Earlier this year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Reasonable Doubt, an undeniable classic and the worlds proper introduction to one of the greatest MC’s the genre of Rap has ever witnessed, Jay-Z. Since his introduction to the culture, he has continued to ascend as one of Raps most successful figures and decorated artists. Throughout the years, he has delivered undoubtable classics, introduced us to icons and pushed the envelope on what is accepted in Pop culture.
Although it is my extremely biased opinion that no one will affect Rap culture the way 2Pac did, the argument can be made that Jay-Z has and continues to do so. As Hip-Hop is a genre that quickly disposes of our artists once the water behind their ears begins to disappear, Hov’s ability to be both relevant and successful within the genre for two decades illustrates his hold on the culture. Unlike many of his peers, as Hip-Hop has evolved, so has he, while being able to remain himself.
Selling around 55 Million albums worldwide, earning 12 #1 albums, being responsible for Kanye West, J. Cole & Rihanna, reenergizing the career of Nas, illustrating the heights that Rap artist could reach financially, etc., Jay-Z’s resume reads like someone who is the greatest in their field, but he doesn’t receive that title often. He is UNDOUBTEDLY seen as one of the greatest MC’s ever, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone refer to him as the all time greatest. I personally don’t refer to him as such, but upon reflecting on his career accomplishments and his ability to constantly push the genre forward, I’m beginning to think differently. Although I don’t think he’ll receive this title until he passes away, as I don’t think 2Pac got the respect he deserved until he passed away, I believe Jay-Z will ultimately go down as the greatest MC & Rap artist that both Hip-Hop and Pop culture have ever seen.
“My influence on Pop culture, I supposed to be #1 on everybody list. We’ll what happens when I no longer exist.”