The 100 Best Kanye West Songs

65. Kanye West & Jay-Z "Murder To Excellence" (2011)

Album: Watch The Throne
Producer: Swizz Beatz, S1
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Roc Nation, Def Jam


“Murder To Excellence” was a two-part song, dealing with two very different topics, but both revolving around being African-American in the United States. Despite sounding completely different, the two tracks were meshed together to tell a story. The first half, “Murder,” dealt with black-on-black violence, with Yeezy expounding on the climbing murder rate in his hometown of Chicago: “I feel the pain in my city wherever I go/314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago.”

The latter half, “Excellence” dealt with black excellence, success, and wealth in the midst of adversity. And despite their climb to the top, racism was still very real in America: “If you picture events like a black tie/What’s the last thing you expect to see? Black guys.” If you thought the content on WTT was shallow, then you weren’t really paying attention.

Fun Fact: Kanye borrowed the “I’m from the murder capital/where they murder for capital” line from Jay-Z who originally borrowed it from Bump J. After Jay borrowed the line from Bump, he returned the favor, giving a Bump a Jay line in exchange.

Tags: kanye_west, jay_z
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