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Jay-Z Pens Intro for Rolling Stone’s ’500 Greatest Songs’ Issue

Over the years, Jay-Z has proven his talent for writing rhymes, but who knew that the famed emcee had a way with words on the literary level? Rolling Stone recently enlisted the Brooklyn rapper to pen the introduction for their special collectors issue, ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.’

Hov prefaced his introduction with a simple statement, “A great song doesn’t attempt to be anything — it just is,” before proceeding to wax poetic about the beauty of penning a truly great song. “When you hear a great song, you can think of where you were when you first heard it, the sounds, the smells. It takes the emotions of a moment and holds it for years to come. It transcends time,” Jay wrote. “A great song has all the key elements — melody; emotion, a strong statement that becomes part of the lexicon; and great production. Think of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ by Queen. That song had everything — different melodies, opera, R&B, rock — and it explored all of those different genres in an authentic way, where it felt natural.”

In his introduction, Jay made it a point to explain that technology has seriously affected the process of creating great songs. “Technology has caused the songwriting process to lose some of the magic. A lot of times now, people working on a song aren’t in the same room,” he wrote. “Imagine Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones hadn’t been in the same room! Those records would have been totally different. I’ve had times when I changed one word because of something that somebody said in the studio, and it changed the while song. It’s so important to have other people in the room, vibing, saying, ‘No, this part is good, put that there.’”

Catch Jay-Z’s introduction in Rolling Stone’s special issue, ‘The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time,’ on newsstands now.

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