Home Featured The 10 Best Jay-Z Features of All Time

The 10 Best Jay-Z Features of All Time

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Anyone who knows me know that I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the musical catalogue of Sean ‘Jay-Z’ Carter. I’m ashamed to admit it – but I probably quote Jay-Z lyrics more than I quote the bible. I’m the type of Jay-Z fan who’s never read the second half of Decoded because after reading the first half I realized I wasn’t learning anything new and could probably write the rest myself. There was a time when being this kind of Jay-Z fan put you in rare company, but over the last half decade, it seems being a Hov scholar has gone from niche to not-so-rare. And with the knowledge of Jay’s greatness becoming more and more an accepted fact of life, the typical sort of debates keep popping up. We always see lists like “50 Best Jay-Z songs of all time,” “10 Best Jay-Z verses of All-Time,” “Ranking Jay-Z’s from Best to Worst.” Those are all cool… but anybody can create those. Today I want to start a discussion around the 10 Best Jay-Z features of all-time.

The parameters of this list are pretty simple:

1) Jay-Z cannot be the primary artist on the song.
2) The song cannot have appeared on a Jay-Z album.

Ok … Let’s get started:

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10. Young G’s — Puff Daddy — No Way Out

This is probably the most #FakeGreat Jay-Z verse of all time… but, as a feature, it still knocks. The level of expectation around this song was tremendous. It was Badboy’s first major release since BIG’s death and Diddy’s first semi-solo project. When you picked up  the No Way Out CD from your local record store, flipped it over to the back with the track listing and saw a song called Young G’s that featured BIG and Jay… you were hyped. And while Jay sorta delivered with his typically impeccable flow and not so typical serious tone, I’d be lying if I said I was at least a little disappointed by this joint. Still.. it goes hard so it makes the list.

Key Quotable:

“And I told my n*gga BIG I’d be multi before I die. It’s gon happen whether rappin or clappin have it your way cuz if that’s my dough you’re trappin, I’m clappin your way.”

9. 4 Da Fam — Amil — All Money Is Legal

Can’t tell y’all how much time I spent trying to explain to my (at the time) non-believer friends what Jay meant when he parralled the classic 80’s television show Dynasty against one of history’s greatest real-world dynasties The Ming, as a means of showing us all the difference between how he thinks, and how we think. This song was one of those moments where Jay really anchors a song and takes something that would have otherwise been a throwaway and turns it into something that can stay on your all-time playlist.

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Key Quotable:

“Y’all n*ggas truly ain’t ready for this dynasty thing, y’all thinking Black Carrington, I’m thinking more like Ming.”

 

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8. Frontin — Pharrell — Neptunes Presents: The Clones 

Frontin came out at a time when the burgeoning relationship between Jay-Z and Beyonce was still something the two wouldn’t admit too. When this dropped – it killed a lot of the speculation as Jay essentially outlined their relationship in one of his quickest but most potent verses. It was at this point that we all knew what it really was.

“Every time your name was brought up I would act all nonchalant in front of the audience like you were just another shorty I put the naughty on but uh… truth be told, you threw me for a loop…”

7. Upgrade You — Beyonce — B’Day

Speaking of Beyonce and Jay-Z, of all of their many collaborations, Upgrade You is the best. What separates Upgrade you from some of the other Jay-Z/Beyonce collaborations is that it’s a dope song even without Jay. Crazy in Love was dope, but would you really listen to it if not for Jay. Same thing with That’s How You Like It and Deja Vu. Besides that – Jay’s verse kills. Jay’s flow is almost always dope but his ability to ride such a complex beat so effortlessly — while actually saying something — is what separates him from most other rappers. Also love the video for this joint. You may remember that around the time this song was out the rumor was that Jay and Bey were on their way toward a break up. They clearly played on those rumors by having Bey mime the first half of Jay’s verse. Well done.

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Key Quotable:

“I’m talking Spy bags and fly pads and rooms at the Bloomberg and rumors you’re on the verge of a new merge, cuz that rock on your fingers like a tumor, you can’t fit your hand in your new purse…”

6. Pressure — Lupe Fiasco — Food and Liquor

This is one of those verses that you have to listen to a few times to catch all the nuances.

Key Quotable”

“If the war calls for Warhols, hope you have enough space on your halls walls.”

“The reason why lead the pack, this is a marathon, start off fast then you’re weezing in the back…”

3. Shiny Suit Theory — Jay Electronica

Every once in a while Jay gets it in his mind that folks have forgotten how nice he is. When this happens he usually torches something as a reminder. That’s what it seems like happened on Jay Elects Shiny Suit Theory. From the flow, to the world play to the double and triple entendres, this verse is in Hov’s cannon of all-time best.

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Key Quotable

“Can it be the same one on covers with Warren Buffet, was ducking the undercovers, was warring with motherfuckers. Went from warring to Warren, undercovers to covers if you believe in that sorta luck your screws need adjusting.”

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Key Quotable

“Talkin you got a man. Ok ma, and? That’s high school making me chase you ’round for months, have an affair act like an adult for once…”

So there you have it. My list of the greatest Hov features of all time. Time for you guys to chime in … what did I miss? What did I rate too high or too low? Do share.

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Comment(26)

  1. Oh no… Where's the verse (or 3) from "Is that your Bitch" – which, supposed to be a Jay song, but is a Memphis Bleek song, and has Jay going offfffffff…. Was supposed to be on Vol.3m but with all the leak/stabbing business got pulled.

    1. Its Murda. – Leavin' em Kennedy-style with your memory out, What the fuck y'all want? Daddio with the calico, Let the gaty blow leave you bleedin' on your patio

  2. YO THIS LIST SUCKS!!

    Once Again It's On, Diamonds Remix, Black Republican and Best of Me are good, the rest….mehhhhh here's a couple that should be on there, 10 is too small a number, and some of those songs people barely even listened to like that Jay Electronica and ya'll really put a Beyonce song on there trying to appeal to the demographic of your site lmao i can't hate but damn why ruin the list for the women?

    Young Jeezy – Go Crazy Remix
    Scarface – Guess Who's Back
    Snoop – Drop It Like Its Hot (Remix)
    Memphis Bleek – Is That Yo' Chick?
    Cam'ron – Welcome To NY City
    Freeway – What We Do
    Biggie – I Love The Dough
    Bun B – Get Throwed
    M.O.P. – 4 Alarm Blaze
    T.I. – Swagga Like Us

    1. Yeah TI – Swagga like Us is a definite must….how did that Not make the list?
      And yeah how did Memph Bleek – Is that yo chick not make the list.
      And didn't he do something waaaaay back in the day with Nas?
      I'm kinda surprised at your number 1….pleasantly surprised, but suprised nonetheless.
      I'm feeling this list.

  3. Yo you missed the best Jay feature of all time, and the most slept on to: Sauce Money's "pre-game"
    A sample:
    "From the Range with the ski rack or six with the roof up
    Shit I light the motherfuckin soundproof booth up
    New shit y'all say the same shit like you're looped up
    Your raps all lazy Jigga the Black Scorcese
    What your album lack is more Jay-Z
    Code name Jehovah all praise me
    Yall don't paint pictures yall all trace me
    You've yet to see the day when my squad be done
    I represent that shit nigga Marcy son"

    Jay's best guest spot easy

  4. Nice list but between you (Best of Me, Young Gs, Diamonds, Black Republican) and The Guy (What We Do, Guess Who's Back, Is That Yo Chick) you have a majority of my top 10, my other 3

    Watch What You Say-He made Wayne take a seat and spend 5 years kissing his behind before he dared strike back on a featured verse

    One Minute Man- One of my favorite Jay verses

    3 Kings- Perhaps too early for all time discussion but he essentially made an otherwise meh song buzzworthy

    My recent post Today’s Word is… CUFFING

  5. A few of my personal fav's
    Fiesta Remix with R. Kelly
    Talk that Talk with Rihanna
    Umbrella with Rihanna
    Mo Money on Unfinished Business with him and R. Kelly
    Pun On Remix – wit Young Jeezy
    Punjabi MC – Beware of the boys

  6. And no one mentioned when he set FIYAH to the Talib Kweli Get By Remix? That has to make the list.

    "Picture me working McDonalds?/ I'd rather pull a MAC on you/ Sorry, Ms. Jackson but I'm packing."

    1. I was about to mention that. I was scrolling throught the comments, wondering no one mentioned the Get By remix?

  7. good list! only song I had never heard was the Jay Electronica joint. Best of Me remix, Diamonds remix, and 4 Da Fam are still in regular rotation over here.

    reading the comments I agree Get By remix goes hard but I actually think Kanye shines the most on that one

  8. Jermaine, as always, you kill it! You missed a couple and you whiffed on the B track but it's subjective and written with the TLC requisite a top ten on Jay-Z. Loved reading this! Keep up the good work homie.
    -BC

  9. great list…. but this guy's list is on point. Just throwing some out that were not named…….

    memphis bleek mind right remix.
    dmx blackout
    never let me down – kanye
    never take me alive – young gunz
    hell yeah dead prez
    i miss you remix aailyah
    cheat on you – mase
    its murda w ja rule

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