Jay Z Albums

Last year, before he dropped the hyphen, I undertook the difficult task of ranking Jay-Z’s albums from best to worst. I had my opinions, and the comments section, by and large, did not agree with them. Neither, it turns out, did Jay. The superstar recently ranked his own albums on his Life + Times website, adding a bit of commentary to it. The results are mostly what you’d expect: Blueprint 3 too high, Vol. 3 too low, Reasonable Doubt right on top. But there’s comfort to be had in knowing that even Jay thinks Kingdom Come was pretty shitty. Below, check out the list, and, as a bonus, check out a remix of the Magna Carta Holy Grail track “Tom Ford” with a posthumous guest verse from the great Pimp C.

1. Reasonable Doubt (Classic)
2. The Blueprint (Classic)
3. The Black Album (Classic)
4. Vol. 2 (Classic)
5. American Gangster (4 1/2, cohesive)
6. Magna Carta (Fuckwit, Tom Ford, Oceans, Beach, On the Run, Grail)
7. Vol. 1 (Sunshine kills this album…fuck… Streets, Where I’m from, You Must Love Me…)
8. BP3 (Sorry critics, it’s good. Empire (Gave Frank a run for his money))
9. Dynasty (Intro alone…)
10. Vol. 3 (Pimp C verse alone… oh, So Ghetto)
11. BP2 (Too many songs. Fucking Guru and Hip Hop, ha)
12. Kingdom Come (First game back, don’t shoot me)

(via Life + Times)

(via In Flex We Trust)

Sadly, Jay’s limited himself to solo albums and kept the collaborative ones out, so we might never know how he thinks Collision Course ranks in the canon.

Comments (13)
  1. Ugh, what idiot put this list together?

  2. I’m a casual Jay Z fan at best, but it is totally refreshing and cool for an artist to do this. Only other act that is this brutally direct and honest about their own music might be the Oasis’ brothers.

    On the downside, though, I can see the point of view for artists that would never do this. What if your favorite album is ranked the lowest by the artist themselves? What would that do to your perception of the music?

    • It’s also interesting to see how he ranks his most recent albums, given how used we are to artists hyping their new release as “THE BEST DAMN THING WE’VE EVER DONE”.

    • At least he is honest. If MCHG was on top, we would all be killing him for being a liar. Most other artists say crap like “I haven’t made my best one yet” or “the new one is the best we’ve ever done”.

      That being said, maybe artists do feel that way about all of their stuff initially and need time and distance to be able to see their work for what it really is.

  3. It’ll be interesting to see where he puts MCHG once there’s some more distance from it and a newer release and more time has passed. I wonder where he’d put Watch the Throne as well.

  4. Bun B needs to jump on that remix too asap.

  5. this guy has no idea what the hell he’s talking about. yeezus is the best jay z album.

  6. And here I thought Jay-Z was one of those “My new album is my best album” kind of guys.

  7. Somewhere in Queensbridge, Nas smashes his ipad to pieces

  8. I bet Collision Course would fare better than Best of Both Worlds and Unfinished Business.

  9. The photo looks off…shouldn’t the 6th one down be a Samsung phone?

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