Want to feel old? The Jay Z classic, The Black Album, was released 13 years ago to this day. It seemed like just yesterday I was bumping a LimeWire downloaded copy while dominating NBA Street Vol. 2 on my PS2. Where does the time go?
The Black Album was released on November 14, 2003, and it was both critically acclaimed and immensely popular. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, and it was ranked number 349 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all-time. The Black Album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and it sold 463,000 copies in its first week. The album would go on to sell over three million copies, going platinum three times.
The Black Album was famously supposed to be Jay Z’s last album, but thankfully, that retirement didn’t last very long. Jay made his comeback in 2006, and while he’s put out a ton of quality music since then, I don’t think he’s had a body of work that’s been anywhere near The Black Album.
To celebrate the album’s 13th anniversary, watch Jay hear Timbaland’s beat for “Dirt off Your Shoulder” for the first time.
And because everyone likes to argue about rankings, here’s my top five songs from The Black Album in reverse, TRL-style order. Via Spotify: