Shawn Carter is indisputably one of the best rappers to ever grace a mic, and today we the rap community should recognize the classic he dawned on us 16 years ago. Although many feel his best project is either Reasonable Doubt or The Blueprint, I personally enjoy The Black Album the most. It was advertised as his last album before his retirement that thankfully was brief, but nonetheless at the time Jay was leaving the game and he left us with a masterpiece.
The album was released in 2003 and was immediately looked at as a potential classic. The track-list is filled with hits all throughout and Jay’s flow and cadence is on point on every song. To go along with his elite flow and rhyme scheme Jay made sure he got an all star production team for his “final album”. This is one of the best produced albums of all time with contributions from legends such as Just Blaze, 9th Wonder, Timbaland, Pharrell, Em, and the one and only Kanye West. Jay for the the most part raps about temptation, street life, being a “thug”, all tying into the major theme on the album of retirement. The production is rugged and hard hitting on most songs like “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, while at the same time Jay has a few tracks with more relaxed soulful samples like on “December 4Th”.
The album truly embodied the New York street sound that Jay contributed a great amount to over the course of his career to that point. Although I believe 4:44 will be looked at a classic in years to come, this was arguably Jay’s last indisputable classic. If it was actually his retirement it would have been a hell of an exit note to a fantastic career. Thankfully Jay returned to the game and has still produced to this day.
Album Score: 10/10 – shits a classic what did you expect
Going to end this one off with a legendary clip of my favorite track of the project being created…
Published by Fran Cava