“I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one,” I sang to the doorman of my chi-chi apartment building the other day. “Say what, white girl?!” he laughed. “Hit me!” I replied with a fist bump as I tried to act cool. But acting it was as I only really discovered Jay Z’s music last summer, when I caught the Justin Timberlake/Jay Z stadium tour at Fenway Park, and full disclosure: I went for JT but I left for JZ! Yup, I’m one of these cougar-aged women who secretly love the curly-haired, former ‘Nsync singer … If I had kids, they’d be mortified by my dancing to “Sexyback.” So I bought the tickets, eagerly awaiting to see my love live for the first time. Yet I found that Timberlake’s music is much better suited to a smaller, more intimate setting, while the inimitable Jay Z blew the invisible roof off! His stuff was grand, theatrical, fun, and funny. It had rhythm and panache – never mind his outfits – and I was relieved that I knew at least a few of his hits. So if you’re like I was until recently and one of the few in the universe who’s not a fan of Beyonce’s better half, check out my favorite tracks, below, and just try not to sway and smile.
(I hate that 3 of my 4 tracks include Kanye “Father of North” West, but, sigh, they’re good collaborators and great songs. Notice, too, that I did not include any of his songs with JT. Not my faves.)
“Otis” — Jay Z & Kanye West (featuring Otis Redding)
“99 Problems” — Jay Z
“Ni**as in Paris” — Jay Z & Kanye West
“No Church in the Wild” — Jay Z & Kanye West, featuring Frank Ocean