Deep Cuts We Want to Hear at Jay Z's Tidal Concert

Jay Z during his Made in America Festival in 2012.
Jay Z during his Made in America Festival in 2012.
Photo by Marco Torres

Ever since launching his CD-quality streaming music service Tidal with a lavish event featuring himself, wife Beyonce, Jack White, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, and more, Jay Z has been running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to save face due to the public backlash. Turns out people care more about whose coffers they're lining and their own out-of-pocket costs than about the audio quality of their streaming services.

Since then, Hova has posted a lengthy Twitter speech on the subject and announced a special concert to be streamed on Tidal tonight, this Saturday and Sunday, where he'll perform a round of B-sides, deep cuts and hardcore fan favorites. Now, I don't really care about Tidal one way or the other, and this still won't quell any qualms people have with the, excuse me, “en-Tidal-ment” they perceive on the part of the artists behind the project. But I do love Jay's music, and I can't wait for this concert all the same. Here are the seven songs I'm definitely dying to hear should they make the set list.

This cut is one of Jay's hardest-hitting dis tracks (reportedly directed at Nas and Mobb Deep, given the time period of its release) and it features some of his most interesting production. There's no chorus aside from the catcall of “come and get me,” and it features a funk background that suddenly switches up as Jay turns up his flow. This came at a time when Jay was being criticized more than ever for his pop-rap tunes, and is still one of his realest hip-hop jams today.

During his feud with Nas, Jay's critics said he couldn't rap as intelligently about the reality of the streets as his rival. Reasonable Doubt always stood as a testament to the untruth of that statement. The fact is that “D'Evils” stands up just as well as anything on Illmatic. It's one of Jay's saddest, most serious tracks, and it features a classic beat by DJ Premier.

Are Jay and Memphis Bleek still cool? Is Memphis Bleek even alive? Who knows? If he's still around out there, it would be great to see him jump onstage for this one. The original “Coming of Age” from Reasonable Doubt is a classic, but I've always liked the sequel just a little bit more. Memphis and Jigga just kill it on this one.

Featuring Kanye West's first production credit on a Jay Z record ever, “This Can't Be Life” features guest verses from Beanie Sigel and Scarface. Beanie's out cause he and Jay have beef now, but I'd love to see the H-town rap hero join Jay for this one, which was easily the standout cut from The Dynasty: Roc La Familia.

This has to be one of the most underrated tracks on The Black Album. The album featured such massive hits that songs like this one, which featured the more gangsta Jay Z diehard fans were used to, fell by the wayside a bit. It's similar in flow to “99 Problems,” but that Madonna sample is untouchable with its staccato bassline.

This is an anomaly in Jay's catalog. Very few of his songs discuss relationships in detail, aside from maybe “Song Cry.” This one does feature some of his lamer metaphors (“Me, I'm from the apple, which means I'm a mac/ she's a PC, she lives in my lap”), but the production on it is immaculate. It features one of the best beats money can buy from Timbaland, and even with some dud lines is an example of Jay stepping outside his comfort zone and writing about a subject other than his own accomplishments. For that reason, it was one of my favorites from The Blueprint 3 and it would be one of the few newer Jay Z songs that would fit right into this deep-cuts set list.

This is it. The close of Jay Z's career. Of course, he subsequently came out of retirement and kept making music to varying degrees of critical acclaim. But let's imagine a world where he really did quit. This being the last song he would ever do is fitting, because it's probably the greatest song he ever recorded. One thing Jay knows how to do is perform, and this would be the absolute perfect ending to a performance.

Note: this article has been corrected to update the date of the concerts — ed.

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