Produced by Just Blaze, “Dear Summer” is one of Jay-Z’s best efforts displaying his supreme language consciousness and elite word play. The first time Hov unleashed this verse was during a Hot 97 interview on February 7, 2005. In an interview with MTV, Just Blaze explained Hov had the verse in his head for a year before he let it loose:

First time I heard it was when he did the last S. Carter mixtape. He was rapping to the beat for the tennis shoe commercial Green Lantern did. When he finished the song, Guru went to stop the beat and Jay was like, ’Nah, keep it going.’ He started spitting that rhyme out of nowhere. So it just sat there forever and then he spit it that one day on the radio. The record is so crazy we was going to put it out the day after, but Jay was like, ’Nah, chill.’ Then [a few months later] he was like, ’I want to do it as a song, but I have nowhere to put it.’

“Dear Summer” is a metaphorical letter written to the rap game reminiscing about his career, and then bidding it farewell. Jay had famously controlled the Summer season for the past eight years with a succession of successful releases. Using the seasonal metaphor, he shows how his rap career was the Summer of his life – the season most romanticized in the modern world.

This track came out in-between Jay-Z’s 2003 retirement album The Black Album, and his 2006 comeback project Kingdom Come. Hov had stopped recording his own albums, but still did guest verses here and there – many of these being for the Def Jam Recordings artists he was representing as the President of the label.