Over the past couple decades Hov has been responsible for some of the best guest verses of all time. When he’s not working on his own album, he’s usually popping up on other artist’s albums to steal the show.

From trying to hustle his way into the rap game on Big L’s posse cut to collaborating with DMX when they were the two best rappers alive, to his iconic lines on Kanye’s “Diamonds” remix to his god-level verse on Meek Mill’s “What’s Free” – Jay-Z has consistently been delivering quality features since ’95.

So let’s get into it. Here are some of the best Jay-Z features over the years. Side note – we didn’t include “Dear Summer” because it’s basically a Hov solo track. If we were to include it, it would have been top five.

From DMX’s “Blackout” and Kanye’s “So Appalled” to Jeezy’s “Seen It All” and Khaled’s “God Did,” here are the 25 best Jay-Z guest verses of all time.

25. “Light Up”

Other rappers on the track: Drake

Album: Thank Me Later

Released: June 15, 2010

Producer: 40, Tone Mason

Best line: “I once was cool as the Fonz was / But these bright lights turned me to a monster”

24. “Free Mason”

Other rappers on the track: Rick Ross

Album: Teflon Don

Released: July 20, 2010

Producer: Lee Major

Best line: “It’s amazing, that I made it through the maze that I was in / Lord forgive me, I never would’ve made it without sin”

23. “All the Way Up (Remix)”

Other rappers on the track: Fat Joe, Remy Ma, French Montana, Infrared

Album: N/A

Released: March 2, 2016

Producer: Edsclusive, Cool & Dre

Best line: “The OG’s say, HOV, how high is high enough? / I said, Till we eye and eye with the higher-ups”

22. “I Do”

Other rappers on the track: Young Jeezy, Andre 3000

Album: TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition

Released: December 20, 2011

Producer: M16

Best line: “Honor the code, not bring drama to mama’s peephole / Life’s a bitch but she’s the only love that I know”

21. “Welcome to New York City”

Other rappers on the track: Cam’ron, Juelz Santana

Album: Come Home with Me

Released: May 14, 2002

Producer: Just Blaze

Best line: “I’m a BK brawler / Marcy projects hallway loiterer”

20. “Da Graveyard”

Other rappers on the track: Big L,

Album: Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous

Released: March 28, 1995

Producer: Lord Finesse, Microphone Nut, Party Arty, Grand Daddy I.U.

Best line: “Pound for p-p-pound the best around / No way you can get up when I get down”

19. “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe (Remix)”

Other rappers on the track: Kendrick Lamar

Album: N/A

Released: March 17, 2013

Producer: Sounwave

Best line: “It’s a million dollars in it, baby, Hilary Swank / Sittin’ next to Hillary smellin’ like dank”

18. “Clique”

Other rappers on the track: Kanye West, Big Sean

Album: Cruel Summer

Released: September 6, 2012

Producer: Hit-Boy, Kanye West, Anthony Kilhoffer, Noah Goldstein

Best line: “Yeah, I’m talkin’ LeBron, we ball in our family tree / G.O.O.D. Music drug-dealing cousin, ain’t nothin’ fuckin’ with we”

17. “Flux Capacitor”

Other rappers on the track: Jay Electronica

Album: A Written Testimony

Released: March 13, 2020

Producer: Jay Electronica, James Blake

Best line: “You backstabbers gon’ turn me back to the old Jay / He’s not who you wanna see, he’s not as sweet as the old Ye”

16. “The Devil Is A Lie”

Other rappers on the track: Rick Ross

Album: Mastermind

Released: December 19, 2013

Producer: Major Seven, K.E. on the Track

Best line: “Is Hova atheist? I never fuck with True Religion / Am I down with the devil ’cause my roof come up missin’? / Is that Lucifer juice in that two cup he sippin’?”

15. “Hustlin’ (Remix)”

Other rappers on the track: Rick Ross, Young Jeezy

Album: Port of Miami

Released: August 8, 2006

Producer: The Runners

Best line: “We don’t resort to violence, we on resorts and islands / With linen shorts and shades, ‘case they thought you was lyin'”

14. “Guess Who’s Back”

Other rappers on the track: Scarface, Beanie Sigel

Album: The Fix

Released: August 6, 2002

Producer: Kanye West

Best line: “You can blame my old earth / For the shit she instilled in me, still with me, pain plus work”

13. “Show & Prove”

Other rappers on the track: Big Daddy Kane, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Sauce Money, Shyheim, Scoob Lover

Album: Daddy’s Home

Released: August 13, 1994

Producer: DJ Premier

Best line: “I’m breaking MC’s up like EPMD / And these nuts if you rappers trying to see me”

12. “So Appalled”

Other rappers on the track: Kanye West, Pusha T, Cyhi the Prynce, Swizz Beatz, RZA

Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Released: September 24, 2010

Producer: Kanye West, No I.D., Mike Dean

Best line: “Dark Knight feeling, die and be a hero / Or live long enough to see yourself become a villain / I went from the favorite to the most hated / But would you rather be underpaid or overrated?”

11. “I Love the Dough”

Other rappers on the track: Easy Mo Bee

Album: Life After Death

Released: March 25, 1997

Producer: Easy Mo Bee

Best line: “We push the hottest V’s, peel fast / Through the city, play Monopoly with real cash”

10. “Ha (Remix)”

Other rappers on the track: Juvenile

Album: 400 Degreez

Released: November 3, 1998

Producer: Mannie Fresh

Best line: “You done fucked around with some wild ni**as / You done fucked off the dough of Juvenile and Jigga’s”

9. “Blackout”

Other rappers on the track: DMX, Styles P, Jadakiss, Sheek Louch

Album: Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

Released: December 22, 1998

Producer: Swizz Beatz

Best line: “I sleep whole winters, wake up and spit summers / Ghetto ni**a, putting up Will Smith numbers”

8. “God Did”

Other rappers on the track: Lil Wayne, Rick Ross

Album: GOD DID

Released: August 26, 2022

Producer: DJ Khaled, STREETRUNNER, Tarik Azzouz & Fridayy?

Best line: “Next time we have a discussion who the G.O.A.T., you donkeys know this / Forgive me, that’s my passion talkin’ / Sometimes I feel like Farrakhan (Haha) talkin’ to Mike Wallace”

7. “What’s Free”

Other rappers on the track: Meek Mill, Rick Ross

Album: Championships

Released: November 30, 2018

Producer: Streetrunner, Azzouz

Best line: “We started without food in our mouth / They gave us pork and pig intestines / Shit you discarded that we ingested, we made the project a wave / You came back, reinvested and gentrified it / Took ni**as’ sense of pride, now how that’s free?”

6. “Seen It All”

Other rappers on the track: Young Jeezy

Album: Seen It All: The Autobiography

Released: July 1, 2014

Producer: Cardo

Best line: “Parked ninety-two bricks in front of 560 State / Now the Nets a stone throw from where I used to throw bricks / So it’s only right I’m still tossin’ ’round Knicks”

5. “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)”

Other rappers on the track: Kanye West

Album: Late Registration

Released: August 30, 2005

Producer: Kanye West, Devo Springsteen, Jon Brion

Best line: “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man! / Let me handle my business, damn”

Quite possibly the most iconic Jay-Z guest verse of all time, if only for his businessman quote. Kanye would admit two years later on his ode to Hov that his big brother got him on this track – “On that “Diamonds” remix I swore I spazzed / Then my big brother came through and kicked my ass.”

4. “Drug Dealers Anonymous”

Other rappers on the track: Pusha T

Album: N/A

Released: May 31, 2016

Producer: DJ Dahi

Best line: “Tried to build a cell around me / Snatched my ni**a Emory up / Tried to get him to tell about me / He told 12, “Gimme 12” / He told them to go to hell about me”

Pusha T must really remind Hov of his earlier drug-dealing days because whenever the two link up, he always goes into a completely different zone. On “Drug Dealers Anonymous” Jay balances vivid rearview mirror imagery with modern day flexing as he and Push pull out this legendary dope boy anthem.

3. “Young G’s”

Other rappers on the track: Puff Daddy, The Notorious B.I.G.

Album: No Way Out

Released: July 22, 1997

Producer: Rashad Smith

Best line: “And I told my ni**a Big I’d be multi before I die / And it’s gon’ happen, whether rapping or clapping, have it your way / ‘Cause if that’s my dough you’re trapping, I’m clapping your way”

You only need to listen to their three collaborations – “Brooklyn’s Finest”, “I Love the Dough” and “Young G’s” – to understand how dope The Commission would have been if Big had survived. While Big steals the show on this track with an undeniable flow and his effortless wordplay, Hov’s verse was more low-key but still full of endless quotables.

2. “Go Crazy (Remix)”

Other rappers on the track: Young Jeezy

Album: Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101

Released: July 26, 2005

Producer: Don Cannon

Best line: “See I’mma ‘80s baby, master of Reaganomics / School of Hard Knocks, every day is college”

Jeezy and Young Hov have never missed in all these years collaborating with each other. When the ATL rapper signed to Def Jam in 2004, Jay-Z, the label’s president at the time, was one of his biggest champions and he made sure to show his support. Over a gorgeous sample of Curtis Mayfield’s “(Man, Oh Man) I Want To Go Back,” Hov and Jeezy create an iconic dope boy anthem that will live forever.

1. “Never Let Me Down”

Other rappers on the track: Kanye West

Album: The College Dropout

Released: February 10, 2004

Producer: Kanye West

Best line: “Hov’s a living legend and I’ll tell you why / Everybody wanna be Hov and Hov’s still alive”

On the debut album of the Roc’s newest signee, Hov showed up and blacked out with one of his finest verses post-2003 retirement. The Brooklyn legend took the first verse to remind hip hop who the fuck he was and all the achievements he’s accomplished in a relatively short timespan, then came back for a second verse to explain his living legend status. Kanye was spitting his heart out on this but he didn’t stand a chance on this track.

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