• Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Nov 14, 2003
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. 100
    A magnificent record. [Jan 2004, p.104]
  2. 90
    It's monumental because it's a culmination of Jigga's natural thoughtfulness delivered with transcendent skill. [Jan 2004, p.120]
  3. There are better storytellers, there are better battle rappers, there are undoubtedly rhymers with more on their minds. But there isn't a better MC around, if you're talking about the art of sheer mic domination.
  4. It easily stands comparison not just to the stars Jay-Z has been forced to compete with since 1996, but to the all-time greats of hip hop history.
  5. The Black Album stands up alongside Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint as Z's most ambitious work.
  6. Carter's sulky obsession with proving himself against a field that has all but laid down and acknowledged him as its master detracts from the hard-won grandeur wrought by this nostalgic magnum opus of self-regard (to say nothing of the engaging beats and typically nimble rhymes).
  7. A streamlined effort that's stylish, cool and has a sense of finality.
  8. The Black Album's bling-bang reportage mostly rings redundant. [28 Nov 2003, p.121]
  9. Even in falling short of Jay's classics, Reasonable Doubt and 2001's The Blueprint, it manages to eclipse 1999's brilliant Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter as his third-best album-- which in itself still makes it one of the year's best.
  10. Excellent, although not quite the epoch-defining triumph its hype suggested it might be. [Jan 2004, p.108]
  11. The Black Album is a spectacular farewell if that's what it turns out to be.
  12. Impresses on the same level as the best of his career.
  13. The Black Album turns out to be... a surprisingly meticulously constructed coda to Jay-Z's extensive and prosperous career.
  14. While it probably won't be remembered as his best album, The Black Album is his most personal to date and features some of his most compelling writing.
  15. 80
    This is Jay-Z's suicide note and his glowing eulogy rolled into one. [Jan 2004, p.106]
  16. It's essentially The Blueprint 3.0.
  17. 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.
  18. For all the dark wordplay, the album is an aural equivalent of that old American favourite, the schmaltzy biopic.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 146 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 55
  2. Negative: 2 out of 55
  1. Aug 22, 2011
    10
    This album is amazing. This is still my favorite rap album to date and is one of the best I've ever heard. Jay Z was trying to retire with aThis album is amazing. This is still my favorite rap album to date and is one of the best I've ever heard. Jay Z was trying to retire with a bang and he did just that. This is Jay Z's best album. The production was amazing, the lyrics were on point and we heard every jay Z. Classic and new. Full Review »
  2. Apr 24, 2015
    10
    With great writing, domination on the mic and Timbo's awesome beats, The black album deserves a spot on Jay's top 3 best albums, along withWith great writing, domination on the mic and Timbo's awesome beats, The black album deserves a spot on Jay's top 3 best albums, along with The blueprint and Reasonable doubt. Full Review »
  3. Mar 22, 2015
    8
    8.5/10................................................................................................................................................