The lore surrounding The Black Album reveals the scope Jay-Z’s ambition, and extra importantly, his artistry. So the story goes, Jay supposed on handpicking instrumentals from his favourite producers, an honorary group made up The Neptunes, Timbaland, Just Blaze, Kanye West, Eminem, DJ Quik, Rick Rubin, ninth Wonder, and extra. In that regard, his swan tune was tailor-made to attain his exodus from the rap recreation, the punctuation to a pround closing assertion. In that sense, the soundscapes needed to be grandiose, the message equally so. “I am speculated to be primary on everyone listing, we’ll see what occurs once I not exist,” raps Jay, a touch curiosity shrouded beneath his unyielding confidence.
Today, The Black Album turns fifteen. Many hip-hop followers think about it to be Jay’s magnum opus, objectively talking. The Mafioso-themed Reasonable Doubt holds weight as a seminal endeavor, and The Blueprint marked the introduction “visionary Jay,” succesful piecing collectively a coherent and highly effective undertaking. Yet The Black Album appears transcendent in its craftsmanship. Those unfamiliar with Jay’s legacy want solely take heed to “Lucifer” to grasp his depth as a lyricist. Or “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” to grasp his ear for hitmaking. Or “99 Problems” to watch his priciency as a storyteller. No options needed. The listing, and the reward, solely grows with each passing hear.
His latest effort four:44 was praised for being a private effort, with the implication being that new territory was explored. Yet The Black Album introduced listener’s into Jay-Z’s world, by tracks like “December 4th,” “Moment Of Clarity,” and “My First Song.” Never has a rapper come near encapsulating the sheer braggadocio “Public Service Announcement.” Consider that Jay stood as one hip-hop’s reigning entities, examined on the idea his creative deserves, somewhat than his proximity to Beyonce or Kanye West. In that sense, The Black Album feels just like the strongest exhibit for any “Jay as GOAT” line discourse; the album is so uniquely crafted, from the manufacturing to the good lyricism, that it may confidently stand towards any entry hip-hop’s notable canon.
On The Black Album’s fifteenth anniversary, take a second to revisit a traditional from begin to end.