Jay-Z: 50 Greatest Songs

With a rhyme career going since the late Eighties, Jay-Z's songs have been reflective, pop, confessional, hard-edged and indelible. Here are his best

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15. "4:44" (2017)

In the wake of Jay-Z being called out for his infidelities on wife Beyoncé's instant-classic Lemonade, he approached them head-on with the title track to his 13th album. "I went and made a piece of music that would box him in to telling that story," album producer No I.D told Rolling Stone. "I remember [Jay-Z] just looking at me, sighing. 'O.K., I'm going home.'" Exhibiting a weakness and vulnerability long lurking but never revealed in such a deliberate fashion, Jay rapped of his misdeeds, "And if my children knew/I don't even know what I would do/If they ain't look at me the same/I would probably die with all the shame." He'd awakened at 4:44 a.m. to write the song. "It's the title track because it's such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I've ever written," he told iHeartRadio.

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