SONG OF THE DAY: September 10th

Written by Steve Pierce on . Posted in Music

Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys), “Empire State of Mind”

I believe it was LL Cool J who once called himself the G.O.A.T., or “Greatest Of All Time.” Unfortunately for Mr. Cool J, the total desecration of his credibility coincided with his appearance in the 2005 cinematic crapfest that was Stealth. Even more unfortunate for LL is that the greatest of all time had already been crowned at the time of that monstrosity. Jay-Z has been and will continue to be the reigning king of hip-hop until somebody unseats him, which has become increasingly unlikely as pretty much every possible contender owes their career to the man.

True, Jay peaked with 2003′s The Black Album, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still at the top of the rap game. Even if he isn’t matching his previous rhythmic highs, an average Jay-Z album is approximately eight billion times better than 95% of the stuff put out by his contemporaries. The Brooklyn emcee has a flow that is unforgettable and a way with words that is mystifying. He works with the best producers and pushes them to constantly expand their craft and outdo their previous work, creating not only truly great hip-hop, but just plain great music.

Jay’s new album The Blueprint 3 officially drops tomorrow, despite being widely leaked and subsequently streamed on the internet last week. Reviews have stated what one would expect: it’s not Hov’s best work, but that’s hardly anything to sneeze at. (Still beats another disc by 50 Cent any day.) If you haven’t heard it yet, you can now stream the album in its entirety over at MTV.com. If you’re looking for a markedly smaller taste, try on “Empire State of Mind” (posted below) for four-and-a-half minutes of hip-hop excellence. Boasting a monster hook from the always wonderful Alicia Keys, Jay’s tribute to his hometown should be added to the extensive pantheon of great Big Apple-centric tracks. Move over, Billy Joel.

Listen to: Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys), “Empire State Of Mind”
(Disclaimer: This track contains some mature language and themes. Not intended for those with sensitivities to such content.)

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