The Black Album

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
The Black Album Music Poster Image
Parents recommend
There's a lot for parents to be cautious about.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

A lot of sexist, racist posturing. "If you havin girl problems I feel bad for you son. I've got 99 problems but a b***h ain't one."


"I can introduce you to your maker--bring you closer to nature" is one of the gentler lyrics...


Some sexual references, but Jay-Z seems more interested in other things.


No holds barred. The edits on the edited version are so clumsily done that they needn't have bothered.


We hear about a Porsche...

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few drug and alcohol references here.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's violence, racism, sexism, and obscenity galore. The "edited" version is so clumsy that, if anything, it calls more attention to the deleted words.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4 and 7-year-old Written byKvothe the Ruh October 15, 2019

The Black Album

Legendary! Jigga is my boy!
This is fine for everyone. It's a rap masterpiece.
Adult Written byhegone09 December 11, 2009

Hova doing his thing

If your kids go to high school I guarantee they have heard every word said in the album. Its Jay-Z doing what he does best which is igniting controversy. The 99... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old December 21, 2020

listen to it clean if your under 14

jay z is great my his rap has a lot consumerism and language but the song dec 4th has a good message and he raps about his mom in it there is sex on the song... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byspeyan727 September 11, 2018

What's the story?

Jay-Z wants us to know that he knows certain words and isn't afraid to use them. Yeah, those words. All of them -- over and over again -- on THE BLACK ALBUM. The edited version won't be much help here, because the edited words are so obviously cut out that it's almost worse. That's the disclaimer -- now about the music. This CD begins with a sound sample of the artist's mother talking about him as a child, in counterpoint with Jay-Z himself talking about his feelings of abandonment when his father left home. It's a heart-tugger (really!) and sets up the rest of the CD in a uniquely sentimental way.

Is it any good?

The whole album is lovingly and carefully produced. The background vocals are wonderful, and the tracks seem to sparkle with an extraordinary energy and passion. This CD is not for everyone, but there's something substantial at the heart of it, if you can get past the obscenity and Jay-Z's macho posturing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what (if anything) is appealing to them about this music. If teens say they just like the music, ask them how they can ignore or rationalize the violence and intolerant images on the CD. Another good topic to discuss is what message about life do you think Jay-Z wants to get across to his audience?

Music details

  • Artist: Jay-Z
  • Release date: November 14, 2003
  • Label: Def Jam
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: July 20, 2015

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