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. 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.
  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. 90
    It's monumental because it's a culmination of Jigga's natural thoughtfulness delivered with transcendent skill. [Jan 2004, p.120]
  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. The Black Album's bling-bang reportage mostly rings redundant. [28 Nov 2003, p.121]
  8. A streamlined effort that's stylish, cool and has a sense of finality.
  9. The Black Album is a spectacular farewell if that's what it turns out to be.
  10. 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.
  11. 80
    This is Jay-Z's suicide note and his glowing eulogy rolled into one. [Jan 2004, p.106]
  12. Impresses on the same level as the best of his career.
  13. Excellent, although not quite the epoch-defining triumph its hype suggested it might be. [Jan 2004, p.108]
  14. 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.
  15. The Black Album turns out to be... a surprisingly meticulously constructed coda to Jay-Z's extensive and prosperous career.
  16. It's essentially The Blueprint 3.0.
  17. 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.
  18. For all the dark wordplay, the album is an aural equivalent of that old American favourite, the schmaltzy biopic.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 138 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 53
  2. Negative: 2 out of 53
  1. Aug 22, 2011
    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 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. Sep 11, 2013
    Once again, Jay-Z showed us that he's one of the greatest rappers alive. After "Reasonable Doubt" and "The Blueprint", comes a stunning album called "The Black Album". We seen him ruling the charts with "Dirt
    Off Your Shoulder" and "99 Problems" but you will see way much amazing songs in this masterpiece.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 27, 2013
    Jay-Z's career wasn't in its early years anymore by the time this album was released, but nevertheless, his flow sounded fresher than ever on this legendary 2003 CD. Carter's music was very unsteady in the seven years and on the seven albums before this one and even if he proved to be a very talented rapper on some parts of his earlier albums, the average product was mostly forgettable (his debut, Reasonable Doubt, and 2001's The Blueprint were exemptions). And admittedly, if he had announced his retirement from hip hop on The Blueprint 2, I wouldn't have cared a lot. But leaving the game with this album was something entirely different. The Black Album includes 13 songs on which Carter is actually rapping and, no kidding, everyone of them is great. They are pun-heavy, perfectly flowed, catchy, and underlayed with fantastic beats. And above all: the songs have a real meaning, which is something that isn't necessary for this genre, but undoubtedly makes every song better. In short, Jay-Z combines everything good about his music on one album. Full Review »