The Life and RAP Chronicles of JAY-Z aka Shawn Carter | A True Musical Genius, Seasoned Vet in the Rap Game & Successful Entrepreneur
Article Written By: Jes’kuz Price
Date: Jan.21, 2020 | Photo Cred: Goalcast
Jay-Z has made #285 songs, approximately. However, it honestly feels like he may have created more than that, post reviewing the list on Vulture website. However, as I scrolled through all #285 songs with brief bios, I noticed some of my favorites were lacking on their roster, because I found JayZ songs that I currently had in my iTunes library. Yet either way, I’m tempted to say Jay’s probably made a good #300 songs (or somewhat close, including solo & album/song collaborations).
Long story short, I decided in my prior post that I would touch base on the Life & Music Legacy of Jay Z so I’m delivering as promised! Along with a handful of music to play from my Top Ten faves.
One thing that to also note; with respect to Jay’s body of work/legacy of music, is that if you are doing a authentic audit, then you should always count every price of Music made, featured, live, collaborated as well as all album compilations. Which would consist of a vastly diverse amount of records/albums released such as underground mixtapes over the past couple of decades.
The Best Part is Memory Lane:
However, once you go through each album, song for song and hit for hit. You are destined to run into memory lane, by way of music lol. I promise! Well for the most part, “your brain” will automatically realize the nonstop effort that this man of many talents has brought to the forefront and genre of Rap/Hip-Hop as a whole. You see, it’s not enough that he simply turned out Album after Album, because anyone can put out an album, but it takes a special-talented-hardworking and patient individual to align their confidence and skill set to strangers while being persistent at the same time.
Jay-Z’s Catalogue|Hip-Hop Paid In Full:
Hands down Jay Z’s entire library of music contains some of the most vivid imagery, accompanied by his crafted storytelling in regards to poverty and the struggles that stem from it, yet all while dominating mainstream pop music at the same time…which is fairly incredible. Talk about a balancing act that virtually no one else has been able to manage over the time period of two decades and still going. Just Take a look at the Following Album Discography.
Below is a Chronicle of All Albums Jay Z made followed by Release Year
| Jay-Z’s Music Discography #26 Albums|
Reasonable Doubt -96′
In My Lifetime, Vol 1 -97′
Vol 2 Hard Knock Life -98′
Streets is Watching (Soundtrack Album) -1998′
Vol 3 Life and Times of S. Carter -99′
The Dynasty: Roc La Familia -2000′
The Blueprint -2001′
The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse –2002′
Chapter One: Greatest Hits -2002′
The Best of Both Worlds (with R. Kelly) -2002′
S. Carter Collection from (Mixtape Album) -2003
Blueprint 2.1 -2003′
Bring It On: The Best of Jay-Z -2003′
The Black Album -2003′
Unfinished Business(with R. Kelly) -2004′
Collision Course(with Linkin Park) -2004
Kingdom Come -2006′
Greatest Hits: 2006′
American Gangster -2007′
The Blueprint 3 -2009′
Jay-Z The Hits Collection, Volume One -2010′
Watch The Throne(with Kanye West) -2011′
Live in Brooklyn (Live Album) -2012′
Magna Carta Holy Grail -2013′
Everything is Love: THE CARTERS (with Beyonce) -2018′
FYI – Initially Wikipedia has all of Jay-Z’s music broken down into categories of relevance by date (which makes sense). However, for my Hip-Hop, Urban, Trap & Music-Blog Enthusiast….along with my curiosity, so I decided to group them all together by date released.
“I did it my way” in the words of Jay Z’s song, which was originated by the Late-Great Frank Sinatra #Klassik. But, yea I simply concluded that regardless and at the end of the day, Jay still cut the record with his time, creative skills along with putting in at least 50% of the work so, a collabo album duo, counts in my book as an album by the Artist + it has been and still is streaming on at least Tidal or Itunes digital platforms, so yeaaa – for those wondering where I got #26 Albums from-thats how!
So with that said, the list above not only chronicles his #13 Solo Albums released so far, however in full – Jay-Z made #26 Albums Total. This also Includes ALL of the other areas specified as follows: From Jay’z Collaborations, Compilations “Greatest Hits”, Soundtracks, Mixtapes and Live Album performances, as well.
Coming from My Perspective, as a Hip-Hop Music Blogger:
I suppose, that I’m always crossing paths with people from all ages, races, backgrounds who want to break into the Music world (and that’s a great thing). I Specifically come across those who are usually upcoming talent within the Rap & Hip-Hop genre so to speak. I mean I love it, but I just see it every damn day via Social Media, Dropbox, TV, Radio, my website and of course the lovely SoundCloud. Not to discourage anyone, or talk down, I love all my inspiring Artists and if you don’t shoot your shot by getting your music heard, sent promoted to as many outlets as possible. Well then, what are you doing? Please continue to hustle your talent and passion, even when the dream seems impossible. To sum it up, Jay is clearly not just any rapper, he’s earned it place and carved a niche within the music business, record labels and his peers, while gaining respect on both sides of the table. When I say that, I mean that Jay is a crossover Artist and he can work in the studio on a hot sound with Linkin Park and then jump on a beat spitting some controversial facts with a Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and then hit the NYC anthem with Alicia Keys, all while finishing up at home down south on a track with his wifey Beyonce (and it doesn’t come off soft, just authentic) now that’s Talent.
The #2020 Fanvision:
Many “Millenials” don’t want that fake stuff. The fans who buy concert, festival & coachella tickets, digitally stream or download songs, singles and entire albums on whatever platform of your choice, such as iTUNES. And yea – us real fans, some boomers and a high percentage of millennials who just want the #FINALFOUR.
The “Final Four” for Music Enthusiasts Consists of:
#4 Traits that today’s True Music Fans Seek in the Genre of Urban-Rap Music:
1.) Instant Gratification,
2.) Authentic Storytelling,
3.) Dope Ass Lyrics or Bars rather
4.) And a “Bangin-azz-Beat” of course
The Final Four mentioned above, are especially relevant for this new generation of “Tik-ToKers” which do come in All Ages, btw. Just take a look at Roddy Ricch and DaBaby, they both have a couple things in common as new artists in the industry, yet notice how they streamed to the top of the charts faster than lightning, due to the fact of being visible, authentic and engaging on several social media platforms. That is a new age thing, lucky for Jay that is not even something he will ever have to do, because of his tenure and track record in the bizzness, him nor beyonce and Kanye for that matter, they all save the promo budget and just drop an album at midnight with no PR, Advertising or Social Media awareness. It’s almost like it’s christmas when that happens and I love it.
Looking back, we can clearly compare the same scenario with Drake his last album, he dropped the mega track album and we only knew of a couple tracks, but if you notice he let all his celebrity Friends, Musicians, Athletes, and us Fans do the promo-talking for him. I mean everyone’s IG page was literally the drake cover alum and how it was fire, so we all joined in on the listening party.
Also, if I’m not mistaken, I believe Drake aka @ChampagnePapi on IG asked his followers to drop what their favorite tracks were, and that is the smartest thing you can probably do as an Artist…talk about engagement. Now, unfortunately for Jay’s Fans, we don’t get that kind of interaction from him on social, because he doesn’t even have a damn IG, FB, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, Linkedin, hmmm youtube possibly, but you get the point. Kanye only on Twitter, and Beyonce uses IG but more so to advertise her clothing line venture with adidas called Ivy Park.
I definitely think it’s fair to say the Artist’s who are established in the game, known names, who have genius talents in the studio, film, art world and beyond they choose to skate past social for a variety of great reasons, and I totally get it. Plus, if you post your whole life, what do you have for yourself and your loved ones, especially when famous. Privacy issues, hateful comments by trolls, stalkers, annoying ppl asking you to listen to their demo (which I don’t mean, I love hearing people’s music btw) , ppl hacking and stealing their pics, content and last but not least it’s also opens up the potential for any new projects, albums or songs get leaked prior release.
So for that reason I respect it and I honestly do love the few artists who drop an album on the fly – it not only is a surprise for fans and a gift, but it also says “Bitch, this is Fame Not Clout!” -Drake Lyric from “Life is Good” haha. Okay but that is a perspective on the Goat Game, It’s no secret, Im no one ahead of the game, I just observe, have a great ear and love to write. So on to the next one…..but, Im gonna try to post a Jay- Z video in between every other paragraph, so yall can bump a lil sumthin sumthin while reading or scrolling through my extensively long blog.
So back to the nitty-gritty, on the above discography made perfect sense when analyzing the timelines post rearranging. Afterall, I was trying to figure out the 3-4 year gaps, but then I put all the pieces of the puzzle together seen below. My initial thoughts were ohhhh maybe Jay didnt hold us down for #20 summers (Hence the Title of this Blog) which would contradict my whole write-up, lol. Thank goodness Im right…like “Oh damn, Jay didn’t take 4 years off, he was working on #2 other albums with R Kelly “pre-Kells-in-jail debacle”or several other projects -but Jay did an album with Linkin Park in 04′ & then some.
But no worries, as you can see clearly……………..
“Jigga Still Held Us Down for #20 Summers – Damn!” -Heart of The City
Brief Bio on Jay-Z |
The Life & Times of a Young Shawn Carter:
Jay-Z grew up in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects, starting his rap career with Roc-A-Fellas independent Label back in 96′ where Def Jam Records agreed to sign a joint venture with the young Jay, but only under one condition: The label “Def Jam” wanted Seven albums from Jay…and that they definitely got…Looking back in hindsight, two decades later with two dozen solo LP’s in the game, Jay Z has definitely mastered the art of becoming one of Music’s all-time voices of significance and importance.
Growing up as Shawn Carter:
As an adolescent, Jay Z grew up in the era of Reagan in the 80’s, where he spent a vast amount of his time banging on the kitchen table while rhyming to the percussion that he created. However, during his teenage years, Jay put his hobby on backburner for the sake of selling crack since that was his primary hustle that he knew he could count on. Love it or hate it, he Jay had to do decide what was paying bills….I mean we can judge all day long, but if you don’t know the struggle or came up in Marcy Projects, you may want to just close your mouth and listen, after all it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish right?
Mastering His Craft:
Jay Used The Lemons He Given & Created Lemonade
However, Jay did continue to develop his craft, picking up on hip hops evolving aesthetics and mastering hyperspeed aps in the heart of the east coast rap duo Das EFX. Shawn moved in and out of rapper circles in the late 80’s and early 90’s and coming thru on songs with mentors such as Jaz-O and Big Daddy Kane. All leading to 96, where he adopted a slower, more conversational pace for his big debut album “Reasonable Doubt” which was a self released project after Jay’z undeniable talent was denied by every single major label that he approached.
Jay followed the rejection and his initial album up with his second overly polished LP called “In My Lifetime, Vol 1, heavily reminiscent of Puff Daddy’s flashy pizzaz in the Bad Boy era. However, from 98-2003 Jay couldn’t be stopped in the rap game, and his consistency to release at least one project album annually was on cue. He did all this while managing to nurture his new talent like Philadelphia Freeway and Beanie Sigel along the way.
Jay Z’s career defining moment:
Came around 2001 with his LP ” The Blueprint, with the help of brilliant music visionaries such as Kanye West, Just Blaze, and the Neptunes. With everything on Jay Z side he dictated the course of hip hop and emerged as a keen songwriter who knew exactly how to maximize the strengths of his many unique and talented collaborators, which makes the rest history. Check out my review, synopsis, and the personal influence along with my top 20 songs out of Jay’z entire catalogue of nearly 300 songs.
Me In My Feelings on Jay-Z:
The Man, The G.O.A.T, The Legend
Okay, so this is random facts but yea, I basically made a playlist after hearing my local radio station in Houston (97.9 The Box) they did a complete mix-up for Jay’z Birthday which I recall because on one of his albums, he made it a memorable track. The beginning of the song, begins with his sweet Mother Gloria Carter speak on the intro about what a special child she knew Jay was going to be, she starts out with “On December 4th,……and then you hear Jay spit hot fire over the beat once it drops.
The Art Of Storytelling:
In Rap/Hip Hop & Trap Music is semi-dead, so it seems. When I say that I mean it’s not a biggie visual like when I would hear is flows -you could literally paint the picture in your head on what Notorious BIG was reporting on. There is an art to that and it also takes a person who is open, vulnerable & honest with themselves and just life’s perspectives. Im not talking about the storytelling that the new age is into – no disrespect, but “we’re not the same” kidding, but keep reading below, drop a comment/msg if you agree or disagree. I’d love to hear! Now, don’t get me wrong…. I Love this era of music as well, more so the beats that have been crafted and laced, for a dynamic artist to drop killer bars on. So below I have listed my Fave “Top 50 Songs” by JAY Z.
“I was really trying for a Top 20 playlist” But, as you can see the struggle was real. FYI- The Jestificated “Top #50 Jay Z list is not in any particular order.”
JESTIFICATED TOP #50 Playlist of JAY Z
Can I Live
Girls, Girls, Girls
Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
Public Service Announcement
Niggas In Paris
Can I Get A F…. Y..
Run This Town
Who Gon Stop Me
Nigga What, Nigga Who
Murder to Excellence
Jigga My Nigga
Part II (on the run)
Dirt off your shoulder
Excuse Me Miss
What More Can I Say
Heart of The City (Ain’t No Love)
Death Of Auto-Tune (DOA)
On To The Next One
My 1st Song
All I Need
A Star is Born
Show Me What You Got
Money Aint A Thang
Heard About Us
Somewhere In America
A Week Ago
So Lemme Wrap-It-Up:
As you see the discography of albums that Jay has executed, well as I was going through each one, again I couldn’t help but notice that literally every album was only 1 year out or apart….and it goes back to back like every year Jay made a damn album, and I feel like he doesn’t or hasn’t really gotten the credit he deserves when it comes to consistency in the rap game. Especially when it comes down to making the real deal albums, Im talking no less than 13 songs on a damn CD, that you gotta go kop at Best Buy, Target or wherever…then radio was the deciding factor for which tracks would be blasted and requested, yea that type of nostalgia and talent for making more than a 1 hitter quitter, it’s just a rare thing now a days….And even crossing over to Cardi B’s album, I mean I was kind disappointed at the fact that she had a couple hits but they were played out already on damn social media, streaming, radio and clubs and I love her sound no doubt.
DIE-HARD FANS & EXPECTATIONS
ARTIST ENGAGEMENT, QUALITY CONTROL AND CONSISTENCY
Although, I don’t think Cardi’s hitting the studio right now for album #2…although she did have a baby so I guess we can cut her some slack. I mean I know I expect a lot from Artists, someone told me that once, but I guess i look at it as a job, and a privileged job, paying top dollar, with fame and the best of the best, so just like I’m expected to go to work everyday and do a dynamic job, I just expect the same from any artist. Shit happens, people need breaks, depression in the music industry, drugs, money issues, health problems etc things happen and people gotta take a break and do what’s best for them, I get it – I get it.
I’m going to attempt and do my fan/followers and viewers a favor, because It’s what I would like my favorite Hip-Hop Blog to do. Especially all of those who don’t know or have heard my top #50. So, I’ll take the time to actually paste a Youtube Link for a good #20 of the 50 songs listed, or i may do some short #TikTok videos as a sample 10-12 min playlist and post it up here for yall, something to remind you all of ya boy & all HOV’s Excellence!
Founder, Creative Director & Online Editor:
Article Written By: Jes’kuz Price | Date Published: January 21, 2020
Original Source cited via: Jestificated.com | Hip-Hop Urban Blog
Jay Z Discography, Album Names, Release Dates & Facts via: Wikipedia Archives