Jay Z albums are some of the most important releases in all of hip-hop. He may not be the most exciting rapper, nor the most controversial one, but he's certainly one of the genre's most successful. Let's take a look at the cream of Jay-Z's crop. If you're a fan of hip-hop at all, you ought to get yourself familiar with these albums.
- "Reasonable Doubt" Jay Z's 1996 debut album was praised for its disarming honesty. It introduced the world to Jay Z, who would become one of the world's most popular rappers. Its lyrics chronicled street life in ways that had rarely been presented in music before.
- "The Blueprint" This Jay Z album was released on September 11, 2001, the same day as the famous 9/11 attacks. The album featured Kanye West as one of its producers, and this helped propel his career. One of its key singles is "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," which was produced by Kanye West and prominently samples the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back."
- "The Black Album" This Jay Z album included a lot of great guests appearances and producers. Eminem, for instance, produced "Moment of Clarity," while Rick Rubin produced the hit single "99 Problems." The latter song sampled both Mountain and Ice-T. Another track, "Lucifer," was produced by Kanye West and samples reggae artist Max Romeo.
"American Gangster" Released on November 6, 2007, this Jay Z album is a concept of sorts. It was inspired by the movie of the same name. Album guest artists include Lil Wayne and Beounce Knowles. Diddy produced the majority of it.
- "The Blueprint 3" "The Blueprint 3" is the third installment of "The Blueprint" trilogy. It includes some of Jay Z's best album work. There is "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune," which complains about the over-use of auto-tune, and "Empire State of Mind," which has become a new New York anthem of sorts.