Producer: Kanye West, Jon Brion, Devo Springsteen
Album: Late Registration
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam


It's 2005: Jay is still “retired,” Damon Dash has been unceremoniously ousted from the Roc, there's a whole stable of Roc-A-Fella artists whose future is uncertain, and Kanye West is the label's breakout star. There were a lot of unanswered questions floating around at the time but the main one was, Who was rolling with Dame and who was rolling with Jay?

Everyone was patiently waiting on a statement from Jigga, and he broke his silence and returned to the mic to spit one of his best verses ever on the remix to Kanye's single “Diamonds.” The defiant verse made it clear that Jay was the Roc (“How could you falter?/When you're the Rock of Gibraltar”) and the roster was standing by him.

In the long run, Jay's verse didn't have its intended effect. After this record dropped, the Roc didn't rise from the ashes (Freeway? Foxy? Teairra Mari? LOL!). Instead the song served as another classic Jay and 'Ye collaboration—further cementing their relationship as one of hip-hop's premier duos.