But thinking about this from a logical point of a view and not from an emotional point of view, you can argue that the greatest to ever rock a mic is, in fact, from the Roc itself.
Few – if any people – mention Jay in their conclusions. Which is unfortunate because let’s be all the way real here, Jay possesses all of the attributes that all of the previously mentioned rappers can use to claim their own spots in Hip Hop greatness. And that says a whole damn lot.
He has the timelessness of Rakim. The storytelling of Nas. The influence of Tupac. The Brooklyn swagger of Biggie. The rhyme skills of Eminem. Not to mention he is business savvy as fuck. And while I wouldn’t choose Jay-Z as my personal favorite rapper of all-time (My mancrush is on Nas), looking at everything and really thinking about what “the greatest” means…I gotta go ahead and give that shit to Jay-Z’s cameltoe faced ass.
Hip Hop is a culture of eras. Just like any culture really. And each era has called for artists to change with the times and to do so flawlessly or run the risk of falling into the pit of irrelevance riddled with corn-filled dipshittery. Jay has been able to span these times by simply being able to morph and adapt to the new heads that enter the game rather than heavily critique them and make enemies out of their followers.
Being one of the founders of the most influential rap labels of the time doesn’t hurt either. And even though Roc-a-fella was on top then, Jay was wise enough to know that they wouldn’t be on top forever, and thus he began to position himself for moving beyond the Roc. So when Dame Dash faltered under the pressure of his own hyper aggressive management-style, Jay-Z rested comfortably on the lifeboat he had built for himself and became captain of the Dej Jam ship.
Was it dirty? Maybe. But it was more business than anything. Survival really. And Dame Dash being a businessman…a businessman that branded his own label on street survival to be exact, should have been wise enough to see it coming and protect himself from it. Instead, he got hoodwinked by his own business partner and I can’t really fault Jay for it at all. It was smart. Clever. It was simply some brilliant shit.
See. You have to understand that everything about Jay is carefully calculated. Even his wife.
And I’m sure he loves Beyoncé and all, but what better public relations move can you make other than marrying the top female artist in the game? His influence is so great that he was able to win the heart of what many would consider the baddest chick out there. And he does this without being anywhere near a so-called “sex symbol.” In fact, he’s closer to being a baby camel than a Hip Hop sex symbol.
Jay always had the skills on the mic though too. He couldn’t always rest on his ability to play chess in a game of Hip Hop checkers. And while many may say that Eminem roasted him on his own shit, the truth is that Jay-Z’s verse on “Renegade” goes just as hard and in no form or fashion should any real head actually think Em out-performed him. You simply have to concede that when Jay-Z is needed to show up and show out on a track, he never lets you down. How can that not be great?
So in the end, it’s all mathematics really. Add all this shit up and there isn’t anyone that you can say that does really well at everything in this thing we call Hip Hop. There’s one person out there that has the potential to go at the crown, but I’m going to keep that person’s name to myself and save it for another conversation. The point is this: considering all things, Sean Carter is the greatest to ever do this. I know your heart wants to give it to someone else like Pac or Rakim, but the truth is Jay is a spectacular combination of all of our favorite rappers ever into one single emcee.
If that isn’t greatness, I don’t know WTF is.