The 25 Best Eight-Bar Verses in Rap History

24. Jay-Z on "Frontin" (2003)

"Every time your name was brought up/
I would act all nonchalant in front of an audience/
Like if you was just another shorty I put the naughty on/
But uh, truth be told you threw me for a loop, this Hov/
I'm too old to be frontin' what I'm feeling/
Denzelin', acting like you ain't appealing when you are/
Stuntin' like you ain't my only girl, when you are/
I'm ready to stop when you are"

Rarely do we catch Jay-Z on the vulnerable tip, but this "Frontin'" verse puts his emotions on full display. Hov has a girl who he's been casually seeing, and within the span of his spectacularly short contribution, he comes to terms with the fact that he wants more out of the relationship. The premise could make for a basic delivery, but this is Jay-Z, who takes even a few seconds of flow time as a challenge to leave an impression. The rhyme scheme is unorthodox, twisting words like "nonchalant" and "audience" until they're phonetically similar. Denzel Washington's first name is used as a verb. Jay's eight bars are more of a cameo than a feature, but they're just as essential to the song's success as anything else. —Ernest Baker

Tags: jay_z
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