Jay Z – The Black Album

I’m back! I missed the last week I promised to post a #ThrowbackThursday due to being so busy with school, finals and life in general but we’re back in action.

As suggested by one of my Twitter followers, this week I’ll be sharing my first impressions on “The Black Album” by Jay Z. So, if you’re interested in knowing how I felt about this particular throwback, continue reading!

For starters, I think it’s important to make it known this isn’t the first Jay Z album I’ve listened to before. Besides “4:44,” which was released this past June, I’ve given “Kingdom Come” a listen and of course, his collaborative project with Kanye, “Watch the Throne.”

If there’s a Jay Z album I should absolutely listen to, plug me and I’ll maybe consider listening to it. However, based on what I’ve heard thus far from his discography, I’m not sold as a fan.

A few of the songs on this album were decent but I don’t see myself giving the album as a whole any replay.

What I disliked about this album was the lack of a concept or theme and direction. I felt the album was more so a playlist — that’s out of order and there wasn’t a message I took away from it.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the overall sound of the album. The beats were cool but for me I felt like a lot of the content and lyrics didn’t match the beats they were placed over. I feel if the beats were better selected, the message of the songs would be more powerful and effective.

For example, the beat selection for “December 4th” made the skits/spoken word corny for me and was distracting as hell.

However, there were some things I did like about the album.

First and foremost, “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” will always be iconic. I can’t help but think of that video of Jay face when Timb first showed him the beat. The production on that track is so crazy.

Then of course, I was already familiar with the second “Interlude” and I love the production on that joint as well. Not to mention, “Encore,” was also beautifully produced.

I was also already familiar with “Change Clothes,” with Pharrell, which has always been sort of corny to me but I can’t deny how much of a feel good track it is. On the other hand, “99 Problems” I’ve always hated. Don’t ask me why.

Yet, considering this was my first time listening to this album, I did discover some new tracks I actually rock with. These tracks included “Threat” and “Lucifer.” These were the tracks that stood out to me the most.

Although I’m not a fan of Jay Z as an artist, I really love “Threat” because I feel it’s displays his lyrical ability the best out of all the other tracks on this album. Just some of the shit he said then with Cedric the Entertainer bringing the Boondocks type of feel to it all and with 9thWonder on the beat, I just loved it.

I can’t explain exactly why I love “Lucifer,” but part of the reason is definitely the fact that Ye snapped on the production with the sample. I also really liked “My 1st Song,” because of the production and the ever-so-often voice pitch changes he would do. I don’t know, it was entertaining.

The crowd-chanting intro and a cappella moment towards the end of “What More Can I Say” was also a memorable moment for me.

In conclusion, there was some solid moments during this album and a few tracks I weren’t already familiar with that I became a fan of. However overall, I wasn’t wowed. Maybe it’s just not meant for me to be a Jay Z fan, who knows, but I do respect him as an artist.

Obviously he did something right if he’s constantly brought up in conversations about hip-hop legends and New York folks love him. Not to mention Beyoncé, who’s an icon herself, is his spouse.

I will admit, this review isn’t as in depth as the first #ThrowbackThursday post, (or maybe it is and I just think it’s not) but I do plan to do a track-by-track and more in depth analysis of future albums.

So, continue to send me suggestions for “classic” albums I should give a first-listen to and drop my thoughts on and on that note, I’ll see you all in 2018 for the next #ThrowbackThursday!

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