It’s the album that started it all…
On June 25th, 1996, through Roc-A-Fella Records via a distribution deal with Priority Records, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s first classic, Reasonable Doubt, was introduced to the masses. Fifteen years later, the gangster-esque melodrama remains one of hip-hop’s, and Hov’s most celebrated bodies of work.
Featuring production “sleeker than that leather on the Fonz” (DJ Premier, Ski Beatz, Clark Kent, and more) and lyricism clearer than the VS diamonds from Tito in the district, Jay’s debut initially failed to make a commercial impact despite its critical acclaim. While only debuting at No. 23 on the Billboard 200, selling a mere 420,000 copies for the year, Reasonable Doubt would eventually reach platinum status on February 7th, 2002.
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Jay’s first magnum opus, XXLMag.com decided to step it up another level and break Reasonable Doubt down by the numbers. What y’all don’t know?…—Ralph Bristout