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The Black Album is a 2003 hip hop album by rapper Jay-Z. It was promoted as his final studio album, although Jay-Z subsequently announced a return to solo recording in 2006. The album was very well received by critics and was also a commercial success, debuting at #1 with about 463,000 sold in its first week and more than 3.5 million to date. The black disc is accompanied by a black-covered set of liner notes and a black jewel case.
The album features a guest appearance by Pharrell Williams (in "Change Clothes"), and Jay-Z's mother, who speaks about his childhood in different portions of "December 4th". An a cappella-only version of The Black Album featuring these performances was also released.
In early interviews, Jay-Z said that the album would be a return to his Reasonable Doubt sound (responding to criticism from some fans that his subsequent efforts were too commercial) and that it would be "for the streets", with no promotion or singles; however, "Change Clothes" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" were both successful singles.
He also claimed that the album would have a different producer for each track, and early magazine advertisements listed a series of numbers (representing tracks) and a producer for each number. The final album did feature a variety in producers, although Roc-A-Fella producers Kanye West and Just Blaze produced two tracks each, in addition to the two produced by frequent Jay-Z collaborators The Neptunes. Longtime collaborators DJ Premier and Dr. Dre did not produce any tracks. 9th Wonder saw a boost in popularity after producing "Threat" for the album. (Jay-Z is credited as the second producer on the track for finding the R. Kelly sample that was included in the beat.)
An a cappella version of the album was released, with the intention of providing material for remixes and mashups. An early attempt by Kev Brown, The Brown Album, was followed by Danger Mouse's The Grey Album. The latter gained attention due to its unauthorized use of samples of songs by The Beatles. This incited many other remix albums made available on the Internet through file sharing.
The only officially released remix album is Collision Course, Jay-Z's collaboration with Linkin Park; it was produced by Mike Shinoda and included a DVD featuring the artist and the band performing together. Their collaboration led Jay-Z to executive produce Shinoda's solo debut, The Rising Tied, released under the name Fort Minor.
Lines from the album have been sampled by other artists into entirely new songs. These include:
- T.I.'s "Bring Em Out", based on a line from "What More Can I Say", which Jay-Z in turn got line from The Notorious B.I.G. & Tracy Lee song "Keep Your Hands High". Jay-Z had based the chorus from the song a line from Audio Two's "Top Billin'".
- Joe Budden's "Stuntin'", also based on a line from "What More Can I Say".
- Cassidy's "I'm a Hustla", Juvenile's "Way I Be Leanin'", and Clipse's "Number Oun Supplier", each based on a line from "Dirt Off Your Shoulder".
- Clipse's "Where You Been", based on a line from "Threat".
- Gillie Da Kid's "Holla Back," based on a line from "Moment of Clarity".
- Beanie Sigel's "All the Above" uses "Public Service Announcement (Interlude)" for a line on the track.
- Freeway's "It's Over" chorus based on a line in "Encore".
|2||"December 4th"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
|3||"What More Can I Say"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
|4||"Encore"||Jay-Z ||Shawn Carter |
|5||"Change Clothes"||Jay-Z ||Shawn Carter |
|6||"Dirt Off Your Shoulder"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
|7||"Threat"||Jay-Z ||Shawn Carter |
|8||"Moment of Clarity"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
Luis Resto (additional production)
|9||"99 Problems"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
|10||"Public Service Announcement (Interlude)"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
|11||"Justify My Thug"||Jay-Z ||Shawn Carter |
|12||"Lucifer"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
|13||"Allure"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
|14||"My 1st Song"||Jay-Z||Shawn Carter |
Germaín De La Fuente
|Aqua, Joe "3H" Weinberger||
|U.S. Billboard 200||1|
|U.S. Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums||1|
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