Let’s begin by stating the obvious: even a “bad” Jay-Z song still holds more value than the average man’s music. But some nights Jigga goes to the booth and throws together an ill-conceived song because his mind is on something more important like buying basketball teams, banging the biggest superstar in the world or trying to get Neef to lose his phone number. When these lapses in focus occur, the results are better than your average rapper’s attempts yet they sound lackluster in comparison to Jigga’s undeniable catalog. Just like MJ wasn’t allowed to put up “just 20” on a Wednesday night in Milwaukee, Jay shall never be granted an off lyrical performance on one of his own tracks.
In no particular order, here are 20 Jay songs that stand out as sub-par against the backdrop of Jigga’s much more polished products.
Do note that we didn’t include any songs where Jay was just a featured artists for a remix or collaboration. An undertaking of that magnitude would require much more space and time.