Many have argued that Jay-Z doesn’t deserve the Greatest Rapper Of All Time title recently given to him by Billboard.
They’re saying it should’ve been Nas.
But on a different thought, I feel it just has to be Jay-Z, before the rest.
To me greatness comprises of many elements than just having an amazing body of work.
If it were based on skills alone, Nas takes the cake for being the baddest lyricist alive, in my opinion.
But after Biggie died, Jay-Z blew up and went on to reshape the image of rappers.
In the sense that rappers could still be gangster, but very much enterprising. Not just being okay with the ‘hood’ and going in and out of jail.
Jay-Z made it appealing for rappers to put on a suit and sit amongst professionals in boardrooms, own stuff, have massive control and sign corporate deals.
His entrepreneurial sense was revolutionary, before 50 Cent, Kanye and others caught up.
Over the years, he’s spread his tentacles in fashion, sports, streaming services, tech, record label.
Almost all the A-list American artistes and athletes today are signed to his company Roc Nation.
Plus, becoming the first hip-hop billionaire.
Warren Buffet once said Jay-Z is the guy to learn from.
I think his business acumen as a rapper, coming from the streets to becoming an extremely powerful mogul studied by university scholars, is where his greatness is hinged on.
Although musically, he has enough classics to his name, so that balances out everything.
His relevance as a rapper didn’t really drop while being a businessman.
In fact, amongst the upper echelon of rappers from the 90s, Jay-Z is one of the few that still manages to dominate the airwaves.
That’s greatness too.
Nas is a legend; I’m glad he as well as Biggie and Tupac made it to the top 10.
But Shawn Carter has legacies that spread beyond hip-hop. The trajectory of his career is the most inspirational.
Hence, he deserves the Greatest of all time title in my opinion.