Customer Reviews: The Black Album
Automotive Deals HPCC Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it Look Park Fire TV Stick Sun Care Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Segway miniPro

Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$10.58+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on November 18, 2003
In 1996, Jay-Z came into the rap game with his undoubted classic debut album Reasonable Doubt. Since RD, he has sold over 20 million albums in the U.S, not counting other countries sales of his 10-12 albums. In 2001, he came the closest he ever had come to matching the quality of RD with his classic The Blueprint, unfortunately, the album that follow The Blueprint was a very weak effort littered with way too many guest appearences, that album was The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse. Now, in 2003, Jay-Z has claimed he is hanging up his mic after this last album to work on other projects including working with new artists on the Roc-A-Fella record label, such as Young Gunz, Freeway, Kanye West, etc.
My initial thought was that there was no way Jay-Z could retire so soon, but many rappers have claimed to hang up their mics and came straight back (Example: Ja Rule). I bought this record, The Black Album, on the day it was released on Friday, Nov. 14. Overall, the record cannot be called anything other than a masterpiece. Taking it back to the roots of RD and the first Blueprint, this is one of jigga's finest records. I feel like every track is amazing so they are all 5 stars in my perspective but here's a list of what things i would've liked better about The Black Album.
"December 4th" - A very dramatic track about Jay's childhood and growing up. Has commentary from his mother, Gloria Carter, during the song. Produced by Just Blaze, this is one of the more upbeat on the album. Features the line "maybe you'll love me when i fade into black".
"What More Can I Say" - A track mainly talking about Jay's haters, people who have slept on him, all of that. Has some really brilliant wording in it as well as a great beat.
"Encore" - Absolutely brilliant. This is a laid-back sort of track that is amazing, definitely give this one a try. Displays Hova's ability to make up some of the best lyrics in hip-hop.
"Change Clothes" - I'm not going to say i was at all disappointed in this track, but it seems its mediocre compared to the rest of the album. This was placed here mainly for the sake of a "pop" single to hype up the album but it doesn't work well. The Neptunes' do a sorry production job, making it sound consistant to their last Jay-Z effort "Excuse Me Miss". I would've left this out.
"Dirt Off Your Shoulder" - First off, AMAZING BEAT. This track has more lyrical gold with an incredible beat to back it up. Another track about Jay's life and what he's about, excellent.
"Threat" - Another great song, more of lyrical brilliance but with a more edgy sound to it. The annoying dude saying stuff throughout the song is its only weakness.
"Moment Of Clarity" - I have some major issues with this song. The beat sounds way too much like an Eminem/50 Cent type of beat and is very annoying to hear with Jay rapping on it. The lyrics are very well put together, espicially one lyric i think is true to all of jigga's fanbase "i dumb down for ya'll to double my dollars/you criticize me for it but ya'll still yell holla..."
"99 Problems" - This has to be my personal favorite on the disc. The rock beat from Rick Rubin is amazing! Everything about this track is completely brilliant. Jay raps about all his problems ("I got 99 problems and the b**ch ain't one") including trouble with the law, haters, etc.
"Public Service Announcement (Interlude)" - Not really a song but has a beat and stuff so its sorta like one. Very good beat, some hot lines to match it up as well.
"Justify My Thug" - Very personal track, but has a really hot beat on it so i like it anyway.
"Lucifer" - The production here is great, obviously Jay thinks so to ("You did it again, Kanye/you're a f****n' genius"). Lyrically brilliant, but i thought it was a little too short.
"Allure" - Not as hot as i would've liked it to be, but has some very good lyrical parts to it.
"My 1st Song" - The outro track, the one that defines the whole album, well, it defined it pretty damn good. Has a fitting beat with lyrical GOLD. Has a line from Notorious B.I.G at the beginning, which fits it very well. Basically, its short but to the point. The last minute or so is just Jay yelling out shout-outs like a typical outro-style track.
Overall, The Black Album suceeded my expectations. By using incredible producers and writing some of his best material, Jay-Z has formed an incredible ending to a story that will live on forever. There is no telling if Jay will stick with his plans, but all i know is that stepping out now will claim him as one of, if not the, hottest rappers to ever hit the mic.
11 comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 14, 2003
Jay-Z has constantly struck while the iron has been hot, year after year and not once failed in having his words reach millions. No matter where you're from, be it Malibu or Brooklyn, you've heard the God MC, Jay Hova. Now he decides that he wants to enjoy his money (millions), his fiance (Beyonce Knowles) and his legend (the timeless MC). There is speculation as to wether or not Jay-Z is the best Rapper alive. On his final release, "The Black Album", he puts forth a convincing argument. The first track, titled after his birthday, "December 4th" is narrated by his mother and tells the tale of a young Shawn Carter growing up amongst divorce, poverty and drugs. "What More Can I Say" is basically Jigga throwing in the towel, because what more is he to do? Rap forever and convince us he's still the best year after year? "Encore" is the big farewell track, he beckons fans to chant his name once more as he comes out for a victory lap. "Change Clothes", the debut single, is the albums worst song but that's saying alot because it's still melodic and smooth. "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" is a slick portrayal of dealing with rumors and beef as a young teen. "Threat" is a track telling people that Jay-Z is no joke, and he'll be there when you decide it's time to stab your boy in the back. "Moment of Clarity", the albums most honest song, Jay confesses to alot of his innermost feelings and emotions. "99 Problems" is the tale of a hustler without time for a woman to get into his business due to all the other tribulations in life. The album then ends with tracks about loyalty ("Justify My Thug"), temptations ("Lucifer") and the riches that turn good people bad ("Allure") - Then the last song ever, is ironically entitled "My 1st Song" and it shows that Hov never changed, always stayed the same. Verdict: A must have. He did his first like his last, and made his last like his first. Classic status. IT'S YER BOY!
0Comment| 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 25, 2004
While I wouldn't call The Black Album the greatest album ever, Jay-Z did make a pretty good comeback with it. But then, that's not really saying much after that lackluster and rushed Blueprint 2 album (and the lazy spin-off The Blueprint 2.1). This album has its standouts like "Dirt Off Your Shoulder", "Encore", and "99 Problems". There are also some good storytelling tracks, as usual, to be found, like "Allure" and the autobiographical "December 4th".
We all know that Jay wants this to be his last album, which probably explains why he enlisted a wide host of producers on here, from the Neptunes to Rick Rubin to Eminem, to the usual Roc producers Just Blaze and Kanye West. And that probably also explains why he's giving a lot of shout-outs at the end of the last track, "My 1st Song". (It seems like he was doing the opposite on "What More Can I Say", with all the name-dropping.)
This album is overall solid, yet it's not without its problems. Other than the shout-outs, I really wasn't feeling "My 1st Song", nor the cheesy "Justify My Thug". "Moment of Clarity" is pretty good, but I agree with the people that said it sounds too much like "Lose Yourself" (well, Em produced it). And "Change Clothes" is okay, but I think I liked it better when it was called "Excuse Me Miss".
Oh well, looking at the reviews, it appears that everyone has a different opinion of which song(s) should have been left behind. I'm not sure yet if I believe that he's really retiring, but at any rate, add The Black Album to your Jay-Z collection.
Anthony Rupert
0Comment| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 30, 2003
This was a nice way for Sean Carter aka Jay - Z to leave the rap game. We will surely miss him for there is not one person alive right now who can take his place. 2003 was one of the worst years for rap because of 50 cent. Only 2 albums saved the year. The Black Album and Speakkerboxx/ The Love Below. Now back to the album. Bangin beats by Just Blaze, Rick Rubin, Eminem, Kayne West, Timbaland, ect. The lyrics are his best ever including Reasonable Doubt. This is his most personal album and has only one commercial song. The leading single Change Clothes. This song has a very catchy chourus even if its not very interesting. How interesting can a song be that is about clothes? He are the ratings for the songs.
1. Intro: Nice way to introuduce the Black Album. Says this is his last album. I do not believe him and think he will be back in matter of time. He won't be able to resist.
2. December 4th: That is of course his birthday. Jay shows how personal he is going to be on this album with this song going into chilhood struggles and tellinga nice story. It features a woman (supposed to be his mother I don't know if it is her or not) she is very good in the chorus explaing what Sean's life was like and how he was a special child. Also a incredible beat by Kayne West. The best song on the album. 11/10
3. What More Can I Say: Great sample in the beginning but I find the beat to get annoying after awhile. This is a shot at all of his haters. The lyrics are very good and keep you listening even with the annoying beat. 8/10
4. Encore: This shows that Jay is very cocky and he has a reason to be. Very good song. Annoyed me at first but it grew on me and now I love it. Amazing beat, lyrics, and flow. Great track. 10/10
5. Change Clothes: The only commercial song on the album. The neptunes produced it. You can read about it in the first paragraph. 8/10
6. Dirt Off My Shoulder: I do not like this song at all. Timbalands beat is good but Jay is just horrible on this track. Don't listen to it unless you like annoying horrible songs. 4/10
7. Threat: Man, I love this song. I love the beat and the lyrics. The lyrics are just amazing and the rhymes might be best on the album. Real Gem. 10/10
8. Moment Of Clarity: Eminem produces it and hits the jackpot. The same mysterious beats that he always does is perfect for this song. In this song Jay forgives his father for no being there for him in his childhood. 9/10
9. 99 Problems: Great beat by Rick Rubin. Sort of a rock/rap combo that works very well. Better than Eminem's Sing For The Moment. Nice track. 9/10
10. PSA: Good beat but just a interlude. Kind of pointless because of the length. 7/10
11. Justify My Thug: This has to be the worst Jay - Z song of all time. Horrible beat, annoying chorus, horrible lyrics, all add up to a horrible song. Beware of this song. Don't listen to it. 0/10
12. Lucifer: Very good song about the streets with a good chorus and beat. Jay's flow is very nice on this song. 9/10
13. Allure: Not feeling this song at all. Pretty good beat but I just don't like it very much. 5/10
14. My First Song: Great way to go out. A very good ending song concluding his carreer with incredible lyrics and a good beat. 9/10
This really would have been his best album if he took out those bad tracks and added decent ones. But still this his 3rd best behind Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt. The best album of the year. Go pick this one up.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 28, 2016
Just a heads up that the vinyl is a double LP. The description indicates that it is a single "disc" which obviously applies to the CD.

Nothing to add about this album. It's great. Packaging was also superb and the sounds is awesome.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 9, 2008
I have to admit when I first heard this album I was blown away. I still have my same copy with the black disc. I will say that this album is a more commercial version of Reasonable Doubt. Even though it has a more commercial feel to it, its still an excellent album. This was slated to be Jay-Z's last album so I guess he wanted to go out with a bang and The Black Album does just that. It's similar to Reasonable Doubt in that he has some very personal songs on it like December 4th (great song) and Lucifer (a personal favorite of mine). However, it still shows Jay-Z's evolution as a more mainstream rap artist. This could be good or bad depending on what type of hip hop fan you are. Personally, I don't really care for commercial rap artists but I make an exception for Jay-Z. I really didn't know what to expect when I got this album because by the time it came out, Jay-Z had drifted so far from his original sound. It's also similar to Reasonable Doubt in that it is consistent. I didn't need to skip any tracks. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that Reasonable Doubt was going to be his only "great" album. The rest were hit and miss with a few nice tracks here and there but not classic material. Another good album by Jay-Z was the Blueprint but The Black Album surpasses that one. Yes I said it, The Black Album is better than The Blueprint. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Blueprint too but if you're really honest with yourself you will agree with me. If not we just have to agree to disagree. Either way, The Black Album is the commercial counterpart to the classic Reasonable Doubt and it's worth owning. In my opinion, he should have ended it with this album. The only thee albums necessary to own by Jay-Z are this one, Blueprint and his best album, Reasonable Doubt. The rest were just so so. All in all, The Black Album is not quite a 5 star album (a la Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt and Ready To Die) but it definitely shouldn't get any less than 4 stars. Peace.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 24, 2004
I only got Jay-Z's last album a little while ago, and i've listened to the whole thing a few times. I never bought another one of his albums, and i only bought this one because i LOVE 99 problems, which might be the most fresh and innovative rap song to surface in a long time (rick rubin never lost it; check out his johnny cash albums if you don't believe me). I was actually really impressed by the album, and because i had a predisposition towards hating any rap i heard on MTV (mainly because of talent-challenged superstars like fifty cent and chingy), i was surprised by the perspiacity of some of Jay-Z's lyrics. What i would normally take as unabashed egomania in his lyrics is actually just an accurate series of observations on what his impact on the rap world is. He HAS had a huge effect on rappers everywhere, many of whom are still caught in teh old rap tradition of flaunting how much they have and how much women love them. Not to say Jay-z doesn't do this, but it's punctuated by moments of sheer outside-the-box genius, like in 99 problems, Lucifer and what more can i say. The song Encore is also particularly good (not to mention a very succesful marriage between old school basic rap beats and modern board work courtesy of Kanye west, no rap slouch himself), but a few weak ones are also there. The Eminem-produced Moment of Clarity is not very good at all, Change Clothes is just iritating and December 4th is a self-indulgent rant about how great he is, which, as ever, kind of bothers me. But all of teh otehr songs are good, but i have one problem with it. One would think, that if he were making a swan-song album, he would try a little harder to make a truly great album. It's good, but not great.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 29, 2012
I wanted the album along time ago and couldn't afford it then. It was a great price when I finally bought it. Not a big rap fan, more of a R&B fan, but I like his grown up decisions. In other words, being able to separate a business life and a personal with grace.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 14, 2012
This was supposed to be Jay's last album and he would of left on a good note but came back two yrs later. Now onto the album, I think its dope and was put together well. On "December 4th" Jay tells us his life story with his Mother talking after each verse, which was a great idea. You have the radio friendly tracks "Change Clothes and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" which were produced by The Neptunes and Timbaland. Jay spits the now famous line "I got the baddest chick in the game wearing my chain" in the "Psa" Interlude and I can't forget about "Encore" produced by Kanye which is another sick track. Now what I don't like about this album is Jay's line on "Moment Of Clarity" where he spits "I dumb down for my audience and double my dollars" which is basically a slap in the face to his fans by saying your not smart enough to understand what I'm talking about so I'ma make it more simple and sellout to the pop crowd. Another misfire on here is "Justify My Thug" where Jay tries to cater to the West Coast and fails. Its one of his best albums to date. 4.5/5
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 13, 2004
"Reasonable Doubt"
"In My Lifetime: Volume 1"
"Volume 2: Hard Knock Life"
"Volume 3: The Life & Times Of Shawn Carter"
"The Dynasty: Roc La Familia"
"The Blueprint"
"MTV Unplugged"
"The Best Of Both Worlds"
"The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse"
"The Black Album"
If you honestly take a good listen and a hard look at all of these CDs by Jay Z, the only two that you can say that may have not been up to par were "In My Lifetime: Volume 1" and "The Best Of Both Worlds". On "In My Lifetime: Volume 1", The Notorious BIG was shot and killed and you could tell that Jay Z wasn't entirely himself on this CD. However, "Where I'm From", "Streets Is Watching" and "Imaginary Player" are well known Jay Z classics. "The Best Of Both Worlds" sounded like a whole CD of Fiesta Remixes and should not have been released in the winter, of all times to release a CD with so many summer cookout themes attached to them.
If I personally tried to tell you all of my favorite Jay Z songs and collaborations you would be bored by having to read 15 minutes worth of songs, so I'll let this review stick to "The Black Album". The intro doesn't make too much sense to me but nearly everyone puts an unnecessary intro on their CD. Just Blaze and Jay Z get things off to a good start with "December 4th". Gloria Carter gives us a narrative of the early events into the life and times of Shawn Carter. "The Black Album" should have started with this song instead of an intro. Jay Z blesses us with the best song on this CD by Track 3, in my opinion. "What More Can I Say" summarizes why Jay Z wants to put the microphone down at this time. ...And no he is not dissin' 50 Cent & Busta Rhymes. Jay Z is basically saying that the way he started rhyming was not the same rhyme style of those 2 particular artists. The 1st single "Change Clothes" took a little while to grow on me. This song is basically "Frontin' Part 2". However, once I heard the song a couple of times, I listen to the track in its entirety now instead of fast forwarding. The same can be said about his 2nd single, "Encore". Kanye West blesses the track something lovely but it seems that there is too much going on in the track. I kept listening to the song and now that no longer gets a fast forward either. The best beat on this CD goes to Timbaland's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder", in my opinion. Timbaland always blesses Jay Z with hot tracks such as "Big Pimpin'", "Hey Papi", "It's Hot" and "Hola Hovito". Jay Z brings the lyrics and you have what should be the 3rd single if Jay Z does release another single. "Threat" is produced by 9th Wonder and the song cleverly uses R Kelly's "A Woman's Threat" track. Eminem is back on the baords again as he produces "Moment Of Clarity". Eminem produced Blueprint 1's "Renagade" and also rapped on the track. Jay Z takes this opportunity to touch on issues such as things that went on between his father, his rhyme style, and his friends in the rap game. On "99 Problems", Jay Z employs Rick Rubin to produce the track and the song sounds just like something Rick would have produced on The Beastie Boys' "Licensed To Ill" album. Jay Z has a little something for the haters and the cops on this one. The track was unexpected but if you liked anything from the "Licensed To Ill" album then you will like this track. On the "Interlude", Just Blaze is back again with another fire track and Jay Z gives two nice verses. "Lucifer" has Kanye West on the boards and is also one of the better beats on "The Black Album". "Allure" is the Neptunes' 2nd contribution and reminds me of "N.E.R.D.'s" Bobby James from their CD. "My 1st Song" ends Jay Z's last CD off on the right note as The Notorious BIG is talking as the track begins and Jay Z reminisces to things that happened early in his rap career. The only track that gets a fast forward is "Justify My Thug" as Jay Z uses the old Madonna song as a sample to be the chorus. Although DJ Quik does justice to the track and Jay Z has nice lyrics on the track, I think that's something that Jay Z should have just left alone.
Overall, if you are a fan of Jay Z's library of CDs then you should definitely pick up "The Black Album". This CD is one of the better rap CDs that are out now. Personally, I don't think Jay Z will retire. He will take a break, chill with Beyonce, get his businesses in order and by the Summer of 2005, I will expect to hear another summer banger produced by the Neptunes, Timbaland, Just Blaze or Kanye West.
James' Top 5
1) What More Can I Say
2) Dirt Off Your Shoulder
3) Allure
4) Lucifer
5) December 4th
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.