We rank Jay-Z’s top 5 albums of all-time!
5. THE BLUEPRINT 2: THE GIFT & THE CURSE
I thought Jay-Z morphed into a legendary hip-hop figure on “The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse.” I get it, the album isn’t heralded as the best thing since sliced bread, but on it, Jay remade classics, collaborated with great hip-hop acts, did work with big-time producers, and in my opinion, spit his most impressive bars. All in all, “The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse” was a great follow-up to the classic “The BluePrint.”
4. VOL. 2… HARD KNOCK LIFE
For me, “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life” was the album that made me pay attention to Jay-Z. Not only did it feature his biggest hit at the time in “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” but it also featured other timeless hits like “Jigga What, Jigga Who,” Can I Get A…,” and “Money, Cash, Hoes.” Additionally, I feel like Jay was in his bad guy/asshole bag on the album — A persona he only manifested more and more as time went by.
3. THE BLACK ALBUM
Much like Michael Jordan’s last shot against the Utah Jazz in game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals felt like the perfect ending to a legendary basketball player’s career, “The Black Album” felt like the perfect ending for a legendary rapper’s career. (Both dudes came back from retirement a few years after their respective walk-aways, looking and sounding rusty as hell)
“The Black Album” is an album that features powerful instrumentals by legendary producers (The Neptunes, Timbaland, Kanye West, Just Blaze & 9th Wonder), dramatic subject-matters, and believe it or not, not a single rap feature. On the real, Jay-Z left it all on the court on the album, which resulted in hits (“Excuse Me Miss”), all-time great records (“99 Problems”), and even songs that made you tear up a bit (“Encore”).
2. REASONABLE DOUBT
Nine times out of a ten, a musician’s best album is their first one. For the first five years of Jay-Z’s career (At least his album-making career), this was the case.
“Reasonable Doubt” is fantastic! As somewhat of a newcomer to the rap game at the time, Jay-Z acted like a veteran on the album, dishing out wisdom-filled tips on mackin’, drug-dealing, and mafioso-living. While Jay wasn’t as polished as a rapper on the album, he did dish out fantastic flows, memorable punchlines, and wicked lyrics that were literally unforgettable on the album. SN: The instrumentals on this album are GREAT!
1. THE BLUEPRINT
I can already hear you guys calling “cap” on this selection, but it’s all good, I’ll convince you by the end of the next few lines that “The Blueprint” is Jay-Z’s best album!
Think about these facts for a second:
- The Blueprint was a coming-out party for not only Jay-Z, but also Kanye West, as Kanye produced four of the thirteen songs on the album (Including “Izzo (H.O.V.A),” “Heart Of The City,” and Takeover).
- One of the best collaborations in rap history took place on the album (“Renegade” with Eminem).
- One of the best diss records in rap history is on the album (“Takeover”).
- One of the best instrumentals in rap history is on the album (“Breathe Easy”)
- One of the best sappy rap songs ever is on the album (“Song Cry”)
- Jay-Z’s most strong-arming lyrics are on this album.
In my opinion, Jay-Z created a blueprint on how to create the perfect rap album with “The Blueprint.” No, it isn’t an emotional album, it’s just a very good album that real hip-hop heads should love (Not like, LOVE).