The Black Album
Label: Roc Nation / Jay-Z
Whereas Jigga's confessional raps have always been confined to the margins, the self-anointed God emcee pushes introspection to the forefront on The Black Album. "Allure" draws a parallel between drug addiction and the pull of hip-hop, while "Public Service Announcement" finds Jay-Z wrestling with the possibility of personal transformation, concluding, "You was who you was 'fore you got here/ only God can judge." Hits "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "99 Problems" are among the catchiest in Jigga's career, and "What More Can I Say" finds Hov dealing with his premature retirement.