The life and times of Shawn Carter…flow-wise. Check out this video of Jay-Z breaking down the evolution of his rhyme-style.

Jay-Z fans have no doubt heard the evolution of his style over the years.  While he would often display several styles over the course of an album, he tended to have dominant styles that manifested themselves more than others over certain eras. When he started he primarily had the same rapid-fire flow that his partner in rhyme, Jaz-O, had.  From his In My Lifetime single through Reasonable Doubt (and again on The Blueprint), he had an icy murderous tone in his voice.  From Vol. 2 through The Black Album he had an undeniable swagger in his vocals (and occasionally a little bounce).  After his first retirement, his voice was a bit more melodic and eventually evolved to the more sing-songy flow he has now.  Check out this brief interview where Jay discusses the evolution of his style, and the influences driving the changes, and then check out a few illustrations of the many flows of the Jigga man.

The Rapid Flow Era

The Icy Flow Era, Pt. 1

The Swagger Era

The Icy Era, Pt. 2

A Touch of Bounce

An Touch of Melody

More Melody

On to the Next One…The Sing-Songy Era