The Black Album

  • 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. Impresses on the same level as the best of his career.
  2. The Black Album turns out to be... a surprisingly meticulously constructed coda to Jay-Z's extensive and prosperous career.
  3. 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.
  4. Q Magazine
    80
    Excellent, although not quite the epoch-defining triumph its hype suggested it might be. [Jan 2004, p.108]
  5. Mojo
    100
    A magnificent record. [Jan 2004, p.104]
  6. 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.
  7. For all the dark wordplay, the album is an aural equivalent of that old American favourite, the schmaltzy biopic.
  8. It's essentially The Blueprint 3.0.
  9. Entertainment Weekly
    83
    The Black Album's bling-bang reportage mostly rings redundant. [28 Nov 2003, p.121]
  10. Blender
    80
    This is Jay-Z's suicide note and his glowing eulogy rolled into one. [Jan 2004, p.106]
  11. The Black Album stands up alongside Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint as Z's most ambitious work.
  12. 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.
  13. A streamlined effort that's stylish, cool and has a sense of finality.
  14. 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).
  15. The Black Album is a spectacular farewell if that's what it turns out to be.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Vibe
    90
    It's monumental because it's a culmination of Jigga's natural thoughtfulness delivered with transcendent skill. [Jan 2004, p.120]
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 186 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 58
  2. Negative: 2 out of 58
  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. Aug 2, 2016
    8
    Jay Z's masterpiece and arguably the best hip hop album of the first decade of the 21st century. Mixing razor sharp lyrics with an armory ofJay Z's masterpiece and arguably the best hip hop album of the first decade of the 21st century. Mixing razor sharp lyrics with an armory of top class tunes to back things up, this is one of those records that transcends genres and I would think has an appeal to music lovers in general, regardless of preference. While hip hop can sometimes date badly due to either production or lyrical content too focused on the immediate present, pretty much all of The Black Album sounds fresh and vibrant today. "Dirt Off Your Shoulder", "Moment of Clarity" and "Lucifer" are all instant classics of the genre. Then of course we have the culturally and hugely socially significant track "99 Problems". While we're on this particular track, check out Danger Mouse's remix with The Beatles "Helter Skelter" - equally as good as either of the original songs. Brave and brilliant, pushing the boundaries while being universally appealing, I've yet to come across a better or more enjoyable album from this genre. Full Review »
  3. Feb 17, 2016
    9
    This is a good albumThis is a good album ꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸꠸ Full Review »