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10 Great Post Retirement Jay-Z Songs

Jay-Z’s career can be slip in half. There’s pre-retirement and post-retirement Jay. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Before Jay retired in 2003 he was at his best lyrically, and after he might’ve become his savviest. Either way both sides of his career have great moments. Its amazing Jay-Z has been able to remain relevant after all these years, its even more amazing to consider he had a three year gap between albums. I decided to share some of Jay’s best songs after his comeback. I’m leaving out Watch The Throne to make it interesting and I left out any mid-retirement features too (Diamonds!). Here are 10 Great Jay Song Post-Retirement.

Somewhereinamerica

This old school, ragtime, fratpack inspired beat is perfect for Jay to take it easy and calmly toss out cool lines. “When I was talkin’ Insta-Gram, last thing you wanted… was ya picture snapped.” He let’s the beat take center stage while he just cruises over it, and it works to great effect. In 2013, Miley was somewhere Twerkin’…. what a strange time.

Brooklyn Go Hard

“I Jack, I Rob, I Sin. Amen. I’m Jackie Robinson, except when I run base, I dodge the pen”

This cut ended up on the Notorious Soundtrack and the line above alone gets it on this list.

What We Talkin’ About

A great intro! Jay is trying to understand what his infinite haters are talking about. He mentions Jim Jones, Jaz-O and Dame Dash. Folks got excited about the song because of that but didn’t listen to the rest of it. Jay is really trying here and you can tell. He claims he helped the president get into the white house, which is a bit far fetched, but its cool.

BBC

I didn’t care for Magna Carta. There are a few solid songs on the album, but it just all felt phony to me. The Samsung deal, the nonsensical  ads, Rick Ruben… I wasn’t feeling it. Towards the end of the album, tucked between two duds is a little gem. BBC is a Jay and Nas collaboration that got much less fan fair than Black Republicans or Success, but its on par with both. Nas is great, as he normally is, and Jay steps in up for a great verse. The Pharrell beat is reminiscent of Big Pimpin’, which is probably why fans rejected it, but either way its one worth revisiting.

Real As It Gets

Jay & Jeezy collaborations are usually great. This one went a bit unnoticed. The hype around Blueprint 3 surrounded the fact that it was another Blueprint, and it’s singles (Run This Town, New York State Of Mind specifically). This song holds up better than a lot of songs on that album, and Jeezy has his hands all over it. From adlibs to the hook. This is one of the few reasons to revisit Blueprint 3.

D.O.A

I don’t be in the project hallways, talkin’ bout how I be in the projects all day.”
The single for Blueprint 3 and it was very effective. Jay questioned the street-cred of the entire industry, despite being richer than all his peers. It still worked. The No I.D beat is still perfect, the “agh” between every line worked, and calling for the death of auto tune was perfectly timed. T-Pain’s career hasn’t been the same since.

Show Me What You Got

This was it! Jay-Z, Hoova, Jiggas was finally coming back! He set up an amazing album rollout and created anticipation we hadn’t seen in awhile. This video is directed by F. Gary Grey (Straight Outta Compton) and features cameos from Danica Patrick and Dale Ernheart Jr. He turned his comeback into an event that the mainstream had to pay attention to. They did, and Jay dropped the ball, but we got some good track out of it. The single for that comeback was one of them. Say what you will, but Show Me What You Got is a good song!

Roc Boys

“This is superhero music right here!”
I might love this song more than anyone. It great! Jay is talking shit as good as he does, with a beat that never gets old. The horns on the song will keep it ageless. The hook get a bit repetitive, but again, the beat hold it all together. “Mazel Tov, its a celebration bitches!”

American Gangster

I think American Gangster is Jay’s best solo work after his comeback. The list only has a few cuts from that album for diversities sake. I Know, Success and Ignorant Shit are all viable contenders, but this is a gem from that under appreciated album. The song sample is amazing an Jay does what he does best!

The Prelude

“Fresh like Mannie B, chain like anti-freeze, shoebox full of cash, dealer man hand me ki’s. Pantries full of Arm & Hammer, don’t take Nancy Drew to see what it do… I’m a damn G.”

Kingdom Come was a disappointment! I get it! I think we can compare Jay’s epic comeback to Star Wars Episode I. The build up and anticipation was amazingly manufactured. Like The Phantom Menace, KC had a great teaser with Show Me What You Got and fans were eager to consume the final product. The problem with the album was hype. If Jay had never retired, released The Black Album and then this, history would tell a different tale. That’s not the case. What we did get out of his underwhelming comeback was The Prelude, a sprawling, smooth beginning to a fumbled return. This is one of my all-time favorite Jay songs. What more do you want?

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