User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 138 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 138

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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. 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 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
  3. 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 of the all time greatest emcees. Expand
  4. 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.
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.