"Reasonable Doubt" was born out of that internal struggle to leave a life that, despite its inherent dangers, felt safe to a younger Jay Z. The album was released at the apex of drug rap, on the heels of Raekwon's crack rap opus "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx," a 17-song confessional on being trapped in the street, which opens with the words: "I ain't trying to just sit on $100,000 and be a drug dealer the rest of my life." "Reasonable Doubt" came a full two years after Nas released "Illmatic," a short album—only 10 proper tracks on the record—but it served as a long-form socio-political essay on the Reagan Era. Jay Z's first album came two years after Notorious B.I.G. successfully blended dark humor, drug tales, and material aspiration on his first album "Ready to Die."