• Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Nov 14, 2003
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 149 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 149

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  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 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.
  2. jayzero
    Mar 19, 2004
    7
    if 2pac was alive, jay-z wouldn't be shit right now...
  3. RodrigoR.
    Apr 9, 2008
    10
    Jay-Z's best album, one of the best albums ever made, it's real hip-hop, it's black music! 99 problems, dirt off your shoulder best songs from album!
  4. mikep
    Nov 8, 2004
    10
    another masterpiece by Jay.
  5. delshaine
    Jan 5, 2004
    8
    it's a great album though i felt he went on too long about him leaving ......like we aint missin him enuff already.
  6. Miguel
    Feb 3, 2004
    10
    Yo this CD is hot yall cant blame da dude 4 spitten his whole life in one album da boy doin big thangs and it f* up dat he retiring but its cool he left his mark
  7. CeCeT
    Mar 2, 2004
    9
    I got 99 problems but a Bi### ain't one. That song was on point. I was feeling that and the cd is hott...
  8. Kenneth(Tupac)Durrant
    May 27, 2004
    10
    Jay-Z worked so hard every year. People tried to compare him with B.I.G, you cannot compare the two no matter what people say Jay-Z is One of the best and Compare 2 none. Kenneth Durrant AKA Tupac
  9. PHATPCHIPI
    May 18, 2005
    8
    yo the beats destroyed the album and i expected a lot more than 14 tracks but the lyrics were off the hook i just hope he'll cme out of retirement and hit us with one more.
  10. datnigga20geezy
    Jan 30, 2004
    10
    Dude the best rapper ever, fuck the hatters they just mad a hustler made it, SLIM did it with this album, I love you big hommie. U definitley put yourself high on that pedestal n u got the right.U made it to the top hommie and the spot that u earned. THANKS.
  11. youngone
    Oct 3, 2004
    8
    jigga got soft take him back to resonable doubt time he rhymes changed around vol 3 more resonable doubt
  12. floydW
    Feb 17, 2004
    9
    Jay-z done good with his final album the black album,but i thought this being his last album he would make this the best one out of all of them.The black album isnt bad it just inst as good as Blueprint not bluprint 2 blueprint that is the best rap album released this century.The black album comes third behined beyoned resonable doubt.The black album is a classic like jay said it wold be Jay-z done good with his final album the black album,but i thought this being his last album he would make this the best one out of all of them.The black album isnt bad it just inst as good as Blueprint not bluprint 2 blueprint that is the best rap album released this century.The black album comes third behined beyoned resonable doubt.The black album is a classic like jay said it wold be and the out standing song for me is my first song.Jay is going out on a high and is the best of all time in my eyes Expand
  13. BabyTae
    Mar 10, 2004
    10
    This is the tightest album that has eva came out and whoeva think different fuck ya'll.
  14. deandreh
    Apr 18, 2004
    10
    jay-z is the best rapper alive, and the black album is one of his best. cant nobody touch him, even in his retirement
  15. evansk
    Apr 27, 2004
    10
    too damn hott I can't wait for the nex one. yeah, I said it.
  16. zack
    Aug 4, 2004
    10
    i like the cd the best
  17. BrannonM
    Apr 6, 2007
    8
    High Quality shit
  18. DanA
    Jun 24, 2007
    9
    A wonderful coup de grace for Jay'z "retirement." It really is a shame he went and made Kingdom Come. This would've finished the legacy off fine.
  19. CarlosP
    Nov 24, 2003
    8
    Not as good as Reasonable Doubt or the Blueprint but good enough to warrant a purchase. Probably Jay's third best album. With Volume 3 being the next.
  20. chrisc
    Dec 22, 2003
    10
    This album is so hot, people need to stop frontin on Jay. He is the best rapper in the game, period.
  21. **JayDee**
    Dec 25, 2003
    9
    This album really reveals Jay's life a little bit more to us. He got alot of things off his chest in this album and every track was above average in quality. I really enjoyed listening to the Black album and there is no doubt in my mind that Jay-Z is one of the best MC's to ever grace the hip-hop industry.
  22. Marvelous.
    Dec 30, 2003
    10
    hands down the best CD of 2003.The perfect album 2 go out on.
  23. timd
    Dec 8, 2003
    9
    It's a classic in context as well as in practice. Even the ho-hum "Change Clothes" and "Justify my Thug" are better than everything in mainstream hip hop (except Eminem, Outkast, Missy, and half of 50's album). It is excellent to think this may be the way he goes out. With this burst of creativity and focus we recognize one of the giants of popular music.
  24. [Anonymous]
    Dec 9, 2003
    10
    This truly is one of his greatest CDs to date. And just as usual, he didn't hold back any emotion or try to hide anything; it's laid all out in the open. This makes him one of the greatest artists of all time because he doesn't sugar coat anything, it's just him being real.
  25. makaveli
    Nov 8, 2004
    10
    Jay's pinpoint lyricism and crafty wordplay surpass that of any of his previous cd's. "Justify My Thug" and "Change Clothes..." keep it from ranking ahead of Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt, but even those are above average tracks.
  26. MichaelL
    Jan 9, 2004
    9
    Near-perfect...this is easily one the best albums of his career.
  27. JasonC
    Feb 16, 2004
    10
    Hands down best ever! Those who think its wack don't even listen carefully to the track. Hov is the realest shit there is. Thats why most people give it a good rating.
  28. kinghearts
    Mar 10, 2004
    10
    this is was so far the greatest
  29. kamleshp
    Apr 27, 2004
    10
    jay is shiva man!
  30. DaniG
    Jun 24, 2004
    10
    very best jigga album up to date! hope and pray it's not really his last one. hip hop needs Jay-Z.. "If you can't respect that, your whole perspective is whack"
  31. Gill
    Apr 21, 2007
    9
    Not his best album but still pretty damn amazing. Considering where he is in his career.
  32. asdfasdf
    Nov 19, 2003
    10
    just as good as reasonable doubt
  33. chrisr
    Dec 13, 2003
    10
    One of the hottest albums of the year. Proving he's the best rapper alive.
  34. DiDiS
    Dec 24, 2003
    10
    This cd is clearly the best jay-z has put out yet. This man is truely the greatest rapper of all time. Fire!! That's why he can't be stopped...
  35. **JayDee**
    Dec 25, 2003
    9
    This album really reveals Jay's life a little bit more to us. He got alot of things off his chest in this album and every track was above average in quality. I really enjoyed listening to the Black album and there is no doubt in my mind that Jay-Z is one of the best MC's to ever grace the hip-hop industry.
  36. LakishaW
    Dec 3, 2003
    10
    this album is the shiznit..wit some of the best producers..beats..wordplay..and things ppl were questioning about..he lets it all out in this album..and i think its the best album yet...
  37. HOVVA!
    Dec 31, 2003
    8
    i got 99 problems and a bitch ain't one!
  38. CJSanders
    Dec 8, 2003
    8
    2-3 all time greatest cuts are on this cd.
  39. howardj
    Dec 8, 2003
    10
    this shit is hot
  40. RobertC
    Feb 21, 2006
    9
    He goes through his whole career perfect send off
  41. Lucky
    Nov 7, 2007
    10
    This album is hot shit!
  42. asdfasdf
    Nov 19, 2003
    10
    just as good as reasonable doubt
  43. D_McNorris
    Dec 13, 2003
    10
    This is clearly the best Cd I have heard this year. Top notch from begining to end. Jay-Z's lyrics are amazing like always. The best song in the album is between My 1st Song and Threat. This is probaly his third best album from his career.
  44. KB
    Dec 18, 2003
    10
    I don't get much better. Reasonable Doubt is still tighter but lyrically and those beats are doin major things. A must have for any J fan!
  45. ADAML
    Dec 22, 2003
    9
    VERY GOOD
  46. May 12, 2011
    8
    not that bad. i liked more than 6 songs on this album. it was decent. it was commercial though. but it kept my attention. 8 out of 10 is about right.
  47. Jul 27, 2013
    9
    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 forgettableJay-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. Expand
  48. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    The Black album is Jay Z's 3rd best album. Plain & simple. It isn't a great as his debut "Reasonable Doubt" or his 2001 critically acclaimed "The Blueprint", but "The Black Album" is without a doubt a classic. Jay takes us on a trip down memory lane and takes us all the way to his retirement. With great production and Jay spitting some of his best stuff, this album cements Jay Z as one ofThe Black album is Jay Z's 3rd best album. Plain & simple. It isn't a great as his debut "Reasonable Doubt" or his 2001 critically acclaimed "The Blueprint", but "The Black Album" is without a doubt a classic. Jay takes us on a trip down memory lane and takes us all the way to his retirement. With great production and Jay spitting some of his best stuff, this album cements Jay Z as one of the all time greatest emcees. Expand
  49. Sep 11, 2013
    9
    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.
  50. Mar 22, 2015
    8
    8.5/10................................................................................................................................................
  51. 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 with The blueprint and Reasonable doubt.
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. 90
    It's monumental because it's a culmination of Jigga's natural thoughtfulness delivered with transcendent skill. [Jan 2004, p.120]
  2. 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.
  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.