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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2011 | Roc Nation - RocAFella - IDJ

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2011 | Roc Nation - RocAFella - IDJ

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 12, 2011 | Roc Nation - RocAFella - IDJ

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 7, 2017 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
If Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z, has found himself a target for clashes throughout 4:44, it's not with Kanye, or Kendrick, or any other fellow musician. No: the Brooklyn rapper's struggle is entirely with himself. At 47, having nothing to prove to anyone, Jay-Z is not out to gauge the competition or battle the new generation. Rather, he is hitting the psychoanalyst's couch. And 4:44 makes for a beautiful couch to do just that. Solid, robust and nicely designed. The album was produced by Ernest Dion Wilson a.k.a. No I.D. (it's rare for Jay-Z to hand the keys to a single producer) and it remains true to the fundamentals of Jay-Z's work. No vaguely electro sounds, no contemporary beats. Jay-Z has made a classic album, a true Jay-Z album, with groovy and erudite choices of samples (Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Funk Inc., Donny Hathaway to name a few) over which he lays down introspective rhymes on the turpitudes of conjugal life with Mrs Carter (who features on Family Feud), and reflecting on his status and ego. He is restrained in his choice of other artists who feature, inviting only Frank Ocean and Damian Marley to the album. But after listening to the album several times over, 4:44 impresses with its precision, its workmanship, and a certain kind of perfection. Jay-Z made the revolution years ago. What's important to him now is to continue to rule and be respected. Mission accomplished. © MD/Qobuz
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 4, 2013 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 30, 2004 | Warner Bros. - Roc-A-Fella

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 22, 2010 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 30, 2004 | Warner Bros. - Roc-A-Fella

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 30, 2000 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2013 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

Booklet
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 1997 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

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Pop - Released January 1, 1999 | Roc-A-Fella

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 30, 2004 | Warner Bros. - Roc-A-Fella

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2006 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

Jay-Z's retirement from making albums was more like a working holiday. After he announced his retirement, released The Black Album, and threw the Fade to Black party, he collaborated with Linkin Park on Collision Course, teamed with R. Kelly for the abysmal Unfinished Business, and appeared on tracks by Beanie Sigel, Bun B, Memphis Bleek, Kanye West, Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco, and Beyoncé. He kept busy behind the scenes as Def Jam's CEO and president, and he also stepped up as a major philanthropist, donating a million dollars to the Katrina cause and actively addressing the global water crisis in Turkey and South Africa. In the midst of these and other well-publicized activities, Jay-Z recorded Kingdom Come, his eighth and weakest studio album. When placed in the context of his prolific discography, the greater part of the album wilts, and it's not a good indicator that Jay-Z continues to lean on a familiar cast of producers rather than actively seek up-and-comers. (The fresh talent here is limited to Syience and Gwyneth Paltrow's Chris Martin; they contribute one track each.) There's only a small handful of highlights. On the title track, Just Blaze's masterful contortion job on Rick James' "Superfreak" backs Jay's nearly top-form, Black Album/Blueprint-worthy boasts: "I been up in the office, you might know him as Clark/Just when you thought the whole world fell apart/I take off the blazer, loosen up the tie/Step inside the booth, Superman is alive." Two of the four Dr. Dre productions feature assistance from Mark Batson (Anthony Hamilton), and they both strike a fine balance between maturity and ferocity -- much more so than the clumsy "30 Something," where Jay proclaims that "30 is the new 20," which would actually make him 27 and a fourth-grader a zygote. (He might as well say, "You wear Huggies, I wear Depends/You drink from a sippy cup/I sip my solids.") Apart from the above-mentioned bright spots and a poignant, somber track about the Katrina disaster ("Minority Report"), the album is a display of complacency and retreads -- a gratuitous, easily resistible victory lap -- that slightly upgrades the relative worth of The Blueprint². ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 30, 2004 | Warner Bros. - Roc-A-Fella

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2011 | Roc Nation - RocAFella - IDJ

Booklet
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2009 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z

When Jay-Z first made a series out of his best album, 2001's The Blueprint, it became a game of high expectations. The Blueprint of the first volume was Jay-Z as vital as he'd ever been, storming back to the hardcore after a few years of commercial success. The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse was a complete turn, a set of half-cocked crossovers, bloated to bursting with guest features that obscured his talents. The Blueprint 3 is somewhere between the two, closer to the vitality and energy of the original but not without the crossover bids and guest features of the latter (albeit much better this time). Kanye West is in the producer's chair for seven tracks, and it's clear he was reaching for the same energy level as the original Blueprint (which he produced). "What We Talkin' About" begins the album with a wave of surging, oppressive synth, while Jay-Z enumerates (with an intriguing lack of detail) what he's said and what's been said about him, ending with a nod not to the past but the future (and Barack Obama). West also produced the second, "Thank You," and while it starts with typical Jay-Hova brio, the last verse piles on the unrelenting criticism of unnamed rappers doomed to weak sales. There's plenty more lyrical violence to come, but most of the targets are much safer than they were eight years earlier. (Jay doesn't sound very convincing when he claims in [RoviLink="MC"]"D.O.A. [Death of Auto-Tune]"[/RoviLink] that it's not "politically correct" to rail against one of the most reviled trends in pop music during the 2000s.) From there, he branches out with a calculating type of finesse, drawing in certain demographics via a roster of guests, from Young Jeezy (hardcore) to Drake (teens) to Kid Cudi (the backpacker crowd). The king of the crossovers here is "Empire State of Mind," a New York flag-waver with plenty of landmark name-dropping that turns into a great anthem with help on the chorus from Alicia Keys. The Blueprint 3 isn't a one-man tour de force like the first. Jay is upstaged once or twice by his guests, and while the productions are stellar throughout -- Timbaland appears three times, and No I.D. gets multiple credits also -- it's clear there's less on Jay's mind this time. Not tuned out like on Kingdom Come, but more content with his dominance as a rap godfather in 2009. ~ John Bush
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2010 | Roc Nation - IDJ

Booklet
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 23, 2004 | Warner Bros. - Roc-A-Fella

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2002 | Roc Nation - Jay-Z