Producer: Big Jaz
Album: Reasonable Doubt
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Priority


While Jay's first single (“Dead Presidents”) from Reasonable Doubt, made a splash with hardcore hip-hop enthusiasts, “Ain't No Nigga” was the key crossover joint that helped him reach a mainstream audience. The song's familiar sample and catchy hook were exactly what Jay needed to hurdle the walls of the underground. If they weren't paying attention to Jay before, they were now, thanks to this battle of the sexes on wax.

The success of this single no doubt led to Roc-A-Fella's label deal with Def Jam, and proved that Jay had the ability to create big singles without selling out. But here's the kicker: The secret weapon was a red-hot guest verse from 16-year-old Foxy Brown. Truth was, after years of frustration with the rap game, “Ain't No Nigga” could have been Jay's last shot at some sort of success. So if it wasn't for Foxy, Jay's career might not taken a whole different route.