Jay-Z is the ultimate New York rapper. He speaks specifically for aspirational people. He speaks to American values, American goals. He has all of the components that embody the best of the best in hip hop or in rap.
Those things are definitely melody, being able to make complex words and ideas simple, so that all minds can get it, which is why he as such a large reach. Jay-Z also is about the finer things in life, so he raps a lot about just wanting better things. So, whether that's clothing, or travel, or to have the most beautiful woman, he is definitely a man's man, alpha male, who wants the best: to be the best, to have the best. And he speaks to the hopes and dreams of people who want to make their own.
Jay-Z went to try to get a record deal; that didn't work out, so he started his own record label. Now record labels come to him to want to partner with him because he did his thing very well. So, his whole style is all about aspirational desires.
Another thing that Jay-Z embodies is definitely wit, style and a lot of word play. He is a master at using words and putting words together in a way that's just unbelievable. All of that doesn't just come straight from talent. A lot of that is skill that is acquired by hours and hours and hours of just beating on his craft, over and over to a point now that he, like Lil Wayne, and Lil Wayne actually was inspired by Jay-Z's ability to not write lyrics down.
He raps straight off of memory, off of heart. And if you want to develop a style like that, you have to spend a lot of hours in the studio, just recording without needing a piece of paper, and just rapping from your heart.
You will find that your flow is much different when you don't have to look at a piece of paper. When you're rapping from your heart, it really tightens your ability to convey what you want to convey and simplifies the lyrics. Jay-Z is complex, but he's also simple at the same time. That's how you can learn to rap like Jay-Z.