Producer: Nashiem Myrick for The Hitmen
Album: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1

“You Must Love Me” is the hardened heart at the center of Jay Z’s most under-appreciated album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Although many of his early albums feature tales of the dope game, and some are more overtly drawn from the mythology of his own youthful misadventures, “You Must Love Me” spins a series of more writerly yarns about family, betrayal, forgiveness, and regret. Jay rhymes about selling crack to his own mother, shooting his own brother, and letting his girl board a plane with his work. But each of the three verses unspools so poetically that the emotion of the stories transcends any lingering after-school-special undertones. —Al Shipley