20 Years Ago: Shawn Carter Became Jay-Z
20 years ago, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter did not know that his debut album, Reasonable Doubt would become one of the most legendary rap albums of all time. It took about a year for Reasonable Doubt to be created, produced and released for distribution. Jay-Z was 27 at the time when the album was released, much older than his New York counterparts: Notorious BIG, Nas, Method Man and DMX. Nonetheless, he hopped into the rap scene and hasn’t looked back ever since.
His most notable tracks on Reasonable Doubt are “Dead Presidents,” “Feelin’ It,” “Ain’t No” and “Brooklyn’s Finest.” Artists who were featured on Reasonable Doubt were Mary J. Blige, Foxy Brown, Memphis Bleek and the late great Notorious B.I.G.
Jay-Z and this album had a great impact on the hip-hop culture. Roc-a-Fella artist, Memphis Bleek was discovered based on his verse on “Coming of Age.” “Ain’t No” would be a track that jumpstarts Foxy Brown’s career and was the first of many collaborations from the duo. Before Reasonable Doubt, the Notorious B.I.G. and Nas were considered the “Kings of New York.” After this album was released, many critics forecasted a competition amongst New York bred rappers in regards to being the “King of New York.”
In honor of Reasonable Doubt’s 20th anniversary, Jay-Z released a documentary detailing the atmosphere at the time and behind the scenes when Reasonable Doubt was released. The documentary is only available to TIDAL users.
Story Edited By: Sierra Williams