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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43. "Song Cry" (2002)

The Just Blaze-produced "Song Cry" features a particularly wrenching performance from Jay. Offset by an interpolation from Bobby Glenn's 1976 ballad "Sounds Like a Love Song," he embarks on a world-weary lament, looking harshly at the effects a demanding tour schedule and roving eye are having on his relationships. The lyrics, which represent what Jay-Z called a "gumbo of a lot of my relationships" in a 2005 GQ interview, are "about a guy who isn't fully ready to commit, but the girl he's with, he really loves her, you know? And he wants to be with her. So what happens is, she's sick of putting up with his stuff and she finally moves on into another relationship and he's crushed. But even after all that, his pride won't allow him to cry. … So you've gotta make the song cry."

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