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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41. Scarface feat. Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, "Guess Who's Back" (2002)

Jay-Z told Cornel West that rappers like Scarface inspired his own honest, biographical approach. When the Houston rap legend reintroduced himself on 2002's The Fix as an aging gangster with stories to tell, Jay-Z helped welcome the transition – in his autobiography, Scarface said the two MCs would "talk for hours." With a glittering soul loop by Kanye West, "Guess Who's Back" was summit between the East Coast, the South and the up-and-coming Midwest. During the making, Scarface was struck by how Jay laid down his enthused, vivid verse in one take. "I hate going in the studio with him," he said to HipHopDX, "because he's done with his shit before I sit down." 

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