The Black Album came out on a Friday.
It was supposed to be a later Friday, November 28, 2003, but by the early days of that month, tracks on the album began to leak, much to the delight of the Kazaa-affiliated populace. “Due to individuals illegally distributing my album, I have no choice but to move the release date,” Jay Z said in a statement, with the album then pushed up two weeks to November 14.
That was 10 years ago today.
The Black Album came out a decade ago, which means it’s been 10 years since we were supposed to be done with Jay Z, the rapper, because of his retirement.
There’s no need to build up suspense as to what happened next, because we all know the retirement was short-lived, and we are still living in the era of that reversed decision. But it’s important to remember — as far-fetched as it seems in hindsight — that for a period of time, we all thought it was over.
Even with a project as phenomenal as The Black Album, it didn’t fully make sense that he’d stop. As eloquently stated by Ghostface Killah in the tunnels of Madison Square Garden on the night of Jay Z’s farewell show:
Why you leaving the game, baby? Know what I’m saying, you supposed to stay here and keep it thorough and … stay reppin’.
But even among the confusion (along with a variety of other emotions), all signs pointed toward him leaving said game, and everyone believed him. [READ MORE…]