Jay-Z is one of the world’s most successful 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 doubt, one of Jay-Z’s biggest hits is the song “Big Pimpin’,” a tune that, for many, encapsulates the early 2000s.
Jay-Z rose to fame in the late ’90s
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’?
In 1998, Jay-Z released his album Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life. Not only did the album prove that Jay-Z was no one-hit wonder, but it spawned songs that people of all ages and interests could appreciate — including the album’s title track, which sampled the song from the hit Broadway musical. Around this time, Jay-Z was amassing a fabulous fortune, collaborating with other big-name artists, and working hard to establish himself as a cultural force.
It was also around this period in his life that he wrote and released the song “Big Pimpin’.” The tune not only became an anthem for the early 2000s, but it also became Jay-Z’s most popular song, a tune that he is still closely identified with 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?
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. Still, the song is Jay-Z’s most iconic work, and it remains a staple on the radio.
As to his own feeling about the song, Jay-Z himself remains conflicted. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jay-Z talked about his unique writing process, which involves not writing his lyrics down while composing songs. He admitted that, while some of his lyrics are “really profound” when he sees them on paper, he feels differently about “Big Pimpin’”: “That’s the exception. It was like, I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh.”
In spite of the artist’s feelings about the hit song, there’s no doubt that it helped him become a superstar — and cemented his status as one of the music industry’s biggest power players.
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