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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23. "Can I Get A..." feat. Amil, Ja Rule (1998)

A huge moment in many ways: A breakout moment for producer Irv Gotti, whose Murder Inc. label would dominate rap for the next few years; a successful tie-in with Rush Hour, the Number One movie in the country for two weeks; and even Jay-Z's first trip into the Top 20 for one of his own songs. However, it wasn't always intended for him. "'Can I Get A...'" was my record," Ja Rule told Rolling Stone in 2001. "Jay wanted to use the record, he used the record, and it was profitable and prosperous for both of us." In turn, the song launched Ja Rule's career and the video helped cement his image. "The video director [Steve Carr], he's a funny guy, a great guy. He's the one who actually told me to take my shirt off," Ja Rule told Complex. "It was the last scene of the video, and he was like, 'I see you in the back doing pushups and shit. So you wanna take your shirt off for this last scene and run one like that?' … He had a vision. He'd seen it early."

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