Why Reasonable Doubt’s Contributions Will Always Be Relevant

Many of you have heard the question,” Where were you when you first heard (insert title here) ?”

Well, as we approach the 20 year anniversary of Jay Z’s debut studio album, Reasonable Doubt that’s the question we want you to reminisce over.

However, rather than talk about the greatness of Jay Z, Shawn Carter, Beyoncé’s husband, or whatever name you’d like to call him, let’s see what Reasonable Doubt gave us and where some of the “players” from this album are now!

Reasonable Doubt introduced the world to what the Notorious BIG called “Mafia Soul” and it gave the listener a brief look inside the mind of a drug dealer by showcasing the consequences and the spoils of the drug game (without the cold late nights, bodega sandwiches, and having to constantly look over your shoulder).

One of the luminaries featured on Reasonable Doubt was Notorious BIG.

Besides being a friend of Jay Z, they were featured on “Brooklyn’s Finest” which in my opinion, was like a heavyweight sparring match between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (RIP Champ), due to neither emcee wanting to be outdone by the other.

Speaking of “Soul,” Mary J. Blige, would also appear on “Can’t Knock The Hustle,” which gave her the ability to utilize her soulful sound to make this song a “Hip-Hop classic.”

Mary J. is a superstar in her own right and was afforded the chance by her early appearances on songs with Jay Z and Puffy Daddy to connect with her fans and build herself up from there.

We were introduced to Memphis Bleek, who was the heir apparent to Roc-A-Fella Records and showcased what he could do on “Coming Of Age.”

Bleek would go on to have some success, but never quite reach the status of his luminary mentor and label boss.

And there is nothing to say that the new improved Jay Z won’t still ascend to a higher throne. He still has time.

We were also able to witness the entry of Foxy Brown to not only Hip-Hop, but to public conversation.

Her guest appearance on “Ain’t No N*gga” showed that she belonged on the same stage with her male counterparts and that she could hold her own.

Many Hip-Hop fans the world over continue to wait patiently for her to make a triumphant return to the game.

Reasonable Doubt also introduced the world to a handful of producers. Producers Ski (“Feeling It” “Dead Presidents”) and Sauce Money, who was featured on “Bring It On” were both actively working producers and were catapulted to another level due to their work onReasonable Doubt.

We also saw production from Sean C. and Knobody (“Can’t Knock The Hustle”) which was one of the biggest hits on Reasonable Doubt .

Reasonable Doubt gave us Jay Z at what some might say his lyrical best. He used his platform to not only promote his label, Roc-A-Fella Records, but his partners, Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke.

So, as Reasonable Doubt celebrates 20 years, what are your thoughts?

Was it a “game changer” like so many thought at the time of its release?

Give it another listen, and I MEAN, really listen (don’t just say “Nas is God” or say that “Get Rich or Die Trying” did more for Hip-Hop, just to be controversial) and hit up the comments section with your thoughts on what Reasonable Doubt meant to the spit game, the business of Hip-Hop and to you personally.

Follow Empire Jay on social media: @empirejay

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