You love to have the argument, again and again: what’s the best Jay-Z album, Reasonable Doubt or The Blueprint? Both are absolute classics in every sense of the word—but only one can reign supreme. That’s why the debate rages on in Internet comment sections, in barber shops, in the Complex offices, and any other place rap fans happen to congregate. Which is better: Jigga’s 1996 debut? Or his sixth studio album—released a full decade ago, in the midst of his epic battle with Nasty Nas?
Sure, there are other contenders. The Black Album and Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life are both amazing, Vol. 3...The Life and Times of S. Carter, and In My Life Time, Vol. 1 are dope too, and American Gangster is better than it usually gets credit for—but it always boils down to RD vs TBP. It’s a never-ending debate, the hip-hop version of Lebron vs Kobe, Pepsi vs Coke, Mac vs PC.
Now that we’ve reached the 10-year anniversary of The Blueprint, this argument’s gotten to be as old as a 5th grader. We already picked Jay's 100 Best Songs so we decided it was time to settle the big debate once and for all, so we broke each album down on the basis of twelve crucial categories, from beats and flows right down to cover art.
Based on our scientific analysis of both, Complex can finally put an end to all the speculation—way beyond a reasonable doubt. Yeah, we said it: The Blueprint is better. So click through, read up, and find out why The Blueprint gets top honors in the Hov Hall of Fame.
Written by Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)