When it comes to hip-hop, Jay-Z is one of, if not the, greatest of all time. With a catalog boasting four classics, a net worth edging ever closer to hip-hop's first billionaire, a streaming service, and one of the best verses of 2018 under his belt, few can dispute the greatness of Shawn Carter. Today, the rapper celebrates his 49th birthday, on a date that many Jigga fans have since cemented in their memories; recall that The Black Album's kickoff track was the Just Blaze-produced banger "December 4th," featuring Jay's mother Gloria Carter handling the narration. 

This year, The Black Album celebrated its fifteenth birthday, as many emerged to tout the album as Jay's definitive project. Of course, the fact that no clear consensus of Jay's strongest album can be discerned is a testament to his brilliance. Some believe it's Reasonable Doubt. Others vouch for Blueprint. There are likely some who feel strongly about his recent 4:44, the most personal album he's released to date. In any case, Jay's lyrical brilliance is unparalleled, and a recent turn on Meek Mill's "What's Free" proved that few can close out a track like the Jigga Man.

As a personal favorite, it's great to see Jay-Z continue to thrive as he nears the age of fifty. Few artists can look back on such an excellent run, and the fact that he's still putting out quality music speaks to the importance of longevity. Here's hoping he still has music to make, as it doesn't seem like the man is slowing down anytime soon. Happy birthday Jay-Z!