Photo Courtesy of Instagram/@KodakLens

Jay-Z is arguably the greatest rapper of all time. Today, marks his 49th birthday, on December 4th a GOAT was born. He has been giving a million dollars worth of game for $9.99 these past 23 years. So we decided to rank his top 5 albums.


1. Reasonable Doubt, is Jay-Z first album and some would argue it is his best albums. Reasonable Doubt debuted at number 23 on the US Billboard 200, on which it charted for 18 weeks. It was promoted with four singles; including “Ain’t No Nigga” and “Can’t Knock the Hustle”. Reasonable Doubt was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and,as of 2006, has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States. A critical success, it has been ranked on several publications’ lists of the greatest rap albums ever but also Jay-Z lowest selling album.

2. 4:44, is definition of a million dollars worth of game for $9.99. You can gain and learn something from all ten tracks. The intro Hov starts off by killing his ego leaving him vulnerable for most of the album. That song leads into The Story of O.J. which he talks about bad and good investments and letting black people know to never abandon the culture. On SMILE he talks about his mother coming out to him and the importance of ownership. Family Feuds was also a touching song on this project. He gets very lyrical on on tracks like Marcy Me. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making it Jay-Z’s 13th consecutive studio album to top the chart, and 14th overall. It also went platinum in less than week.

3. Black Album, Jay-Z had announced that The Black Album would be his final record and went on a retirement tour after its release. When it was released, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 463,000 copies in its first week. According to Billboard, it became Jay-Z’s top selling record of the 2000s and the 136th highest selling record of the decade in the United States. By July 2013, the album had sold 3,516,000 copies in the US.

Three singles were released from the album and appeared on the Billboard charts. “Change Clothes” and “Dirt off Your Shoulders” both reached the top 10 of the Hot 100, while “99 Problems” peaked at number 30.

4. Blueprint, At the time of the album’s recording, Jay-Z was awaiting two criminal trials, one for gun possession and another for assault, and had become one of hip hop’s most dissed artists, receiving insults from rappers such as Nas, Prodigy, and Jadakiss. The album is also famous for both its producers Kanye West and Just Blaze’s breakouts as major producers. Kanye West produced four of the thirteen tracks on the album, including the songs “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and the controversial “Takeover,” which included diss lyrics aimed at rappers Nas and Prodigy, while Just Blaze produced three tracks, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Song Cry”, and “U Don’t Know”, also including the hidden bonus track “Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)”.

The Blueprint received universal acclaim from music critics, with praise being directed at Jay-Z’s lyricism and the production. It is considered one of his best albums and has also been labeled as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Despite its release coinciding with the September 11 attacks, it sold over 427,000 copies in its opening week and debuted at number one in the US, holding the spot for three weeks. It was later certified double-platinum by the RIAA for selling two million copies.

5. American Gangster, The 5th was spot was a flip of a coin between American Gangster and Hard Knocks Life: Volume 2. The story telling and flow on the album is just out of this world. Volume 2 is Jay-Z highest selling albums with over 5 million copies sold but highest selling albums doesn’t mean it’s your best work.

American Gangster was released to commercial success, despite being pulled from the iTunes Store at Jay-Z’s request, at the time of its initial release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 425,861 copies in its first week, while tying Elvis Presley for the second most American number-one albums. American Gangster received widespread critical acclaim and was viewed by critics as a return to form for Jay-Z after the 2006 album Kingdom Come.


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