When you have a catalog of work as deep as Jay Z’s, there’s bound to be debate among rap fans. Everyone seems to have their favorite Hov album and it’s sparked plenty of back and forth over the years, from the barbershop to the comments section of your favorite blogs. But how can you argue when Jay himself ranks his own LPs?
Well, that’s exactly what the rapper did on Wednesday (December 4), which also happened to be his 44th birthday . Hov took to his Life + Times blog, where he ranked his 12 solo LPs in order, from classic to not-so-classic.
It should come as no surprise to die-hard fans that Jigga’s 1996 independent debut, Reasonable Doubt, took the #1 spot. His critically acclaimed 2001 effort, The Blueprint, came in at #2, and his supposed 2004 retirement LP, The Black Album, ranked third, with Jay labeling each one a classic in the blog entry.
Jigga also counted his top-selling Vol.2 … Hard Knock Life a classic, placing it at #4 on his list. His American Gangster album came next — “4 ½, cohesive,” he wrote in parentheses.
For his sixth favorite, Jay selected his most recent, Magna Carta … Holy Grail, while placing his sophomore LP, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, at #7. Jay has said on many occasions that Vol. 1 was spoiled by a song or two. “Sunshine kills this album … f—,” he wrote on the blog post, referencing the Babyface-assisted pop-heavy single from 1997. The Blueprint 3 took #8. “Sorry critics, it’s good,” he defended.
Next up for the God MC was 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album, which was released to help showcase former Roc-A-Fella artists Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Amil and Freeway. At #10 is Vol. 3 … Life and Times of S. Carter, followed by his double album The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse. Hov doesn’t fully own up to his transgressions on the double CD, though, he hints in a side note that he may have been talked into recording some of the tracks by a few Roc-A-Fella cohorts. “Too many songs. F—ing Guru and Hip Hop, ha,” he wrote, jokingly placing the blame on his famed engineer and former A&R, respectively.
Most critics would agree that Jay Z’s 2006 comeback album, Kingdom Come, was his weakest effort. The sonically scattered LP came three years after he pump-faked his farewell to rap with The Black Album. “First game back, don’t shoot me,” he wrote, cleverly alluding to the album’s post-retirement rust.