The Facts: Peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 200. Platinum certified.
Haters Say: "The sound is not as timeless."
They say you never forget your first. Jay Z definitely holds his seminal debut, Reasonable Doubt, close to the heart. He ranked the masterpiece number one on his list and with good reason. The album, released June 25, 1996, was a vivid autobiographical introduction into the life of a hustler-turned-rapper. In an era when heavyweights Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were spearheading the West Coast dominance over hip hop; Jay joined Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and fellow Brooklynite Notorious B.I.G. in forging a resurgence of East Coast rap. Over soulful beats Jay captivated listeners with his effortless flow and piercing lyricism. Though the critically-acclaimed LP did not garner widespread attention initially, it went on to inspire the candid drug kingpin-to-rap star narrative for artists like T.I., Jeezy and countless others.