One of the greatest rappers of our generation at the absolute top of his game, Reasonable Doubt is an essential near-classic that no hip-hop fan would be without. Here, the soon-to-be superstar unintentionally trumps every performance afterwards over old-school production, making everything after it sound just a little..."uninspired"?. The guest spots don't hurt either, especially when the late Notorious B.I.G. makes "Brooklyn's Finest" one of Reasonable Doubt's greatest moments. But as good as it is, it doesn't deserve full marks; a couple stronger tracks, better hooks or stronger production would elevate it to that level. Irregardless, we know he's never going to top this, and in some ways, it doesn't really matter - this album would hopefully have gotten Hova into the history books by itself.
Reasonable Doubt is the essential Jay-Z album. He is at his best lyrically. "Dead Presidents
II" and "Brooklyn's Finest" are two of the strongest tracks I've heard from the MC, and
possibly a couple of the strongest tracks in the big pool of 90s hip-hop. The consistent
series of quality cuts and the nostalgic old-school production make Reasonable Doubt deserve
this 4.5 rating.
Rick Ross only wishes he was Jay-Z. Rap tycoon Jay-Z executes boastfulness perfectly on this album, dropping good punchlines and solid metaphors about his money and greatness throughout the album over some sophisticated, jazzy East coast beats. His MCing is good, but nothing stellar, which makes this album at times kind of boring. Still, a good record. 3.2/5