Jay-Z is one of the world’s most influential rappers, a businessman, and an entrepreneur who has made history time and time again. He has released many hit songs over the years, from “Can I Get A…” to “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
While Jay-Z has often been a subject of controversy among critics who take issue with his occasionally racy lyrics and provocative imagery, the artist himself has always risen above the fray, releasing songs that portray and personify his take on the urban experience. Without a question, one of Jay-Z’s greatest hits is the single “Big Pimpin’,” a tune that, for many, encapsulates the early 2000s.
Jay-Z rose to fame in the late ’90s
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Jay-Z was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1969. Raised in difficult circumstances, Jay-Z was surrounded by violence and struggles — but somehow, he found a way to thrive, using his circumstances as fuel for his poems and rhymes, which he started writing well before he reached his teenage years. Jay-Z attended multiple schools and spent his formative years raised primarily by his mother.
By the late ’80s, Jay-Z was involved in the music industry, partnering with established musicians to write and record songs. Still, it wasn’t until the mid-90s that he was able to really get his name out there, performing concerts in and around New York City. In 1996, Jay-Z released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. Critics sat up and took notice of the promising young star, and multiple songs from the album went on to become staples in Jay-Z’s catalog.
When did Jay-Z release ‘Big Pimpin’?
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Jay-Z released his second studio album, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, in 1998. Not only did the album establish Jay-Z as more than a one-hit wonder, but it also produced songs that appealed to people of all ages and interests — including the album’s title track, which sampled the song from the hit Broadway musical. Around this time, Jay-Z was amassing a massive wealth, collaborating with other illustrious musicians, and establishing himself as a cultural power.
Around this time in his life, he also wrote and published the song “Big Pimpin’.” Not only did the song become an anthem for the early 2000s, but it also became Jay-most Z’s influential song, one with which he remains closely associated to this day. The intensely catchy song, which featured guest artists UGK’s Bun B and Pimp C, ended up on four separate Billboard charts and helped Jay-Z’s fourth album to go triple platinum.
What does Jay-Z think about his song ‘Big Pimpin’ now?
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The song “Big Pimpin’” features some pretty racy lyrics, like many of Jay-Z’s songs. It caused some controversy when it was released, and to this day, some fans can’t sing along without blushing a bit. Nonetheless, the song is Jay-most Z’s recognizable work, and it continues to be a radio staple.
Jay-Z, for his part, remains conflicted about the album. Jay-Z discussed his unusual creative process in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, which includes not writing down his lyrics while composing songs. Although he admits that some of his lyrics are “really profound” when read aloud, he has a different opinion about “Big Pimpin'”: “This is an exception. It was as as if I couldn’t believe I said that. And continued to claim it. What sort of animal would utter such a thing? It’s very harsh to read.”
Regardless of the artist’s feelings about the chart-topping album, there’s no question that it helped him establish himself as a celebrity — and cemented his position as one of the music industry’s most powerful figures.