Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Jay Z’s seminal debut album Reasonable Doubt. While many have chimed in this week about their own recollections and opinions on the record, Hov himself has decided to get in on the celebration with a documentary titled RD:20, which is now up and streaming on (where else) Tidal.
The impact of Reasonable Doubt can not be understated. The album is a 14-track masterpiece featuring guest turns from some of the biggest names in hip-hop history like the Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, and Memphis Bleek. Reasonable Doubt also set the foundation for Jay-Z to essentially take over the rap game in the years that followed.
Hitting the shelves at the exact moment when the East Coast/West Coast rap feud was at its fiery peak, a mere three months before Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas, and nine months before Jay’s childhood friend Biggy Smalls was murdered in Los Angeles, it re-established New York’s bona fides as the center of the rap universe in the face of Dr. Dre’s eminent L.A. G-Funk. It also established his independent record label Roc-A-Fella, run with Damon Dash, as a true force to be reckoned with.
This latest feature falls in line with the template that Nas set down just a couple of years back celebrating his own debut album with the film Time is Illmatic. Nas later went on an extensive theater and festival tour in conjunction with documentary where he played Illmatic in full. Don’t hold your breath in hopes for Jay to give Reasonable Doubt the same sort of public airing out.
You can watch the new film in the video above, or head here.