Hova's ambitious plans for The Black Album involved a dozen producers serving up a dozen different tracks. Ultimately this proved a little too ambitious even for him, but the finished product did feature all the producers du jour — Timbaland, Just Blaze, Kanye West, the Neptunes, Eminem and even Rick Rubin.
Many consider The Blueprint to be his greatest album — after which even Jay-Z admits he "dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars" — but with an unrivalled list of heavyweights behind him, The Black Album was the more rounded, polished beast.
From the opening interlude — "All things must come to an end, all things must conclude" — to the final word, it's a gloriously epic, self-celebratory album. Even Ma Carter makes an appearance on December 4th, waxing lyrical about her "special child". Jay-Z might boast that he's the "best rapper alive", but few would disagree on the basis of the inventive rhymes and free flow that power the narrative.
Kanye West; w. Rob Mitchum] It's a little hard to take Jay's claims of retirement at face value when The Black Album 's first three songs all claim to be his last and this one makes reference to "when I come back like Jordan wearing the Kanye West whips up a soul revue backing band complete with melancholy trumpet line and miasma-happy backup singers "Hooo-woahhh-WOAHHH-ohvveee" for an imaginary mini-gig, while Jay contributes a very live-sounding performance.
A posse chants for the hook while an emcee encourages crowd participation and the band idles between verses two and three. Sure, it sounds gimmicky on paper, but if anyone can pull it off it's "rap's Grateful Dead" Keep on truckin', Jay.
Neptunes; w. Ryan Schreiber] The first single! And you know it's a hit already 'cause it's rocking the world's most reliable and expensive hip-hop production team. But no, and here's why not: The Neptunes, talented though they may be, have spread themselves a bit thin lately, coasting on Neptunes-by-numbers beats and Pharrell's by-now-goddamn-insidious falsetto. Timbaland; w. William Bowers] If you're old, you probably macked in a maroon Fiero ten years ago, listening to Timbaland "get sticky" with Jodeci.
If you're young, you could still spot him behind the curtain of this anthem's anti-syncopation and arcade-shogun keyboard coils. Don't be fooled by the title; the song is not a cave-in to Charlotte Beers the dandruff-shampoo ad-exec who was until recently Bush's Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs , but that doesn't stop it from being a commercial for itself and its brand.
Recapping the story of how Jay clambered from shooting birds at God while holding his testicles to being synonymous with overexposure, the song lives and dies by Timbaland's battering-ram beat and laser-tag riff. The chorus is about shedding a stigma, about the actualization of a capitalist dream, about legitimacy, about arrival-- for a guy ending his career, Jay's tone is suspiciously akin to pre-game smack.
Because I'm young, I acknowledge that he's larger than, er, life. Sam Chennault] I can't decide what's stranger: that Little Brother producer 9th Wonder contributed a track on Jay-Z's final album, or that he's flipping a sample of R. Nor should 9th's tendency to sound both hopelessly derivative and endlessly enjoyable; the track's rolling piano line and classic boom-bap breakbeat recall a smoother Primo, or a Pete Rock on autopilot.
As such, the tone of the track is more comical than maudlin, and Cedric the Entertainer's guest spot won't let you forget it. The song is a disappointment, unfortunately-- an easy concept lazily executed. There are a couple of decent lines e. Eminem; w. Man, you should have seen his rider, it was totally nuts!
But for his outrageous demands, he still hits it out of the park; the same can't be said for Em, whose shit is all just the same these days: You get your minor-chord, downtempo horror-esque piano sample a white boy copping a white boy-- where's Shadow's kickback on that shit? The only difference between this and his Blueprint track, "Renagade", is that his sound was slightly less tired two years ago. Jay, fortunately, delivers a determined verse about his father's death, and one for Beanie Sigel.
But saying he wants to "rhyme like Common Sense"? The album received widespread acclaim from music critics and was a massive commercial success.
It debuted at number one on the US Billboard , selling , copies in its first week. The Black Album was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic , which assigns a normalized rating out of to reviews from mainstream publications, it received an average score of 84, based on 19 reviews. Club , Nathan Rabin felt Jay-Z returned to "brevity and consistency" on an album that demonstrated his lyrical abilities and, more importantly, hip hop's best producers.
Some reviewers were less enthusiastic. The Black Album debuted at number one on the US Billboard chart, selling , copies in its first week, according to Nielsen Soundscan. Three singles were released from the album and appeared on the Billboard charts.
In December Roc-A-Fella Records released The Black Album on vinyl with no beats underneath Jay-Z's lyrics, spurring producers and DJs to rework his farewell disc into creations such as The Brown Album and even The Grey Album , by Los Angeles producer Danger Mouse , which combines Jay's words with music from the Beatles' self-titled album also known as the "White Album" , breaking with the Roc-A-Fella's tradition of not releasing acappella inches, so producers could "remix the hell out of it.
Several notable reworkings were released but of all the remixed albums, The Grey Album was the most popular. Participating websites posted copies of The Grey Album for free download for a hour period in protest of EMI's attempts to prevent distribution of the mashup on the grounds that sampling is fair use and that a statutory license should be provided in the same manner as if an artist were to perform or record a cover version of a song.
Hundreds of web sites publicized the event with hosting the album for download. Over , copies were downloaded on that day alone. Adapted from AllMusic. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Shawn Carter also exec.
Damon Dash exec. Kareem "Biggs" Burke exec. Carter Kanye West. Carter Pharrell Williams Chad Hugo. Carter Timothy Mosley. Carter Patrick Douthit Robert Kelly. Eminem Resto [a]. Aqua Joe "3H" Weinberger. New York Times, , p. Retrieved October 2, Entertainment Weekly. New York. Archived from the original on April 20, The Guardian. London : January