Reasonable Doubt album cover
Reasonable Doubt


Roc-A-Fella Records

A gangly teen rapper in the early ’90s, Jay-Z remade his image by the release of his solo debut, Reasonable Doubt. Spinning his small-time crack-dealing past into a larger mythos of self-made success, Jay mixes odes to conspicuous consumption (“Cashmere Thoughts”) with surprisingly candid confessionals (“Regrets”) plus a certified club hit (“Ain’t No N——”). The topical diversity is well-matched by the ace production, lead by such veteran beat-makers as Ski, DJ Premier and Clark Kent.

Oliver Wang

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