41)Jay-Z – 22 Two’s

Song: 22 Two’s

Album: Reasonable Doubt

Year: 1996

Okay, I’ll try not to gush too much here but it’s next to impossible. I first heard this song on a DJ Clue tape in 1996 before Reasonable Doubt hit the streets (what we know today as free downloads was $5 bootleg copies of cassette tapes sold in the streets, with horribly reprinted artwork and blurry song titles on the actual tape, but the sound quality was still good) and I don’t think I’ve come down off of my high yet.

The beat by some guy named Ski was what we call incredible knock (what ever became of him anyway? Oh yeah his track resumé went on to take a squat on that of many), and the barrage of lyrics…before I get too far ahead of myself HE SHOUTED OUT A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, a slick talking street dude with an album largely consisting of drug dealing reflections shouted out my favorite act of all time, so I was stoked beyond measure.

Now for the lyrics, in the first verse he said the word to(o) 22 times and covered:

–          His feelings on Hip-Hop’s East coast/West coast beef at the time

–          Being bitten by other rappers

–          Being a tough guy

–          Scandalous women who put up fronts about being dainty and chaste

–           BEING A ROMANTIC GENTLEMAN (this is still in the same first verse mind you)

–          Women thinking too highly of themselves because they’re approached a lot

–          Transitioning from the street life to black unity

And it just worked

The second verse is in the Hip-Hop Hall Of Fame as far as I’m concerned. I just recently a few months ago caught the full impact of “Too many f*ggot niggas, clockin my spendin/Exercising your gay like minds like Richard Simmons” line, sure Richard Simmons came off really flamboyant (Who even thinks to reference him in a song though? Only the greatest to ever touch a mic) but I never connected the term “exercising your gay like minds” with the fact that Richard Simmons was a fitness guru. I’m nerding out right now, my apologies.

He followed with the most witty sarcastic street talk ever recorded on wax:

And you could catch Jay, right

On the late night/without the 8, right

Maybe you can test my weight, riiiiight

I dip, spit quicker than you ever seen, administer pain

Next, the minister screamin your name

At your wake as I peek in

Look  in your casket, feelin sarcastic

(as the beat drops for the next punchline to be felt)

“Look at him, STILL sleepin”

Emceeing had yet to be done on that level and the bar was officially raised. Also he prophesied “Forever petty minds stay petty, mines is thinking longevity until I’m 70/livin’ heavenly, fuck felony after felony”, this was 1996 and look at who he is today.

Sorry, I couldn’t help but gush.

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