Jay-Z is the king of the rap game. Widely regarded as one of, if not the, best living rapper, Hov has the unique ability to make street-hardened music but still sell tons of records and hit singles. Beginning his career in the early ’90s as a protege of childhood friend The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z has since set the record for Number 1 albums on the Billboard 200 (eleven total) by a solo artist. Despite all of his commercial success, no one can accuse him of selling out. Throughout his career he has always focused on making quality hip hop, and he never intentionally tries to pander to the Top 40 audience. Jay-Z is respected by rappers worldwide for his varied flow and complex rhyme schemes. All rappers strive to achieve the success that Jay-Z has had, and OurStage artist Jae Apollo is no exception.
Like Jay-Z, Jae Apollo shares a similar attention to detail in his flows. Check out his song “Rule The World Freestyle” and you can hear an emcee at the top of his game. In fact, this song shares some similarities in style to Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, particularly the track “Feelin’ It.” Both songs are based around a dusty piano loop and a basic drum beat. The simple beat in both songs allows each rapper to showcase their complex flows and wordplay without the beat getting in the way. While the Jae Apollo song is slightly faster than Jay-Z’s, both emcees use similar flows and continually change up their rhyming schemes throughout the song. “Sonnet 116” uses a similar technique with its beat, by looping a piano melody on a simple drum beat. However, this song has a somewhat darker tone with subtle synths used in the background to create an eerie effect. “Warring With The Devil” is another song that shows stylistic similarities to Jay-Z, but this song has more in common with the rapper’s later career output rather than his early work. The beat uses the technique of speeding up samples and looping them that Jay-Z popularized on his album The Blueprint.