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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34. Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek feat. Freeway, "1-900-Hustler" (1999)

The Bink!-produced "1-900-Hustler" was a high-concept rap record featuring four present-and-future Roc-A-Fella rappers sharing advice on how to hustle – an idea borrowed from Texas rap heros the Convicts' 1991 record "1-900-Dial-A-Crook." Wed to a fiery sample of Ten Wheel Drive's "Ain't Gonna Happen" (the rappers all apparently rapped over the part that Bink! meant for the chorus), the song's highlights are many: Jay charges $800 for a phone call asking for advice; Beanie Sigel sends a hustler to the "bullshit-ass elevator music" for talking about illegal work over the phone; Freeway spits his advice before concluding the best lesson would be just to rob the caller himself.

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