Is The Black Album As A 9-Track Album Better Than Illmatic?

One-on-one we put Nas’ 1994 9-track classic Illmatic up against Jay-Z’s 2003 Black Album as a 9-Track album.  If we take the Black Album and toss out the crap, polish it up and put it side-by-side with Illmatic what happens?

After much debate as to what should be cut (although cutting out Change Clothes was easy) this is what we have come up with as the album

The 9-Track Tracklist:

  1. Interlude
  2. December 4th
  3. What More Can I Say?
  4. Encore
  5. Dirt Off Your Shoulder
  6. 99 Problems
  7. Public Service Announcement (Interlude)
  8. Allure
  9. My 1st Song

Change Clothes can go, Threats can go even though its a classic song with a classic 9th Wonder beat, Moment Of Clarity can go, Justify My Thug can go and so can Lucifer even though Lucifer should probably be in the top 9 cuts.  Lucifer should probably go in and My 1st song should come out, but the concept of what was suppose to be Jay-Z’s last song ever is just too dope to leave out.  Make that as a playlist on Tidal/Apple Music and let it run right though.  Tough track after tough track after tough track after tough track after tough track.  I dunno, this is a difficult call.  This version of the Black Album is a great blend of released singles with just banging tracks.  50% singles, 50% B-sides.  Illmatic really had only one big single which was Ain’t Hard To Tell and the rest were just tough b-side tracks that stood out above anyone else’s b-side tracks.  We always thought that the Black Album as is was a classic, now with the just only good and not great stuff washed out does this album surpass Illmatic?


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