Happy 42nd, Hov: Celebrate Jay-Z's Birthday With SPIN's Greatest Hits

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[Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford]
WRITTEN BY
SPIN Staff

Jay-Z ensured we'll never forget his birthday by putting it in a song — The Black Album's "December 4th" — in which he provides us with extremely specific details of his arrival: "Shawn Carter was born December 4th. Weighing in at 10 pounds 8 ounces, he was the last of my four children, the only one who didn't give me any pain when I gave birth to him," Jigga's mom narrates at the top of the track over a brassy fanfare. "And that's how I knew that he was a special child."

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So what more can we say? Happy birthday to Hov, the man who landed three LPs on our list of the 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years (and an extra disc by way of Danger Mouse):
The Blueprint (No. 19)
Reasonable Doubt (No. 50)
The Black Album (No. 92)
The Grey Album (No. 113)

It's a perfect afternoon to sit back and read SPIN's analysis of Jay's other landmark releases:
• SPIN's Track by Track Take on Watch the Throne Part 1 and Part 2
Jay-Z's Blueprint 3: A Track by Track Review
American Gangster on the 40 Best Albums of 2007
The Black Album on the 40 Best Albums of 2003
Review: The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse (9/10)
The Blueprint on the 20 Best Albums of 2001

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Now Playing
  • 1 Chris Brown & Trey Songz — Tuesday (Remix) " 04:26
  • 2 Buzzcocks — "It's Not You" " 02:46
  • 3 The Drums — Magic Mountain " 04:05
  • 4 Jessie Ware — Kind Of...Sometimes...Maybe " 03:46
  • 5 Flying Lotus — Coronus, the Terminator " 02:40
  • 6 JEFF The Brotherhood — Gouge Away " 02:52

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