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Everything About This Old, Unreleased Jay Z Freestyle Screams 1999

Throwback Jay.

We haven't had a new Jay Z album in almost two-and-a-half years, but on Thursday (Nov. 5), we got some new music in the form of old music, when Tim Westwood dropped a previously-unreleased Hov freestyle from 1999.

Jay is fully in the zone here: His rhymes are clever, he glides with agility over an array of beats, and his boasts are supreme.

All of that is reason enough to drown yourself in the newly-unearthed track. But there's another reason, too: More than a few times during these four minutes, we're reminded what 1999 was like, in general, and what it was like for Jay, and how much he's evolved since then.

  • He references Sam Goody. If you're saying, "Who?" my response is, no, you're supposed to be asking, "What?" Sam Goody was a CD store that closed in 2006 after 50 years. CDs were these really thin, circular things, which held music, that people bought. People buying music was a thing that happened.

  • He brags, "I come through, gettin' money, sittin' on 20s." Rapping about how big your car rims are? Yeah, that was a thing for a while.

  • He calls himself "Jiggaman," and I can't recall him doing that in ages.

  • At one point, he raps, "No kids, but trust me, I know how to raise a gun." These days? Yes kids. Shoutout to Blue.

  • You may recognize the line, "Don't talk to me 'bout MCs got skills/ He's alright, but he's not real," because he rapped it later in 1999, on Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter's "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)"

  • He admits, "I just came to terms with the night that they shot Biggie/ And I sold five million records, damn I'm pretty." And while he's still pretty, and may still in some ways be coming to terms with the death of his friend, he's sold a few more than five mil to date.