Reasonable Doubt was rapper Jay-Z's debut album, released on June 25 1996 (see 1996 in music). Though commercially and critically successful, the album, and Jay-Z, were overshadowed by the Death Row vs. Bad Boy rivalry that was then current. In spite of this lack of initial recognition, Reasonable Doubt received strong reviews and sales, and is now acknowledged as one of the most influential hip hop albums of the 1990s, foreshadowing the rise of similarly-styled thug rappers from the East Coast later in the decade and into the next.

Often compared to Nas (Illmatic) due to the acclaim his debut received, Jay-Z, like Nas, has never managed to reach the same pinnacle of critical success. Some fans of Reasonable Doubt have labelled subsequent efforts "selling-out", as Jay-Z's mainstream fame has only increased, to the point where he has become one of the best-selling American musicians. Compared to later records, Reasonable Doubt contains much more ambivalence about the value of Jay-Z's often violent, seedy life. On tracks like "Two 22's", a sense of mourning, danger and insecurity permeate to a degree rarely seen on later recordings. Allmusic's Steve Huey wrote that it s this "depth that helps Reasonable Doubt rank as one of the finest albums of New York's hip-hop renaissance of the '90s"[1].

Table of contents
1 Track listing
2 Personnel
3 Chart positions

Track listing

  1. Can't Knock the Hustle (Carter/Foster/Miller) - 5:17
  2. Politics as Usual (Biggs/Carter/Willis) - 3:41
  3. Brooklyn's Finest performed by Jay Z / Notorious B.I.G - 4:36
  4. Dead Presidents II (Carter/Jones/Phillips/Smith/Willis) - 4:27
  5. Feelin' It performed by Jay Z / Mecca - 3:48
  6. D'evils (Carter/Martin) - 3:31
  7. 22 Two's (Carter/Willis) - 3:29
  8. Can I Live (Bacharach/Carter/Davis/Lorenzo) - 4:10
  9. Ain't No ***** performed by Jay Z / Foxy Brown - 4:03
  10. Friend or Foe (Carter/Martin) - 1:49
  11. Coming of Age performed by Jay Z / Memphis Bleek - 3:59
  12. Cashmere Thoughts (Bohannon/Carter/Emanuel/Franklin/Ratin) - 2:56
  13. Bring It On performed by Jay Z / Big Jaz / Sauce Money - 5:01
  14. Regrets (Carter/Di Pasquale) - 4:34
  15. Can I Live II performed by Jay Z / Memphis Bleek - 3:57

Personnel

  • Mary J. Blige - Vocals
  • DJ Premier - Producer, Mixing
  • Clark Kent - Producer, Mixing
  • Joe Quinde - Engineer, Mixing
  • Kenny OrtÝz - Engineer, Mixing
  • Carlos Bess - Mixing
  • Jay-Z - Executive Producer
  • Eddie S. - Engineer, Mixing
  • SKI - Producer, Mixing
  • DJ Irv - Producer, Mixing
  • Jonathan Mannion - Photography
  • Cey Adams - Artwork
  • Big Jaz - Producer, Performer, Mixing
  • Adrien Vargas - Art Direction, Design
  • Damon Dash - Producer, Executive Producer
  • Sauce Money - Performer
  • Peter Panic - Producer, Mixing
  • Kareem "Biggs" Burke - Executive Producer
  • Dahoud - Producer
  • Memphis Bleek - Performer
  • Sean Cane - Producer, Dahoud

Chart positions

Billboard Music Charts - album
1996	The Billboard 200	                No. 23
1996	Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums	                No. 3
1997	Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums	                No. 70
Billboard Music Charts - singles
1996	Ain't No Nigga/Dead Presidents The Billboard Hot 100	          No. 50
1996	Can't Knock the Hustle	       Hot Rap Singles	                  No. 7
1996	Ain't No Nigga/Dead Presidents Hot Rap Singles	                  No. 4
1996	Can't Knock the Hustle	       Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks   No. 35
1996	Ain't No Nigga/Dead Presidents Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks   No. 17
1996	Can't Knock the Hustle	       Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales No. 4
1996	Ain't No Nigga/Dead Presidents Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales No. 1
1996	Can't Knock the Hustle	       The Billboard Hot 100	          No. 73
1997	Can't Knock the Hustle	       Hot Rap Singles	                  No. 23
1997	Can't Knock the Hustle	       Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks	  No. 69
1997	Can't Knock the Hustle	       Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales No. 29
1997	Feelin' It	               Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales No. 11
1997	Feelin' It	               Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks	  No. 46
1997	Feelin' It	               Hot Rap Singles	                  No. 13
1997	Feelin' It	               The Billboard Hot 100	          No. 79