Album: The College Dropout
Producer: Kanye West
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

When Kanye and Jay first collaborated, they weren’t exactly on an equal playing field. But on “Never Let Me Down,” things were different—they weren’t quite peers (yet)—but the respect was there. Kanye was no longer just a producer who was trying to rap, he was becoming a rap star.

Jay and 'Ye traded inspired verses, showing chemistry that would later be captured in full on Watch the Throne. “Never Let Me Down” was powerful, political and provocative—and the engaging spoken word from J. Ivy was the icing on the cake. 'Ye opened up about his then-girlfriend’s deceased father and discussed his car crash in graphic detail, musing on how he could have survived: “I know I got angels watching me from the other side.”