Jay Z Originally Had More Songs Planned For Reasonable Doubt & A Different Sequence?

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Jay Z’s 1996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt, has made an immortal impression on Hip-Hop. The Roc-A-Fella Records breakthrough release featured involvement from The Notorious B.I.G., DJ Premier, Ski Beatz, and Mary J. Blige. Now platinum, the album is still considered Jay’s best (including by the artist himself), and spawned many hits.

Today, 2DopeBoyz premiered a story with exclusive photos surrounding the platinum LP, distributed by Priority Records. According to the LP’s Art Director and Designer, Adrien Vargas, the tracklisting was originally planned differently, with four additional songs.

Included in Jay’s original vision was presumably the first version of “Dead Presidents,” as heard on some early “Ain’t No Nigga” white label b-sides, and the later picture cover edition too. Jay closed with the remix, featuring new verses (the one most Heads seem to know best) Also included are “Hot,” “Tell Me,” and “The Hurt”: three songs that have never surfaced in 17 and a half years. Additionally, some guests are included, while others aren’t. Here’s a playlist of the album in what is being reported as the original order (minus the 3 unreleased songs) and the full tracklist is below.

There’s no sign of who’s handwriting is responsible for this list though:


As 2DBz’ Paul Thompson writes, the proposed sequence tells a very different story, introducing the masses to the mind of Shawn Carter.

For an album so cinematic and carefully curated, how do you think this would have changed things?

Related: It’s been 15 years since Jay-Z’s timeless Reasonable Doubt album was released (2011 Food For Thought)