The Blueprint – Jay-Z (2001)

Verdict – 9.0

The sixth album by American rapper Jay-Z was created at a time when Jay was awaiting multiple crime trials, and was receiving major disrespect from rival rap artists. He was always confident, but the fact was that besides his debut Reasonable Doubt, he had really failed to change the game as he always hyped himself towards doing. The Blueprint however, helped the ‘king’ reclaim his throne. The tracks are stronger, the lyrics tighter, the beats better.

On Takeover, Jay sends a reply to all those artists choosing to disrespect him, with the majority of the song dedicated to Nas, and closing the song with the great last lyric, “And all you other cats throwing shots at Jigga, you only get half a bar – fuck y’all niggas.” Izzo (H.O.V.A) is an album standout, an anthem for Jay as well as declaring Kanye to the world with his stellar production, he is also at his most modest (the 8th wonder of the world).

Girls, Girls, Girls is a playful tune that needs to be taken light-heartedly due to it being a very racist and offensive view of all the world’s females. When allowing for the humour here, it is one of the album’s best tracks. Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love) is another Kanye track, and is one of the finest moments on the record mainly due to the brilliant sample and production. Renegade is an interesting track, not only is it the only song to feature a guest rapper, that guest rapper actually kills Jay on the track (lyrically…). Eminem, who also produced the track, steals the song and delivers two of the tighter verses on the entire album.

No, The Blueprint isn’t perfect, the songs are not flawless. But really, the album could not be much better. Besides for maybe The Marshall Mathers LP, this was the first hip hop classic of the decade, and has served as a testament to how good the self-proclaimed ‘king’ is. As he states on Hola’ Hovito, “If I ain’t better than Big, I’m the closest one.” If it weren’t for The Blueprint being as good as it is, this would be deemed absurd, but really, it’s fair to say he backs it up.

Top Songs – Takeover, Izzo (H.O.V.A), Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)


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