The Black Album

The Black Album

by Jay-Z


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The Black Album

If The Black Album is Jay-Z's last, as he publicly stated it will be, it illustrates an artist going out in top form. For years Shawn Carter has been the best rapper and the most popular, a man who can strut the player lifestyle with one track and become the eloquent hip-hop everyman with the next, an artist for whom modesty is often a sin, and yet, one who still sounds sincere when he's discussing his humble origins or his recurring doubts. After the immediate classic The Blueprint found him at the peak of his powers, and Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse came as the most deflating sequel since Star Wars: Episode I, his follow-up (and possible siren song) impresses on the same level as the best of his career. As he has in the past, Jay-Z balances the boasting with extensive meditations on his life and his career. The back history begins with the first song, "December 4" (his birthday), on which Carter traces his life from birth day to present day, riding a mock fanfare and the heart-tugging strings of producer Just Blaze, along with frequent remembrances from his mother in This Is Your Life fashion. The other top track, "What More Can I Say," opens with Russell Crowe's defiant "Are you not entertained!?" speech from Gladiator, then finds Jay-Z capping his career with another proof that he's one of the best of all time, and a look into what made him that way: "God forgive me for my brash delivery, but I remember vividly what these streets did to me." He also goes out with a few words for underground fans who think he's sold too many records for his own good. On "Moment of Clarity," he lays it out with an excellent rhyme: "If skills sold, truth be told, I'd probably be lyrically Talib Kweli/Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense/But I did five mil, I ain't been rhyming like Common since." The first single, "Change Clothes," is much more interesting than the lightweight club hit it sounds like, a keyboard-heavy pop sequel to the Neptunes' "Frontin'" (the anthem that rocked the summer of 2003, and his last collaboration with professional beat-maker and amateurish falsetto Pharrell Williams). And he can rock with the best as well, working with Rick Rubin on a cowbell-heavy stormer named "99 Problems" that samples Billy Squier and outrocks Kid Rock. The only issue that's puzzling about The Black Album is why one of the best rappers needs to say goodbye -- unless, of course, he's simply afraid of being taken for granted and wants listeners to imagine a rap world without him. [The Black Album

Product Details

Release Date: 11/14/2003
Label: Def Jam
UPC: 0602498611197
catalogNumber: 000152902

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jay-Z   Primary Artist
Luis Resto   Keyboards
Sharlotte Gibson   Vocals
Kanye West   Vocals
Christopher Wallace   Vocals
Russell Crowe   Vocals
Leon Harris   Vocals
Vincent "Hum V" Bostic   Vocals
Cedric The Entertainer   Vocals
Danee Doty   Vocals
Keenan "Kee Note" Holloway   Bass
Don Crawley   Vocals
John Legend   Vocals

Technical Credits

Ingrid Chavez   Composer
Lenny Kravitz   Composer
Sharon Bryant   Marketing
R. Kelly   Composer
Roland Chambers   Composer
Madonna   Composer
DJ Quik   Producer
Kenny Gamble   Composer
Darryl McDaniels   Composer
Felix Pappalardi   Composer
Luis Resto   Composer,Producer
R. Rubin   Composer
Rick Rubin   Producer
Robert Sims   Art Direction
Andrew Scheps   Engineer
Timbaland   Producer
Joseph Weinberger   Producer
Pharrell Williams   Composer
Damon Dash   Executive Producer
Shawn Carter   Composer,Executive Producer
Eminem   Producer
Tim Mosley   Composer
Neptunes   Producer
Kanye West   Composer,Producer
Chad Hugo   Composer
Kareem "Biggs" Burke   Executive Producer
J. Smith   Producer
E. Powell   Composer
Gimel Keaton   Engineer
Marshall Mathers   Composer
J Smith   Composer
Demacio Castellon   Engineer
Jason Lader   Programming
Joseph Simmons   Composer
Lawrence Smith   Composer
Amber Noble   Marketing
9th Wonder   Producer
Aqua   Producer
Buchannans   Producer
Thomas Bell   Composer
David Brown   Engineer
Steve King   Composer,Engineer
Jamal Johnson   Composer
Andre Gonzalez   Composer
David Blake   Composer

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