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Jay Z Album Ranks (Best to Worst)
Inspired by the “Eminem Album Rank thread” let’s make a thread for 300 Million dollar man.
11 — The Dynasty
10 — The Blueprint 2
9 — The Blueprint 3
8 — Kingdom Come
7 — Vol 3…
6 — Vol 2…
5 — American Gangster
4 — In My Lifetime, Vol 1.
3 The Black Album
2 Reasonable Doubt
1 The Blueprint
The Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt are very close for me but
1. The Blueprint
2. Reasonable Doubt
3. Black Album
4. Vol 2
5. Watch the Throne
6. American Gangster
7. Vol 3
8. vol 1
9. The dynasty
10. blueprint 3
11. kingdom come
12. Blueprint 2
Anyone who doesn’t have RD first and vol 3 last deserves to be slapped.
12 — The Dynasty
11 — The Blueprint 2
10 — Kingdom Come
9 — Vol 1
8 Watch The Throne
7 — Vol 2…
6 — The Blueprint 3
5 — Vol 3…
4 — American Gangster
3 The Black Album
2 The Blueprint
1 Reasonable Doubt
I haven’t heard the Dynasty album yet, but I heard a lot of good things about it, like DJ Premier saying it was a classic that he still plays. Seems like everyone has that album in the bottom 5.
How different everyone’s opinions about this are just speaks to how deep & impressive Hov’s discography is.
- The black album(more cohesive and i loved allure)
- The Blueprint(need I say more)
- Reasonable Doubt(amazing hustler story)
- American Gangster(jay’s storytelling and flow were off the charts on this album)
- vol 1 (very underrated album because reasonable doubt was before it but jay was very clever on it)
- BP2( not nearly as bad as people make it out to be a few hit songs on it)
- Vol 2( ehhhhhh coulda been better but still good)
- Vol 3( for some reason i could not get into it)
- BP3(not the best of the blueprint but very solid)
- Kingdom Come( ehhhhh)
- Dynasty(no comment)
I only liked Black Album, Reasonable Doubt, and The Blueprint. Everything else was good to mediocre for me.
I agree with @Suburbanprincess93.
In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 is an underrated album. He had some really hot tracks on that album. But he also had some bad songs on that.
- Reasonable Doubt
- Black Album
- Vol 1
Don’t care about the rest tbh.
Man everyone has been feeling Blueprint calling it possibly Jay Z best album. I actually didn’t like the blueprint when i heard it, i dunno maybe it’s just my taste, however i loved Reasonable Doubt, and even In my lifetime. Reasonable doubt Is in my top 5 greatest classic Albums
Reasonable doubt is Jay-z’s crown jewel, his masterpiece album. It’s ridiculous to argue that Reasonable Doubt isn’t one of hip-hop’s greatest classics, and almost impossible to overstate the importance of the album, or its influence. The jazzy and sophisticated production, and Jay’s impeccable delivery and lyricism combine to make this Jay’s best album, and one of hip-hop’s best albums. Indeed, this is one of the only albums ever held in the same regard as Illmatic, which is quite fitting, considering its status as a debut album, and the lyricism rampant throughout the album.
Reasonable Doubt has a track for almost anyone’s musical palate, bringing us tracks such as the incredible B.I.G feature, [[Jay-Z “Brooklyn’s Finest”]], straight-up banger Can’t Knock the Hustle (Remix), flawless pattern rhyming in Opportunity Knocks, and one of hip-hop’s classic songs, Nas sample Dead Presidents.
It’s very hard to have worse timing that Jay-Z did with his release of The Blueprint. With a release date of September 11, 2001, TBP coincided with one of the most tragic events in recent history. Taking this into account, it is incredible that the album was the commercial success it was. With rave reviews, and a double-platinum sales number, The Blueprint was one of the most critically successful hip-hop albums of all time. With such depth in production, it is seen by many as the most well-produced of Jay’s albums, and one of hip-hop’s only modern masterpieces, and a classic for years to come.
The Blueprint brought us some of Jay’s most popular songs, and showed his emotional depth, with emotionally moving songs like Song Cry and Never Change, while still managing to drop triumphant overtures like U Don’t Know, incredible features in Renegade, and a scathing diss on superstar Nas, Takeover, seen by many as one of popular rap’s ultimate disses.
The Black Album
Many people see The Black Album as being Jay’s best album, and it’s hard to disagree. Jay brings the heat on every track, and displays his lyricism, consciousness and depth on every track. He promised for The Black Album to be his last, and it is everything a finale should be, triumphant, but sad. Jay sets this mood the whole album, making for one of his most thematically consistent albums. The Black Album is also one of Jay’s most musically flawless albums, making it almost impossible to call any of the tracks weak, stacking the album 14-deep with tracks that would make any MC envious.
With said lyrical consistency, it’s almost impossible to pick out the ‘best’ tracks off the album, with almost every track at a heroic level. Defiant 99 Problems is one of his most famous tracks, it was almost impossible to escape the presence of Encore, and Jay released arguably his best song to date, the scathing 2:55 that is Public Service Announcement. He completes the album with emotional Moment of Clarity and December 4th, and perfectly illustrates the end of his career with haunting What More Can I Say
Easily one of Jay’s most underrated albums, American Gangster is often overlooked as just another part of Jay’s immense discography. However, in reality, American Gangster was actually an incredibly critically acclaimed concept album, named after the Denzel Washington movie of the same name. Laced with Mafioso themes and imagery, Jay-z paints a picture about the life of crime, and delves into the persona and mindset of a criminal. The dark, melancholy tone of the album spawned a fair amount of creative production, that went surprisingly well with both Jay’s execution, and the grim subject matter.
This album brought severely underlooked gems like Blue Magic, incredibly triumphant anthems like Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)…, and great collabs with teammate Beanie Seigel in Ignorant Shit, along with a surprising collab with former enemy Nas, Success.
Hard Knock Life, Vol. 2
Hard-Knock life was basically the start of Jay’s career. Although he had a much-more dense album in Reasonable Doubt, this was much more popular, shown by the sheer amount of sales. The production included several top-notch beats, with flow and passion that had never been seen before from Jay. Hard Knock Life perfectly blended popular likability with tales of the street and classic Jay-Z consciousness, and ended up being one of the best ‘popular’ rap albums of all time.
Hard Knock ended up being on both sides of the spectrum track-wise, with well-known jams like classic Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) and massive cut Reservoir Dogs, juxtaposed with mostly-unknown bangers like Nigga What Nigga Who and Ride or Die.
In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
Although not many people see Vol. 1 as being one of Jay’s most important works, it’s a great piece of work nonetheless. This is the follow-up to Reasonable Doubt, so Jay was expected to release another incredible piece, and the unreasonable expectations may have degraded the album’s success. However, this doesn’t degrade from the fact that at points in the album, Jay returns to his Reasonable Doubt form, as on as he ever had been, triumphant and effective as he had ever been.
Hard tracks like Streets Is Watching, Imaginary Player, and Where I’m From were all throwbacks to his Reasonable Doubt form, showing that his skill on the debut wasn’t just fluke, and foreshadowing towards the incredible works to come.
The Blueprint 2
It is widely regarded that this was one of Jay’s weakest and most watered down albums. However, for a double album, Jay provided a valiant effort. Considering he dropped an astonishing 25 tracks, with a large handful of unforgettable songs, it’s easy to forgive him for the ever-present gaffes throughout the album. Altogether, this album has a great deal of potential, and would have scored a lot higher as a single album.
As stated before, Jay laid out some of his best tracks on The Blueprint 2, be it the incredible rock banger Guns & Roses, the killer Hovi Baby and restless club banger Excuse Me Miss, and the amount of good tracks buried in the album is lost on many of even Jay’s most dedicated fans.
Watch the Throne
Jay and Kanye have some of the most off-the-hook lyrical chemistry in recent times. Easily the most-anticipated album of 2011, Watch the Throne flew off store shelves everywhere, dominating the radio with several of its singles. Jay and Kanye had almost unreal chemistry together, switching verses on every song, and feeding off each other’s energy. Although Jay seemed to sit back and let ‘Ye take the spotlight on many of the tracks, it is obvious that Jay still displays a lot of skill throughout the album, still conquering his fair share of tracks, almost overcomingly at points.
Although WTT needs no introduction, Jay-Z released an incredible sentimental verse in Made in America, great back-and-fourth banter over a smooth dubstep beat on Watch Me, and goes hard as a motherfucker on… You guessed it… HAM
The Blueprint 3
Even as Jay’s 9th best effort, BP3 was still stellar at the least, dominating the radio with track after track. Jay rocked the pop-rap effort over and over on the album, introducing an entirely new style while still keeping elements of his older albums, coming to a great combination of both forms. This album garners a lot of respect from me for introducing a mainstream audience to one of rap’s greats, and presumably getting many non-traditional demographics to adapt rap.
No matter what anyone says, Jay’s most-played songs on the album seem to stay spectacular after repeated listenings on overzealous radio stations. Empire State of Mind and Rihanna-aided Run This Town seemed to be omnipresent on the radio, both with excellent musical composition, with the great song D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) condemning much of radio’s propensity to over-synthesise their music, and abolishing most hip-hop fans’ fear of Jay selling out.
The Life and Times of S. Carter Vol. 3
It is at this point at which Jay’s discography goes from great to good. Although the life and times had a few good moments, it was altogether predictable, as Jay brought nothing new to the table. In lieu of this, the album was okay, with some good production, and good flow from Jay, although lacking some of the primal passion Jay has exhibited so many times before.
Life and Times still had a few good songs, with love anthem Big Pimpin', one of the times’ most clever pieces, and Dope man was also a stand-out, as one of the only other songs on the album worthy of repeat time for me.
- Kingdom Come
I don’t have much to say about Kingdom Come, as I never really got into listening to it, even as a big Jay fan. Not many of the songs caught my attention throughout the first few plays, and it never ended up beckoning to me again. I’ve never seen any overly favourable reviews of the album, and it is almost always being denounced or put-down, so I have no reason to re-listen.
Although a weak album, Kingdom Come still came out with a few Characteristic Jay-Z songs, like his confession-themed Lost One and (misleadingly-titled) uber-deep Beach Chair.
You’re all way trippin with The Dynasty being Jigga’s worst album. It was the birth of the classic Blueprint stable of producers for Hov: Kanye, Just Blaze, Bink, as well as the first Neptunes production for him as well — they’re all bangers. I would go so far as to say it’s one of the better produced albums in Jigga’s catalogue (hence Premo’s love for it). Given it was a group album, some of the support players were a bit weak (Bleek and Amil especially), but I don’t hear people criticize Dipset for that.
I would say Best of Both Worlds II was the absolute worst from Jigga (just as much his album as Dynasty was).
Reasonable Doubt still the best though — mainly as Jay-Z was a beast on the mic, still hungry for the fame and the production was tighter than a Monacco GP hairpin.
I’d like to say, ‘Oppurtunity Knocks’ is supposed to read ‘22 Twos’, ‘Can’t Knock the Hustle (Remix)’ shouldn’t be the remix, and ‘Watch Me’ should be ‘Who Gon Stop me’.