeerGangsta

    J is ok in lyrics. I like how he is out Selling these young dummy. He have prove to ya’ll age ain’t nothing but a number.

  • Neibo

    Murder is a tough thing to digest, it’s a slow process
    and I ain’t got nothin but time
    I had near brushes, not to mention three shots
    close range, never touched me, divine intervention
    Can’t stop I, from drinkin Mai-Tai’s, with Ta Ta
    Down in Nevada, ha ha, Poppa, word life
    I dabbled in crazy weight without rap, I was crazy straight
    Potnah, I’m still spendin money from eighty-eight… what?

    How is this not one of the best of Jay’s versus…

  • Chris S

    1) 99 Problems 2nd verse

    2) 44 fours

  • King Joffy Joe

    This is a pretty good list, though I do believe that the verse from “Ignorant Shit”, should have been replaced with a verse from “D.O.A.”

    “My raps don’t have melodies,
    this shit make niggas want go and commit felonies”…. Or,

    “This shit need a verse from Jeezy,
    I might send this to the mixtape Weezy,
    get somebody from B.M.F. to talk on it,
    give this to a blood, let a crip walk on it”…

    Those right there are crazy.

    -K. Joffy Joseph

    • Knowledgeable

      That’s whack. The hottest lines in D.O.A. are:

      “Get your chain tooken
      I may do it myself, I’m so Brooklyn
      I know we facin a recession
      But the music yall makin gonna make it the great depression
      Ah, or your lack of aggression
      Pull your skirt back down, grow a set men”


      “Stop your blood clot crying
      The kid the dog everybody dying
      No lyin, your niggas’ jeans too tight
      Your colors too bright, your voice too light”

  • nomad

    the intro to the dynasty

  • nomad

    Intro Dynasty The theme song to +The Sopranos+
    plays in the key of life on my, mental piano
    Got a strange way of seein life like
    I’m Stevie Wonder with, beads under the doo-rag
    Intuition is there even when my vision’s impaired, yeah
    Knowin I can go, just switchin a spare
    On the highway of life, nigga it’s sharp in my sight
    Oh! Keen senses ever since I was a, teen on the benches
    everytime somebody like Enus was mentioned
    I would turn green, me, bein in the trenches
    Him, livin adventureous not worryin about expenditures
    I’m bravin temperatures below zero, no hero
    No father figure, you gotta pardon a nigga
    But I’m starvin my niggaz, and the weight loss in my figure
    is startin to darken my heart, bout to get to my liver
    Watch it my niggaz, I’m tryin to be calm but I’m gon’ get richer
    through any means, with that thing that Malcolm palmed in the picture
    Never read the Qu’ran or Islamic scriptures
    Only psalms I read was on the arms of my niggaz
    Tattooed so I carry on like I’m non-religious
    Clap whoever stand between Shawn and figures
    Niggaz, say it’s the dawn/Don but I’m superstitious
    Shit is as dark as it’s been, nothin is goin as you predicted
    I move with biscuits, stop the harder niggaz actin too suspicious
    This is, food for thought, you do the dishes

  • Detroit P

    Read all of these comments……This is why Jay-Z is the GOAT

  • Sway-z

    Even though this one’s new, it’s still true, and should be up here, it’s an instant classic:

    I taught ‘em ’bout fish scale,
    they want me to fish for them
    They want me to catch clean
    then cook up a dish for them
    All of this just for them,
    Or they got a diss for him
    They want me to disappear
    Like it’s gone shift for them
    They say that I’m in the way
    They want me to sit for them
    But what they admitting is
    they aint got shit for him
    And really the fact is,
    we not in the same bracket
    Not in the same league
    Don’t shoot at the same baskets
    Don’t pay the same taxes,
    Hang with the same bitches
    So how am i in the way,
    what is it im missing?
    Nigga I been missing
    Nigga I been gone
    The shit that you just witnessesing,
    I been on
    And as for the critics,
    tell me I don’t get it
    Everybody can tell you how to do it,
    they never did it
    Now these niggas is mad,
    Oh they call me a Camel
    But I mastered the drought,
    what the fuck I’m an animal
    Half man half mammal
    My sign is a Sag’
    This is just what i planned to do
    Oh don’t be mad

  • Joe

    SMH at nggas puttin up lyrics from 99 problems, Excuse me Miss n shyt lol Yall aint real fans! Peep game:

    You ’bout to witness the most intelligent ignorant shit
    you gonna hear in the miserable life that you livin; I hope that you diggin it
    I ain’t no dif-fer-ent from any nigga livin in the hood
    whose attitude is “I wish a nigga would”
    Your fam might as well kiss you goodbye, they’ll miss you for good
    No more Mr. Nice Guy, listen to the hook
    (PUT IT IN THE AIR!) Homey I’ll put you in the air
    Feel the fury of a feather trigger nigga if you near
    The I gets sparked, Allah-u Akbar
    can’t even save you I will break you what you high on puff?
    I kill niggaz with my own thoughts
    Yeah I’m guilty as charged, nigga it’s my own fault
    Homey you walkin through hell with nylon socks, my nine pump cough
    I’ll make you wind up in the basement with DJ Satan
    Your boy got the crown nigga, my replacement ain’t been born yet
    Y’all realize this ain’t a song yet?

  • chinlawson

    man erybody that commented on this list is right youcan put any of his verses ezcept bp3 material. hands down the greatest mc ever dead or alive

  • Razilla tha Beast

    I cant believe that there aint a single song from the Black Album on this list… no love for What More Can I Say or P.S.A??? and the second verse from Dead Presidents for realz shuda been on here.

    whats funny is that even Jays worst ish off Kingdom come is still better than half the rappers out there

  • http://thcoolnewideas.info/ Joaquin Llewellyn

    Is definitely blogengine much better than wordpress blogs in some way? Needs to be since it is starting to be popluar recently.