Here's how Jay-Z ranked his own albums (with his own brief commentary):
1. Reasonable Doubt (Classic)2. The Blueprint (Classic)3. The Black Album (Classic)4. Vol. 2 (Classic)5. American Gangster (4 1/2, cohesive)6. Magna Carta (Fuckwit, Tom Ford, Oceans, Beach, On the Run, Grail)7. Vol. 1 (Sunshine kills this album…fuck… Streets, Where I’m from, You Must Love Me…)8. BP3 (Sorry critics, it’s good. Empire (Gave Frank a run for his money))9. Dynasty (Intro alone…)10. Vol. 3 (Pimp C verse alone… oh, So Ghetto)11. BP2 (Too many songs. Fucking Guru and Hip Hop, ha)12. Kingdom Come (First game back, don’t shoot me)
For starters - I think it's awesome that Jay-Z would do this. In fact, I think it's actually crazy that he didn't make it a bigger deal (Example: Hired Mr. Andrew Fried.... Gotten some heavyweights to sit around a table, debate it, film it, edit it - BAM - you have an hour-long prime time ABC special).
Secondly, anyone who massively disagrees with him is entitled to their opinion, but it's like some intern at Google disagreeing with Larry Page on the biggest priorities of the company. The man is the actual source (and pun NOT intended to reference the magazine).
I, personally, agree with most of his choices give or take a slot or two with only one major personal choice. I don't think American Gangster is a top 5 Jay-Z album. I'm sure it's probably in his top 5 "projects" (being involved with the movie and having one of your solo albums be a movie soundtrack), but if you told me that I, Brett Goffin, could only pick 5 Jay-Z albums to have with me on a year-long journey.... I definitely don't come close to picking American Gangster -- I probably rank that one 11th. I think I pick either BluePrint 3 or Volume 3 as #5.
BP3 may have a couple of tracks I'm choosing to skip - but not too many. It also COULD end up (sadly) having the Jay-Z sound that's most played 30 years from now (Empire State of Mind).
Volume 3 is listen from start to finish exercise for me. May press "repeat" on Dope Man, Big Pimpin, Watch Me, and Come and Get Me.
I don't chose Volume 1 as Top 5 because there are a bunch of songs I can do without HOWEVER - it arguably has the single track I listened to the most number of times in a short time frame. "Who You Wit" was on constant repeat in my car pretty much my entire junior year of college - I don't think I'm exaggerating on that.
While I could probably go deeper on some of my thoughts -- I really just wanted to document that I thought it was really cool that S.Carter did this and in case any of my blog readers weren't aware of it.