The Black Album
What More Can He Say? It’s been ten years since Jay Z released his seminal Black Album and announced that he was leaving the game forever. (We know how that went.) To celebrate the decade that was, here’s a review of some of Hova’s greatest accomplishments in the years since he announced his post-Black “retirement”:
Fade To Black
What’s retirement without a farewell party? Jay’s retirement blowout at New York’s Madison Square Garden — the arena sold out within a day, and included appearances from his future wife Beyonce, and announcer Michael Buffer to send him off properly — was filmed and later released as a documentary called Fade to Black.
Just kidding! Four more albums
2006 saw the unretirement of Jay with the release of Kingdom Come in November (it moved 680,000 copies its first week out, his best numbers to date). Then came the American Gangster concept album, inspired by the Denzel Washington movie of the same name, in 2007, and debuted at no. 1 yet again. The Blueprint 3 followed in 2009 (yet again, a no. 1) and spawned the monster hits “Empire State of Mind” and “Run This Town.”
July 4, 2013 brought his 12th studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail —also his first to sell one million copies in a single week, albeit with an asterisk. With its Samsung tie-in Magna Carta helped shake up the standard practices of Billboard and the RIAA.
Run This Festival
Jay, who made history as the first hip hop artist to perform at Glastonbury festival in the U.K., went a step further and created his own multi-genre festival Stateside, curating the two-day Made In America featuring the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Macklemore, Phoenix, Kendrick Lamar, and of course, Mrs. Carter. It also served as the foundation for a Ron Howard-directed documentary slated to premiere in theaters 2014.
Broadway and the Big Screen
Jay took his creative talents to Broadway signing on as producer for Fela!., the Tony Award-winning musical celebrating the late Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo Kuti, along with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. In addition to producing, Jay also contributed as soundtrack supervisor for The Great Gatsby film, enlisting features from Kanye West, Florence Welch, Fergie, and Outkast’s Andre 3000, among others.
In 2013, Jay officially took his stake in the athletic world one step beyond his ownership stake in Brooklyn’s Barclay Center (now sold) by establishing Roc Nation Sports — which represents bold-faced names including New York Yankee Robinson Cano, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and former Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins, and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant.
The Black Album