Did Jay-Z just announce his top 15?

Jay Z at a pre-Grammys brunch, February 2017.
Jay Z at a pre-Grammys brunch, February 2017. (Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

If you've been Keeping up with the Carters, and it's OK if you haven't, Jay-Z has been a pretty busy man over these past couple of weeks. For those of you just tuning in, let's quickly recap: On Thursday, June 15, Jay-Z was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, becoming the first rapper ever to receive the honor. (Check out Obama's congrats to Jay-Z here).

On Sunday, June 17, Jay-Z and his wife, Queen Bey, ruler of the land, also known as Beyoncé, blessed us all with twins, Rumi and Sir. That's a busy week for anyone, but this is HOV we're talking about, so you know we can't stop there.

Fast-forward to Friday, June 30, Jigga caught us sleeping and released his 13th album, 4:44. In less than a week, on July 5, that same album went platinum … in less than a week. Cue Chris Tucker from Friday: "DAAAAYUUUUUUUUM."

If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to 4:44 cause you refuse to sell your soul subscribe to Tidal, it should be on Apple Music by now. For my Spotify users, sorry, Jay-Z has zero albums on the app. That's zilch, nada, nil. The only Jay-Z songs you'll find are songs where he's featured. Long story short, I'd find other means of getting your hands on it. Trust me, you won't regret it!

But this isn't an article about Jay-Z's success — though major congrats and salute to HOV on the accolades — this is a post about a particular tweet Jay-Z tweeted the same day he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

You may recall in my previous article on Mac Miller, I mentioned that Jay-Z went on a rare tweetstorm, in which he thanked the artists that have inspired him and hip-hop. Now, what if I told you that in his first tweet, Jay-Z may have given us his personal top-15 rappers list? Take a look for yourself:

Younger hip-hop heads will be familiar with J. Cole aka Mr. Double-Platinum with no features, Kendrick Lamar the future GOAT, and Chance the Rapper aka Lil Chano from 79th. These three are incredibly talented. Kendrick and Cole certainly have the discography and accomplishments to back up their places in the top 15, and by the end of their respective careers, should without a doubt be in the conversation. Chance, however talented, is still lacking in the content department. Acid Rap and Coloring Book were GREAT, but we need more, and hopefully there's more coming #FingersCrossed.

Jay Electronica is the biggest surprise in the top 15. He's a skilled rapper with a compelling flow and complex lyricism, but similar to Chance, he simply just doesn't have enough music out there to quantify his ranking. As for the others, we should all be familiar with Eminem, Andre 3000, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., 2pac, and Ice Cube (before the Are We There Yet? movies). You can't talk about the state of hip-hop today without mentioning this core group of rappers. I'd argue that they are the most influential rappers of all time.

You'll have to do little more research on Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS, Chuck D and Jaz-O, because they don't get recognized as much as they should. They were the life source of hip-hop in the '80s, the golden age of hip-hop, when the genre really blew up. Many of them were mentors to legendary rappers like HOV and Nas.

If we were each assigned to make our own top-15 lists, they would all vary because we're bound to recognize artists that spoke/speak to us and provided/provide the soundtrack to our lives. Outside of Jay Electronica and maybe Chance, everyone on this list could legitimately be in the top 15. Personally, I'd probably place up to 10 of the hip-hop artists listed in Jay's tweet in my top 20.

Intentionally or not, this was a solid attempt, but you can't talk about the pantheon of hip-hip and leave out arguably the great rapper of all time, Mr. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. Thank you, Jay, and major salute on your thirteenth album, 4:44, the twins, the induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the voluminous accolades that you've accomplished over the past two decades.

You deserve it, now get some rest.

Jeffrey Bissoy-Mattis is a researcher at APM Reports. He's a Twin Cities native by way of Yaoundé, Cameroon. When he's not in the zone researching, you can find him binge-watching Master of None, perfecting Spanish, or working on his podcast, Maintainin', which debuts this summer. Follow him on Twitter @JefeThaNomad.


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