Reasonable Doubt is the debut album of American rapper Jay-Z, released June 25, 1996 on Roc-A-Fella Records in the United States and on Northwestside Records in the United Kingdom.
The album features production by DJ Premier, Ski, Knobody and Clark Kent, and guest appearances from Memphis Bleek, Mary J. Blige, and The Notorious B.I.G., among others. Similar to Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (1995), Reasonable Doubt incorporates a mafioso theme, while it also integrates topics such as betrayal and reminiscence.
The album peaked at number 23 on the Billboard 200, received platinum status in 2002, and sold 1.5 million copies as of 2006. Four singles were released, with the most successful being “Ain’t No Nigga” and “Can’t Knock the Hustle”. Reasonable Doubt has received strong critical reviews and has been heralded as Jay-Z’s “crowning achievement”, “a seminal work” and an “undisputed classic”. Over the years, the album has appeared on a number of famous publishers “best of” lists, including The Source, which selected it on their 100 Best Rap Albums, Blender, which included it on their 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die, and Rolling Stone, which ranked it number 248 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.