Producer: Kanye West
Album: The Blueprint
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam


Truth be told, the entire Blueprint album could've made this list. That disc is chock full of so many classics it's hard to pick a favorite. “Never Change” makes the list because it personifies the Blueprint sound, and the wave the album created.

The track finds the Roc Representer proclaiming that no matter how successful he would become, deep down he was still the same old Shawn Carter. He'd worked hard for his spot on top, but don't think he was about to sell out that easily.

What you may not know is that prior to Jay, “Never Change” actually belonged to a Chicago artist by the name of Payroll, who'd purchased the track before Kanye uprooted to the East Coast. Somehow Jay heard Payroll's version of the track, and Pay's “Never Change” became Jay's “Never Change” complete with the same hook (this time performed by Kanye as opposed to Payroll). It must have been a tough pill to swallow, but Payroll never could've taken the track where Jay did.