News: Russell Simmons Co-Signs Jay-Z's Greatness, "The King Of Rap Is Confirmed Black"

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2009 5:30PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Rap mogul Russell Simmons has shared his thoughts on Jay-Z and labeled the Roc Nation leader as one of the "greatest" entertainers in the music industry.

Sharing his memories of working with Hov around 1996, Simmons also reflected on Roc-A-Fella co-founder Damon Dash and their movement.

"I remember, like it was yesterday, hearing one of my favorite rap records of all time, 'Aint' No N*gga,' while sitting in office and talking about the Nutty Professor soundtrack with Kevin Liles," Simmons wrote. "He told me about Damon Dash, who wasn't looking for just a record deal, he wanted a label. He and Jay weren't looking to make hit records, they were looking to make history. I knew immediately that I was hearing greatness. But I wasn't clear on who was greater on the record. I loved Foxy Brown at least equally as much. What I definitely didn't know, back then, is that Jay-Z would surpass Elvis Presley with the most number one albums as a solo artist of all time! It just happened, so naturally...it was like breathing, watching Jay put up number one albums. D*mn. 11 in a row...Looking back at his amazing career, it suddenly dawned on me, that in a hundred years from now, we're gonna be talking about Jay-Z. When we think of hip-hop, we will think of Jay. But what is even more important than his album sales, is his affect on American popular culture. Let us not forget that all the other "kings" didn't come from the culture that created the music that they played. Hip-hop is the first cultural phenomenon represented by a face in the community where the culture came from. This wasn't possible for rock n' roll or blues or jazz...it was Elvis and Mick Jagger and Benny Goodman who were always considered the best. But, now the king of rap is confirmed black. And that means a lot." (Global Grind)

Hov recently spoke on why calls himself the "Best Rapper Alive."

"But when I say I'm the best, I don't say that outta my a**," Jay said in an interview. "I say that with all my stats behind me. I put that against anybody. I mean anybody. I really believe that...I believe in a lot of things. I believe that 'SportsCenter' is the best thing on TV. I shouldn't have to prove it. But I do have these stats to prove it. I'm talking about real run. I'm not talking about years off. I'm talking about straight--boom, boom, boom--back to back. We're not talking about heritage acts either. We're not talking about respect what I've done. I'm talking No. 1 [albums] 10 times. The Beatles is the only one [to have more No. 1 albums]. They got 19, and if I get a surge of creativity, I could make nine albums next year." (XXL Magazine)

Jay recently released a public thank-you statement to MTV for making the No. 1 spot on their annual "Hottest In The Game" list for 2009.

"MTV, Thanx for this nod of appreciation," he wrote in a statement. "Although I don't strive to be 'hot' for any particular year, I thank you for the acknowledgment. My whole goal is to be recognized as the best ever. I created the term 'best rapper alive' as a sign of respect to my fallen comrades (Biggie and Tupac). I believe I've allowed a significant grace period, and I believe I would not be respecting myself if being the absolute best was not my goal, and that's why I continue to push myself until exhaustion ... salute." (Rap Radar)

However, Hov's "hot" status was challenged by Baby in an interview this week.

"I don't think he a number one emcee in no kinda way," Baby said in an interview. "[Lil] Wayne the best he do the most and he make the most money. I dont think no n*gga in the business make more money than us. How could you be the best if you don't make the best money, the most money and you don't do the most. Lyrically, come on man be for real man can't nobody f*ck with Wayne. And to me, if you number one and you aint getting no money it don't mean nothing. Who's making the most money. That's number one to me. F*ck all that rap sh*t. Sh*t, y'all got cold rappers you never even heard and then you got n*ggas who really can't rap and making money. It's about who's making the most money to me. I don't give a f*ck about the rest of that sh*t." (Tropical TV)

Check out Mos Def airing out Jay-Z's "Greatest Rapper Alive" title below:

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