Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Jason Karsh   
Tuesday, 25 June 1996

Reasonable Doubt,
Priority Records
| Performance 7.5 | Sound 6 |

Re-issuing this album when they did is probably the smartest thing Priority Records has done in a while. Jay-Z, their former artist who has since "switched factories" to the Def Jam stables, couldn't be much hotter than he is right now. His most recent album Hard Knock Life . . . Vol. 2 is walking off shelves across the country and he has just embarked upon a nationwide tour with Method Man, Redman, and DMX. Who says you can’t make money off an artist after they’ve left your label?

The good news about this reissue is that the distance from its original release provides a more objective opinion about its contents. The bad news is that it’s not the most consistent album ever made. Yes, there are some tracks that still stand tall such as, "Dead Presidents II," "Can I Live," and the re-issue bonus track "Can I Live II" in particular, But there are then the times when this album falters. Still, for a debut album, this is one of the best Rap has seen in many years. It’s also good to hear Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls together again, even if it only whets the appetite as to what could have been. Other than the inclusion of the additional track, the mix doesn’t come off particularly enhanced or remarkably impressive, but if you don’t already own this album, this reissue is still worth the purchase.

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