Jay Z has offered his own assessment of his catalog as he celebrates his 44th birthday today. Twelve solo albums deep into his iconic career, he is frank in his analysis about the albums, explaining the flaws in each.
According to Jay:
2. The Blueprint (Classic)
How does this compare to Complex's ranking of Jay's catalog? First of all, it is important to note that our list included his collaboration albums, such as Watch The Throne (ranked eighth) and Unfinished Business (ranked last).
Jay's list and our list include the same four albums in the top four positions, albeit in a different order. We ranked The Blueprint at No. 1 ahead of Reasonable Doubt, and ranked Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life at No. 3 ahead of The Black Album. Whereas Vol. 3...Life and Times of S. Carter rounds out our top five, Jay has that album at number ten. His assessment of American Gangster, "4 1/2, cohesive," does not match our assessment (we placed it towards the end of our list).
Another discrepancy between the two lists is the placement of The Blueprint 3, which Jay addresses in his statement, "Sorry critics, it’s good. Empire (Gave Frank a run for his money)." Jay ranked it eight, while we ranked it as his third worst solo album. Jay does agree with our assessment of his worst two albums: The Blueprint 2 and Kingdom Come. His comments towards Guru and Hip-Hop about The Blueprint 2 refers to the fact that it was their idea to push Jay to make this a double-album, in order to compete with the legacies of Biggie and 2Pac. Looking back, Guru said, "When you’re doing a double album, and you really only have 17 songs, you start to do filler records. Then we do songs like ‘As One.’ We should’ve never did that."