Today’s post was going to be serious. I swear. I read something earlier in the week that got me all pissed off, and I couldn’t wait to vent. I started the post, and planned on finishing it this weekend. But my weekend was so relaxing, and I couldn’t bear to get myself all worked up. Instead, I’m going to talk about something just as important, if not MORE important (kidding) than my original post.
I was having a discussion with someone, and Jay-Z’s “Renegade” came on. We started discussing how Eminem killed his verses, and that began an intense discourse about the best rap features of the last ten years. I came up with this top five list, and it’s my list, so you can agree, or not agree, I don’t care. These are the top five rap features according to ME, in descending order.
5. Andre 3000 on UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem” 2007
3000 is a hot rapper. We know this. He can pretty much be guaranteed to shine on any feature he’s put on. He’s the king of the double entendre, and he didn’t disappoint in this song either. Whether it was “cc’ing” or “see, seeing” all the girls, or “giving up the pussy cat that’s in his lap”, he delivered his verse smooth, and made sure it was the most memorable on the song. Actually, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve switched the song off after his verse. I know, UGK blasphemy. But it is what it is.
4. Ludacris on Young Buck’s “Stomp” 2004
Everybody’s favorite underrated rapper. Luda will never get as much respect as he should have, in my opinion. He’s lyrically one of the best around, yet slepted (a made up word) on so often. But not on this song. I will never forget the first time I heard it. Or rather, the version that included Ludacris. I had a mix tape of the version T.I. was on, and it was ah-ight, had a nice little beat, nothing extra special though. But hearing that song with Luda’s verse at the end, in my 1994 Montero (you couldn’t tell me nothin’ in that car) made me actually scream. For you youngins that don’t know, Luda and T.I. had a little beef going on back then, so it was amazing that they were even featured on a song together. Oh, they were featured together alright. When Ludacris’ verse came on, ending the song, by dissing the hell out of T.I., on the SAME DAMN SONG, all you could do was scream. He ended the verse with, “So please stay off the T.I.P. of my…”, well, you can guess the rest.
3. Nicki Minaj on Kanye West’s “Monster” 2010
I’m not a Nicki Minaj fan. I’m not with all the gimmicky clothes and wigs, the stupid metaphors, blah blah blah. However, I will give credit where it’s due. Her verse on this song made the entire song. You forget who’s even on the damn song, besides Jay-Z, which is a given on most Kanye West singles. The veterans on this song should be embarrassed by their lack of preparation. My thing is, you heard her spit her verse; why didn’t y’all get back in the booth and tighten your bars up? We’re supposed to believe all of you are monsters on this song? Really? Like the monsters from Monsters, Inc.? The only one who put a little a fear in my heart was the one screaming how she was gonna “eat your brain”. There was enough inflection and emotion in that verse to make me double check the locks on my doors at night.
2. Eminem on Jay-Z’s “Renegade” 2001
Ok, I cheated a little bit. I said the last ten years, and this one came out eleven years ago. But whatever, Idon’tcareIdon’tcareIdon’tcare. Eminem falls at the bottom of my list of dope MCs. I know I’m in the minority in this one, but I just can’t rock with him. I can count on one hand how many of his songs I actually like. But this song right here? Jay-Z who? When I was listening to this song today, rapping along, I recited every last one of Eminem’s lines. And I could only remember a handful of Jay-Z’s. Don’t get me wrong; Jay is one of my favorite rappers, and is definitely in my top three, but he couldn’t prove it to me on this song. Em murdered the hell out of this song, bottom line. I appreciate him so much more on other people’s ish (see 50 Cent’s “Patiently Waiting“).
1. Jay-Z on Kanye West’s “Never Let Me Down” 2004
So, to support my claim that Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers, he’s my number one favorite feature. It was actually pretty close with he and Em, but I play favorites. This song, no lie, gave me chills when I first heard it (and sometimes still does). This was the height of Roc-A-Fella, and this song was so much an illustration of how powerful they were in the rap game. The entire song is a great song. I listen to it now, and hit repeat a couple of times. Jay-Z rapped about 65% of this song, and it was a flawless 65%. It was so much more than a song. I grew up listening to Jay, from his Reasonable Doubt days to now, being the most successful rapper from the PJs. Hearing how well his words flowed together just let you know that this wasn’t the height of his career. He was going to be even greater. His last couple of bars sums it all up: “Hov’s a living legend, and I’ll tell you why/everybody wanna be Hov, and Hov still alive”. You ain’t never lied Jay.