Rick Ross and Lil Wayne can’t be happy about appearing alongside JAY-Z on “GOD DID,” the title track from DJ Khaled’s latest all-star compilation, because Hov’s verse is the only one anybody is going to remember. Over the course of four minutes, Jay reminds the rap game of exactly why he’s one of the greatest of all time not only based on skill, but also his influence. Though no one would begrudge Jay for hanging it up after the masterful 4:44, hip-hop is a sport and there’s no doubt he’s been listening when other MCs are bought up in best rapper alive conversations.
On “GOD DID,” Jay starts by topping his own boast on Drake’s “Pound Cake” about making more millionaires “than the lotto did.” Within the past decade, the “corner boy with the corner office” has leveled up to become the first hip-hop billionaire and played a huge part in making a couple more: Kanye West and Rihanna. Moving far beyond the drug trade and music industry, Jay has reset the bar for anyone with hip-hop dreams.
Just like Steph Curry has given hope to every young hooper with a jump shot, Jay has shown how it’s possible to make it from the projects to the boardroom by using music to get a foot in the door — though it’s admittedly taken some luck to get here. “Odds wasn’t great, we even be alive/ Gotta be crazy to y’all n****s, we surprised,” he raps. “Hov is a real n****’s dream/ My only goal, to make a real n**** feel seen.”
That’s not to say Jay has shed his God complex — Hova is derived from Jehova, after all — and some of his biggest flexes on “GOD DID” play into that sentiment with lines like, “These ain’t songs, these are hymns ’cause I’m Him/ It’s the Psalm 151, this New Testament/ The book of Hov (The book of Hov)/ Jesus turned water to wine, for Hov, it just took a stove.”
Of course, none of Jay’s bravado would matter if his flow wasn’t still up to snuff. In the past, he’s had some shaky moments like Michael Jordan playing for the Wizards, but “GOD DID” isn’t one of them. While Jay might not have the same floor that he once did, he’s still capable of putting up 60 points when the timing is right. That’s why we’re best off hearing a great JAY-Z verse whenever he feels like it instead of tarnishing his legacy with another Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Here’s to hoping Jay doesn’t listen to calls for another album — unless he somehow has another 4:44 left in him.