The Black Album
The Black Album was said to be JAY Z’s victory lap before retirement, and he would’ve bowed out with a bang, serenaded by thrilling, brass-heavy beats from the best producers of the day. It’s threaded with the expected braggadocio—see the knowing "What More Can I Say"—but even better are the moments when Jigga turns inward. He raps of his mother’s love and his father’s death on “December 4th,” ducks the Devil's shadow on "Lucifer," and laughs with Biggie’s ghost on the triumphant "My 1st Song." A grand almost-closing, indeed.