The Black Album
The Black Album.jpg
Studio album by Jay-Z


November 14, 2003


July - October 2003


Baseline Studios
(New York City, New York)
The Mansion
(Los Angeles, California)
The Hit Factory Criteria
(Miami, Florida)
54 Sound
(Detroit, Michigan)
Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research
(Los Angeles, California)


Hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Hardcore hip hop




Roc-A-Fella Records / Def Jam Recordings


9th Wonder, Aqua, The Buchanans, Kareem "Biggs" Burke (exec.), Damon Dash (exec.), DJ Quik, Eminem, Jay-Z (also exec.), Just Blaze, The Neptunes, Luis Resto, Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Joe "3H" Weinberger, Kanye West

Jay Z chronology


The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse (2002)


Kingdom Come (2006)

The Black Album is the eighth studio album by American Hip hop recording artist Jay-Z, released in November 14, 2003 on Roc-A-Fella Records. Recording sessions took place at 54 Sound in Detroit, The Hit Factory Criteria in Miami, Baseline Studios in New York City and at The Mansion and Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research in Los Angeles from July to October 2003. The production was handled by Just Blaze, The Neptunes, Kanye West, The Buchanans, Eminem, 9th Wonder, Timbaland, Rick Rubin, DJ Quik, Aqua and Joe "3H" Weinburger. It was advertised as his final album before retiring, which is a recurring theme throughout the songs, although Jay Z resumed his recording career in 2006.

Upon its release, The Black Album received widespread acclaim from critics. In its first week, the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #1 on the Top Rap Albums chart, selling 463,000 copies in the United States. It became Jay Z's top selling album of the 2000s decade, and by July 2013, it had sold 3,516,000 copies in the United States alone. The Black Album was promoted with a retirement tour by Jay Z and three singles that also achieved Billboard chart success, including the top-ten hits "Change Clothes" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder".

The Black Album spawned the singles: "Change Clothes", "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "99 Problems" and music videos were released for all three of the songs.

Track listing[edit | edit source]

No. Title Performer(s) Writer(s) Producer(s) Time
1. "Interlude" - - Just Blaze 1:21
2. "December 4th" Jay-Z Boyd, Carter, Powell, Smith Just Blaze 4:33
3. "What More Can I Say" Jay-Z Bell, Carter, Chambers, Gamble, Gonzalez, Johnson The Buchanans 4:55
4. "Encore" Jay-Z Carter, West Kanye West 4:10
5. "Change Clothes" Jay-Z Carter, Hugo, Williams The Neptunes 4:18
6. "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" Jay-Z Carter, Mosley Timbaland 4:05
7. "Threat" Jay-Z Carter, Douthit, Kelly 9th Wonder, Jay Z 4:06
8. "Moment of Clarity" Jay-Z Carter, King, Mathers, Resto Eminem, Luis Resto (add.) 4:24
9. "99 Problems" Jay-Z Carter, Henderson, Landsberg, Marrow, Pappalardi, Rubin, Squier, Ventura, Weinstein Rick Rubin 3:54
10. "Public Service Announcement (Interlude)" Jay-Z Carter, Levin, Smith Just Blaze 2:53
11. "Justify My Thug" Jay-Z Blake, Carter, Chavez, Ciccone, Kravitz, McDaniels, Simmons, Smith DJ Quik 4:04
12. "Lucifer" Jay-Z Carter, Perry, Smith, West Kanye West 3:12
13. "Allure" Jay-Z Carter, Hugo, Williams The Neptunes 4:52
14. "My 1st Song" Jay-Z Carter, De La Fuente, McCarrell Aqua, Joe "3H" Weinberger 4:45


  • Track 3 features additional vocals performed by Vincent "Hum V" Bostic
  • Track 4 features additional vocals performed by John Legend, Don Crawley, Leonard Harris & Kanye West
  • Track 5 features additional vocals performed by Danee Doty
  • Track 7 features additional vocals performed by Cedric the Entertainer
  • Track 8 features keyboards performed by Luis Resto, and guitar and bass performed by Steve King
  • Track 11 features additional vocals performed by Sharlotte Gibson
  • Track 12 features bass performed by Keenan "Kee Note" Holloway

Credits[edit | edit source]

  • A&R: Lenny S.
  • A&R Administration: Rob Mitchell
  • A&R Direction: Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua, Darcell Lawrence
  • Art Direction & Design: Robert Sims
  • Engineer (Mix): Darrell Thorp (track 11)
  • Engineer (Assistant): Chris Steflene (track 11)
  • Marketing: Shari Bryant & Amber Noble
  • Mastering: Tony Dawsey
  • Mixed by: Gimel "Young Guru" Keaton (track 2, 4, 7, 10, 12-14), Supa Engineer DURO (track 3), Jimmy Douglas (track 4, 6), Rich Travali (track 5), Eminem (track 8), Steve King (track 8), Rick Rubin (track 9), Andrew Scheps (track 9), DJ Quik (track 11)
  • Mixed by (assistant): Marcella "Lago" Araica (track 6), David Brown (track 7, 12, 14)
  • Photography (Additional): Lenny "kodak man" Santiago & Walik Goshorn
  • Photography (Principal): Jonathan Mannion
  • Programmed by: Jason Lader (track 9)
  • Recorded by: David Brown (track 2), Gimel "Young Guru" Keaton (track 3-5, 7, 8, 10-14), Demacio "Demo" Castellon (track 6), Steve King (track 8), Mike Strange (track 8), Andrew Scheps (track 9), David Brown (track 10)
  • Recorded by (assistant): David Brown (track 7, 12, 14)
  • Recording Administration: Andrew Huggins

Samples[edit | edit source]


  • "Dizzy" by Hugo Montenegro
  • "Rebirth" by Gershon Kingsley

December 4th

  • "That's How Long" by The Chi-Lites

What More Can I Say

  • "Something for Nothing" by MFSB


  • "I Will" by John Holt


  • "A Woman's Threat" by R. Kelly

99 Problems

  • "The Big Beat" by Billy Squier
  • "Long Red" by Mountain
  • "Get Me Back on Time, Engine #9" by Wilson Pickett

Public Service Announcement (Interlude)

  • "Seeds of Love" by Little Boy Blues

Justify My Thug

  • "The Witch" by Funkadelic
  • "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets
  • "Rock Box" by Run-D.M.C.
  • "Justify My Love" by Madonna


  • "Chase the Devil" by Max Romeo

My 1st Song

  • "Tu Y Tu Mirar, Yo Y Mi Cancion" by Los Angeles Negros

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