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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42. Kanye West feat. Jay-Z, "Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)" (2005)

Kanye West acknowledged how impressed he was this Jay-Z verse on 2007's "Big Brother": "On that 'Diamonds' remix I swore I spazzed/Then my big brother came through and kicked my ass." The friendship and rivalry between Jay-Z and his former producer has been the source of lots of great music since the two began working together at the dawn of the new millennium. "Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)" remains one of their pluckiest collaborations, an audacious merger of old-school pomp – the in-your-face sample of Shirley Bassey's over-the-top James Bond theme – and a sleek synth-pop sound that hints at West's upcoming pivot into dance music. West raps with focus and dexterity here before passing the baton to Jay-Z for a scorching verse, the origin of one of his most famous lines: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man."

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