Jay-Z has altered the state of music throughout his successful hip hop career, but this music mogul has no intention of slowing down. In between managing artists and producers under his Roc Nation label and recently branching off into managing athletes as well, Shawn Carter still found time to hit the studio and work on his twelfth studio album. Here’s a look back at Mr. Carter’s discography- both studio albums and collaborative albums!
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1. Reasonable Doubt (1996)
“Reasonable Doubt” was released on June 25, 1996. The album peaked at No. 23 on the US Billboard 200 and remained on the charts for 18 weeks. The album went certified platinum selling over 1.5 million copies by it’s 10th anniversary. The album’s singles included “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” “Dead Presidents II,” “Feelin’ It,” and “Ain’t No N*gga.”
2. In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)
Released on November 4, 1997, “In My Lifetime, Vol. 1” debuted at No. 3 on the charts. Diddy, Stevie J and DJ Premier are among a few producers that worked on Carter’s second album.
3. Vol.2… Hard Knock Life (1998)
“Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life” is Jay-Z’s best album to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the charts, selling over 350,000 copies. In 1999, Jay-Z won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. In 2000, the album went 5 times platinum.
4. Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)
Jay’s fourth studio album debuted at number one on the charts selling 462,000 copies in its first week. By 2001, the album was certified triple platinum. Singles from the album include “Jigga My N*gga,” “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up),” and “Big Pimpin’.”
5. The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)
Continuing the succesful trend, “The Dynasty: Roc La Familia” debuted at No. 1 selling 557,789 copies in its first week. The Neptunes, Just Blaze and Rick Rock are just a few names that helped produce this album.
6. The Blueprint (2001)
“The Blueprint” is considered to be Kanye West’s big break. Wets produced 4 of the 13 songs, including “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
7. Unplugged (2001)
A live recording of Jay-Z performing some of his hits for MTV’s Unplugged 2.0. Jay-Z collaborated with The Roots making this his first collaborative album.
8. The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse (2002)
Also charting at No. 1, “The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse” featured singles such as “’03 Bonnie & Clyde,” “Hovi Baby,” and “Excuse Me Miss.”
9. The Best of Both Worlds (2002)
Jay-Z teamed up with R. Kelly for his second collaborative album. Together the two debuted at No. 2.
10. The Black Album (2003)
In 2003, Jay-Z scared us all when he mentioned the word ‘retirement’ to all of his fans. “The Black Album” is arguably considered amongst Jay-Z’s best albums. Several artists have went on to sample songs from this album which have led to their own hit records including T.I.’s “Bring Em Out,” Cassidy’s “I’m a Hustla,” and RZA’s “Straight Up the Block.”
11. Unfinished Business (2004)
Comprised of unused songs from their first collaborative album, “Unfinished Business” sparked a few issues between the two artists. Despite these issues, the album did peak at No. 1.
12. Collision Course (2004)
The EP featured mashups from Linkin Park’s hit songs as well as Jay-Z’s. The EP consisted of six songs.
13. Kingdom Come (2006)
The post-retirement album sold 678,000 copies in its first week making it Jay-Z’s highest selling album within a one week period.
14. American Gangster (2007)
After receiving mediocre feedback from “Kingdom Come,” Jay-Z fired back with his tenth studio album and his first concept album, “American Gangster.”
15. The Blueprint 3 (2009)
“The Blueprint 3” was release on September 8, 2009. This album was Jay-Z’s eleventh number-one album, breaking the record he shared with ELvis Presley for the second most US number-one albums, folling behind The Beatles.
16. Watch the Throne (2011)
“Watch the Throne” is Jay-Z’s last collaborative album. The album features seven singles including, “N*ggas In Paris.” The album debuted at No. 1.