The 100 Best Jay-Z Songs

62. Jay-Z & Kanye West f/ Mr. Hudson "Why I Love You" (2011)

Producer: Mike Dean, Kanye West, Anthony Kilhoffer
Album: Watch The Throne
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Def Jam

Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown. And no matter how powerful the king, there will always be unrest in your kingdom. His royal highness Jay-Z has dealt with this on many occasions, most recently with his former Roc-A-Fella cohort Beanie Sigel. At one point Beans was an heir to Jay's throne—but as Nas once put it: A thug changes, and love changes and best friends become strangers. Blaming Jay for his financial troubles and recent lack of success, Beans waged an all out assault on Jay over the past few years, attempting to discredit Jay's character and paint him as a heartless business man. Jay refused to address these disses on record—until now.

While “Why I Love You” may not be speaking to Beanie Sigel directly, Jay no doubt dedicates this record to former associates who wish him ill, after he handed them a career. He declares: “I tried to teach niggas how to be kings/And all they wanted to be was soldiers.” But even after attacked Hov, he still has love for his estranged friends: “Fuck you squares/The circle got smaller/The Castle got bigger/The walls got taller/And truth be told/After all that said, niggas still got love for ya”

While WTT was criticized for being too flashy, with Jay and Ye rubbing their wealth, success and fame in the face of their fans, “Why I Love You” touched on a deeper issue, one that even effects the greatest of rulers. The moral of the story: forget watching the throne, it's better to watch your friends: “Caesar didn't see it/So he ceased to exist/So the nigga that killed him had keys to his shit.”

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