Grade A Certified


Posted by J. Tinsley on June 3, 2009

One is the “King of New York” and arguably the G.O.A.T., and the other is one of the premiere names in hip-hop today and the “King of the South”. But how do they fare when matched on the same record together?

The title of “greatest rapper alive” is merely a subjective one. While fans, experts and rappers alike have always believed they knOw the requirements for such a title, at the end of the day it is all based on opinion, regardless of how many facts are brought forth and agreed upon. However, one of the most accepted artists to hold that crown is Sean Carter. With at least three classic records under his belt, hundreds of legendary songs to his arsenal and a seemingly never-ending amount of business ventures, Jay-Z has been the definition of a hustler for nearly 15 years and the blueprint (pun intended) for success and longevity in an industry which has a shorter lifespan (career-wise) than that of a NFL player.

Throughout his decade (plus) of dominance, the question of “who is the next Jay-Z?” has been lurking around hip-hop almost as much as basketball has been haunted with the “search” for its Jordan. Excluding the “other” Carter, T.I. is arguably the closest comparison to his northern prophyte. He boasts one of the most impressive catalogs in the game today and is one of the few “superstars” the genre has. His non-rap ventures have made the headlines as well including his clothing line, construction company, community service and acting career. Even VIBE magazine once dubbed the Grand Hustle front man as the heir to the elder Carter’s dynasty. The one sharp difference, however, happens to be T.I.’s struggle to sometimes pull away from the street life, something that Jay managed to do rather effortlessly once  his musical career took off.

With success, especially in hip-hop, operating on the narrowest of roads, it only makes sense that the two would test their lyrical muscles (pause…if applicable) on the same track more than once. Since comparisons have been a cornerstone of the music since the days of Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, I’ve decided to analyze each track Hov and Tip have dropped bars on…together.

Song: “Watch What You Say To Me”
Album: T.I. vs. T.I.P.
Year: 2007
Jay-Z: “You talkin’ to the author, the architect of the blueprint/My DNA in your music, muthafucka you stupid?”
T.I.: “Tryin’ to refrain from being violent, but you come out your face/ I got my lawyer paid up ready to catch me a case”

Synopsis: While Cliff’s second verse is one of the more arrogant and entertaining of his career (and that line was eeirely prophetic), Jay wins this one simply because the moment he uttered his first bar, the listener knew the next 15 were going to be vintage, cocky Jay (and he didn’t disappoint). Plus, it was Jay sending subliminal shots at those who were taking swipes at his character at the time (i.e. The Game and possibly Lil Wayne). Subliminal Hov always leaves you wondering and with a few classic quotables in the process.

Winner: Jay-Z

Song: “Swagger Like Us”
Album: Paper Trail
Year: 2008
Jay-Z: “But I can’t teach you my swag, you can pay for school but you can’t buy class/School of Hard Knocks, I’m a grad/ And that all blue Yankee is my graduation cap”
T.I.: “Ain’t nobody hot as me/ Even if they rap they ass off, blast off and have outstanding qualities/ Sell a lot of records, I respect and salute that/ But spitting real life on hot beats, I’m the truth at”

Synopsis: This could arguably be one of the most popular songs to never have a video. Boasting the four biggest names in the sport, T.I. waited until Kanye, Lil Wayne and Jay himself had set the scene up perfectly for his closing. And closing is exactly what he did with a breathtaking verse that was undoubtedly the song’s best.

Winner: T.I.

Song: “Turn Off The Lights”
Album: “DJ Smallz & Rick Ross–Southern Smoke 28″
Year: 2006
Jay-Z: “I’m like the World Class Wrecking Crew minus the Jheri curl juice/ Still I manage to get every girl loose/ The six-deuce patruce, give her an excuse/ To turn out the lights like Con Edison do”
T.I.: “I know you used to niggas frontin’, that ain’t nothin’ to me/ Cause spendin’ money, poppin’ bottles, that ain’t nothin’ to me/ I did that in ’93 when I was runnin’ the streets/ Movin’ O’s out of Caprice runnin’ from the  police/ Now you ain’t gotta bring a bag when you comin’ with me”

Synopsis: Out of the three tracks, this was, by far, the hardest to judge. However, if I have to chose (and I do), the honor goes to T.I. simply because his flow on this > Jay’s. That’s right, I said it.

Winner: T.I.

In case you wanted more tracks that involve the two, be sure to buff your collection up with these as well.

DL: Jay-Z–ASAP Freestyle

DL: Beyonce feat. T.I.–Upgrade You

And as an added bonus…

T.I.–Hell Of A Life (kudos to NahRight)

Flashback: Jay-Z and Eminem Perform “Renegade” Live | “Respect My Conglomerate…” | “We All Hustlers In Love With The Same Thing…” | Vintage Kanye & Jay-Z Studio Footage | Jay-Z feat. Diddy–Maybe | T.I. feat. B.o.B. & Kanye West–On Top Of The World (original version) | Write T.I. A Letter | T.I.–It’s All Real | T.I. Kicks Alfamega Off Grand Hustle | “Run That Back…” T.I.–Drive Slow (remix) | “The Road To Redemption…” | Big Kuntry feat. Young Dro & T.I.–I Do |


13 Responses to “T.I. x JAY-Z: "BAR FOR BAR, VERSE FOR VERSE"”

  1. Rugga said

    he was always a guest so… UNDERSTAND THAT AND SEE THE REASON !

  2. Lol, I knew someone was going to take this as a “T.I. is better than Jay-Z”.

    Regardless if Jay was a guest feature or not, Tip got him on 2 of the 3 tracks, no matter how you look at it. Look at how many times Luda or Jada or Bun has smashed features on rap songs.

  3. Rugga said

    damn funny, just three songs, 2-1 and the dude takes that as an authority argument ! please homie, paper trail and ti vs tip < blueprint 3 and american gangster, and BP3 is still not here ; but jockin’ jayz, history, bk go hard ARE better than da whole Paper trail thang ! please.. i know that pharrell said T.I. is the south jayz, but jay is still better.. no shots, t.i is very good

    and if t.i got it on two songs of three, like u said, it’s not like he ethered jigga on his own shit, but if i look, “watch what u said”, that’s kind of…

    please: nas, em and jay, top three right now, no doubt… add Andre3000 and ya favorite other rapper and u have the top five ! peace

  4. Rugga said

    Before it was Busta, then Jada, Luda, Bun aka THE 3 OUTSHINERS
    but since his comeback i thought that jay smashed also all his features (and remixes)… Thus T.I. 2-1 Jay-Z, Jay’s 39, i think it’s a good move for real, nevertheless ! 🙂 ! LINE 4 LINE, VERSO POR VERSO i see u hombre !

  5. Justin said

    Opinion is opinion, so I thank you for expressing yours, but this wasn’t proclaiming T.I. as a better MC than Jay. It was stating that whenever they were on the same record, I think T.I.has won out.

    Whoever you have in your top 5 is cool, fine by me. But honestly Tip’s last two albums vs. Jay’s.

    And c’mon bruh, I’ll give you History and Brooklyn Go Hard as bangers, but Jockin Jay-Z??? Nahh, I can’t see that.

    Paper Trail was a hot album, no denying that. Laced with hot songs all throughout.

  6. Justin said

    I meant to say Tip’s last two albums > Jay’s

  7. Well well Well gentlemen allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is….LoL, no but seriously I think both of you are making valid points. Justin, let me first commend you for developing a solid discussion topic that is very debateable. However, I would have liked to been able to judge from a larger sample size, but nevertheless we’ll work with what we’ve got.

    First, let me say I have a strong appreciation for both MC’s music. And I think it should be noted that Jay-Z is always the featured person on all these tracks. Rugga, I agree with some of your argument. I believe BP3 & American Gangsta will be far & away better than Paper Trail & the other album. T.I. loses that fight when you realize that T.I. vs T.I.P. was clearly just a speed bump album between King & Paper Trail.

    Anyway, back to the argument at hand. After just listening to ALL 3 songs just now for a refresh. These 3 things are clear:

    1) Jay-Z does lose out to T.I. on “Swagger Like Us” But I must admit it wasn’t by much. If Jay had decided to minus out the harmonize at the end I think he woulda took this one.

    2) T.I. suffers a substanial lost on “What What You Say to Me.” I’m sorry but the swagger he exudes on the track is not equalled by his lyrics. Meanwhile Jay does come on the track swinging and doesnt stop before rounding the bases.

    3) “Turn Off the Lights” was definitely the toughest to judge. And I will say T.I.’s did his thang. However neither of them left me with 1 “WHAT DID HE JUST SAY” moment. And because of that I judge this song a tie.

    In the end the score is Jay 1….T.I. 1….and Charge 1 to the game. But seeing as how I’m always a proponent for one paying his dues in any profession or hobby he/she takes up, I’m claiming Jay-Z as teh champ over T.I. in this discussion. In the end, I’m leaning on that old saying. “If you want to be the Champ, you’ve got to beat the champ.” And a tie just won’t do it.

  8. Justin said

    See, this is the exact reason I created this post. Glad the both of you gentlemen added your opinions. While I respect the both of your viewpoints, let me say this…

    1. I don’t consider BP3 an album just yet because it hasn’t been released. While I’m about 90% sure it will be a magnificent album, I don’t wanna put all my eggs in one basket. The last time I did, I was extremely disappointed with Kingdom Come and LeBron got beat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Lesson learned. Until then, BP3 has the same release date as Detox, I Can’t Feel My Face and Weezy’s rock album, Nevuary 35th.

    2. The sample size is so small because those are the only three songs they’ve appeared on TOGETHER. Enough of this Jay being the feature talk. Jay’s outshined people on their own records before (i.e. “Blackout”) and gotten outshined before (i.e. “Renegade”). A spade is a spade, I’m not saying he got outshined by a mile on these, but Tip had the better verse.

    3. If I may ask, what dues does Tip have to pay? He has one of the best catalogs in rap. He’s got 5 platinum albums, a slew of hits, and for kicks he’s got a classic mixtape (Down With The King….not mention “In Da Streets Vol. 1-4).

    Bottom line, Jay is still arguably the GOAT, but as far as this debate goes, in my personal opinion, he got got.

    And for the record, I am a huge Jigga fan, so I hope no one takes this as a “hate” post.

  9. Elcoj said

    Super post, Need to mark it on Digg

  10. Rugga said


    Think & what about a T.I. vs Weezy,
    that is a better thing for the moment, nah?
    cuz i think they have more than 20 official songs together…
    to me it’s just a jay/nas competition, so a jedi’s affair !
    and t.i., weezy f baby are still young padawans
    even if wayne looks like Jar Jar Binks

    ps: Probably BP3’s 9/11 …

    I’m So Dope Boy Fresh !

  11. Rugga said

    brand new song jay-z – d.o.a, the street single from BP3, the official official single “off that” is coming soon… BP3 on the way, september 09 !

  12. P0L0 H0V said

    i don’t think u should have done jay-z vs tip neither i think tip and wayne because their around da same age and have more songs together they both from the south and also two of the hottest out right now you can compare dese songs

    swagger like us
    we takin over
    done it now
    stand up
    soldier remix
    brand new remix
    make it rain remix
    one blood remix
    they both rap on upgrade you and motivation

  13. Laisha said

    Jay is The Best.

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