Jay Z's Best Songs Before "Reasonable Doubt" Photo courtesy of Abdul Malik Abbott

Jay-Z "Reach the Top"

Circa: 1995
Producer: DJ Clark Kent

"Reach the Top"" is among the tracks on a demo that former Loud A&R execs Matty C and Schott Free remember Jay-Z and Damon Dash handing them at an impromptu meeting at a McDonald's during the 1995 Gavin Convention in San Francisco. Issues clearing the song’s Marvin Gaye sample, and Loud label head Steve Rifkind’s reluctance scuttled a potential deal, but the track turned up a year later on A Jump on Thangz, a 1996 mixtape by former Original Flavor DJ DJ Chubby Chub. While the track itself remains little known, Jay's motivational rap proved to be truly prophetic.

Tags: jay-z
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