Jay-Z

PHOTOS

User Guide

Why do people say he’s the best rapper of all time?
Whenever rap aficionados debate this stuff (and they do love to debate this stuff), there’s a temptation to award the title to either a veteran that established the template for what lyricism should be (Rakim), a titan that blew up the template and rewrote the rules for what hip-hop could achieve (Notorious B.I.G.), a rapper’s rapper type regarded by hardcore fans for his obscene levels of technical skill (Pharoahe Monch) or the most commercially successful (Eminem.) But when you break the qualifications for Greatest Of All Time down by category—longevity,...