The Black Album

Jay-Z - The Black Album
Critic Score
Based on 10 reviews
2003 Ratings: #82 / 278
User Score
Based on 276 ratings
2003 Ratings: #21
November 14, 2003 / Release Date
LP / Format
Def Jam / Label
Hip Hop / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
AllMusic

If The Black Album is Jay-Z's last, as he publicly stated it will be, it illustrates an artist going out in top form.

83
Entertainment Weekly
The confession, while clever, is ultimately a drag. The fact is, Jay-Z has always been in it for the money. Though he has mastered the grit and detail of the crime story, he hasn’t demonstrated ambitions to do anything else.
80
Pitchfork

The prospect of hip-hop's finest producers laying down tracks for the final LP from the rap world's brightest talent has made The Black Album one of the most anticipated rap records of the decade. What's stunning is that it delivers rap's greatest career-ender since Outkast's Stankonia.

80
NME
How good is this album? Well, a lot better than the bloated ‘Blueprint 2’, for a start. ‘The Black Album’ is Jay-Z in the optimum form of 2001’s ‘The Blueprint’, just as he has been all year on his guest verses for Beyonce, Outkast, Pharrell and Panjabi MCs.
80
Tiny Mix Tapes
The production is extremely strong, pulling famous names like The Neptunes and Timbaland into the mix. And with the strength of a gifted emcee, the complete package is another musical achievement from possibly the most successful emcee in modern day hip-hop.
80
Rolling Stone

Given one last chance to make an impact, Jay-Z has come up with one of the better albums of his career, though perhaps a shade lesser than his very best, Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint.

60
NOW Magazine

The Black Album is a solid record but not a career highlight by any stretch, and not exactly a grand farewell.

40
The Guardian
Despite innumerable producers (including usual suspects Timbaland and the Neptunes), there's little here tune-wise to match Jay's dextrous delivery and enormous reputation. The brilliant exception is the Eminem-twiddled Moment of Clarity, in which Jay candidly admits "I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars." If that's how he feels, he's getting out at the right time.
KIDWITHGUNs
88
Fantano gave this a low score

Y'know

Coz he's racist
exception
90
this is one of the most game-changing hip hop albums of all time. jay has some stellar production on this LP, along with his best raps ever. this is way ahead of it's time, as if it were released today it would be insanely popular. hov tells an extremely entertaining and interesting story on this, one of the best albums of the early 2000's no doubt.
fav tracks: december 4, encore, dirt off your shoulder, public service announcement, 99 problems
tonymontana
70
Jay-Z got bad albums but this fake goodbye ain't one.

Jay-Z false retire embodies greatly his balance between strong flows and lifelike wordplays surrounded by smooth production.
The singles are more assertive than Blueprint ones fully manifesting Jay-Z confidence and cockiness (attributes that on other albums like Magna Carta will be repeated not that well). Despite this traits there is also some reflective verses like Moment of Clarity where Hov forgives and understands the problems of a ... read more
Thenotoriousbig
95
'My 1st song' is just so beautiful
nnxsgny
84
im going back and listening to albums i shoulda listened to a while ago. this one's pretty fukn good
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Year End Lists

#6/SPIN
#17/Pitchfork

Track List

  1. Interlude
  2. December 4Th
  3. What More Can I Say
  4. Encore
  5. Change Clothes
  6. Dirt Off Your Shoulder
  7. Threat
  8. Moment of Clarity
  9. 99 Problems
  10. Interlude
  11. Justify My Thug
  12. Lucifer
  13. Allure
  14. My 1st Song
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