Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

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"Izzo (H.O.V.A.)"
Izzo (H.O.V.A.) (Jay-Z single - cover art).jpg
Single by Jay-Z
from the album The Blueprint
Released August 21, 2001 (2001-08-21)
Recorded May 2001
Genre East Coast hip hop
Length 4:00
Producer(s) Kanye West
Jay-Z singles chronology
"Guilty Until Proven Innocent"
"Izzo (H.O.V.A.)"
"Girls, Girls, Girls"

"Guilty Until Proven Innocent"
"Izzo (H.O.V.A.)"
"Girls, Girls, Girls"

"Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" (often referred to as "H to the Izzo") is the first single released by Jay-Z from his sixth album The Blueprint. It is among his most popular singles. This was the second song released off The Blueprint, after the diss track "Takeover", but the lead single from it. The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. It was Jay-Z's first top 10 single as a lead artist.[1]

The song, produced by Kanye West, prominently features a sample of "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5, the second major hit in 2001 to sample that song (after "My Baby" by Lil' Romeo).

Jay-Z premiered the song, live, at the inaugural BET Awards on June 19th, 2001. Originally Kanye West gave the beat to Cam'ron for his Roc-A-Fella Records debut album Come Home with Me, but when Jay-Z heard it he took it and put it on his album. This gave Cam'ron ill will towards Jay and would be the starting point of what led to their feud.

The music video takes place in New York City with Jay-Z, Damon Dash, Biggs, & other affiliates on a Roc-A-Fella parade float which features cameo appearances from Kanye West, Destiny's Child, Trina, Eve, Nelly, and OutKast.

The song was later mashed up with Linkin Park's "In the End" for their collaborative EP, Collision Course.


The first verse deals with the rapper's early career as a drug dealer, including his escape from conviction. The second verse narrates his struggles with the exploitative recording industry, while in the last verse he reverts to his childhood growing up in the Marcy housing projects.

The song's lyrics "H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A" use the -izzle language code to spell out HOVA, which refers to a pseudonym given to himself ("Jayhova") for his self-proclaimed status as the god of MCs, a reference to Jehovah.


Chart (2001) Peak
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[2] 69
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[3] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[4] 21
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 8
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[6] 4
US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)[7] 7