March 5, 2007

Jay-Z - The Blueprint (September 11, 2001)

Yes, the release date is correct.

People often use music when they recall flashes from their lives, and this album is no exception for me. I remember leaving work for lunch, with the plan being to grab some grub and skate over to Best Buy to grab the new Jay-Z album and the new Killarmy (remember, I'm a huge Wu fan). I spent the morning with my coworkers watching television, listening to the radio on the intercom, and frantically trying to get online to find out as much information as we could about these planes that just hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and what the hell is going on?

In retrospect, the only real reason I left to buy this album was to commit to a sense of normalcy. It wasn't like I was getting any work done that day anyway. I hid in my office, avoiding phone calls and the constant news reports by blasting The Blueprint instead. This is how I got through the shock and horror of the Towers falling. (Not so much the Killarmy album.) I can't imagine how I would have acted had I not had a new CD to fully concentrate on.

For that reason, you could say that I'm grateful that this CD dropped that day. Had it been any other rap release, the street date would have been pushed back and I would have been forced to listen to the Clear Channel feed that every radio station adopted that terrible day.

1. THE RULER'S BACK
Slick Rick is here. Oh, Shawn's referring to himself. On an intro, of all things! The gall of this man!

2. TAKEOVER
Kanye West samples The Doors while Jay-Z takes pot shots at Mobb Deep and Nas. Most people have already heard this one, but if you haven't, you should. C'mon! Everybody's doing it.

3. IZZO (H.O.V.A.)
Kanye West samples the Jackson 5 while Jay-Z talks about himself. This was the huge hit single, for good reason.

4. GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS (FEAT Q-TIP, SLICK RICK, & BIZ MARKIE)
Oh, there's Slick Rick. Don't be fooled by the features; they all sing one hook each. Corny concept, but the execution is nice.

5. JIGGA THAT N---A
Somehow this song got some play on local radio. Which isn't surprising, since it sucks.

6. U DON'T KNOW
Just Blaze provides the heat. This song is fire. The only thing that could be better is a remix with M.O.P. Hmm...(thought bubble appears)...

7. HOLA HOVITO
One of the better beats for a Timbo/Jay collabo, with some of the worst Jay lyrics.

8. HEART OF THE CITY (AIN'T NO LOVE)
This album has a much more soulful bent than all of his previous work. My theory is that less Memphis Bleek equals better album. Sensitive thugs, you all need hugs.

9. NEVER CHANGE
Personally, I think it's good to have the ability to adapt to your situation at a moment' s notice. Not Jay, though.

10. SONG CRY
Just Blaze produced this? Weird. Weirdly sweet, I mean.

11. ALL I NEED
I remember thinking this song was hot the first time I heard it. Upon reflection, it's not on par with the great tracks here, but it's a hell of a lot better than "I Know What Girls Like".

12. RENAGADE (FEAT EMINEM)
It's okay, Shawn. Eminem's a white guy. You don't have to intentionally misspell your title to impress him. (Side note; the original version of this song, with Royce the 5'9" instead of Jay, is ten times better than this. Eminem does truly murder Shawn on his own shit.)

13. BLUEPRINT (MOMMA LOVES ME)
Yet another heartfelt song that Jay closes out with.

The album contains two bonus tracks:

LYRICAL EXERCISE
Jay beat-jacks Cormega's "Dead Man Walking" to great effect. The Jay on this song would totally kick the Blueprint Jay's ass just for considering looking at him funny.

GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS (REMIX)
Meh.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Truthfully, I like this album. It's no Reasonable Doubt, but it's the closest he'll ever come. Any review I write of this album, though, is tainted by the horror of the release date, and I can only be so sarcastic, you know?

BUY OR BURN? Buy this shit. Now. Steal from your mother's purse if you have to. Trust me, it's worth it.

BEST TRACKS: "U Don't Know"; "Takeover"; "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Jay-Z - The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
Jay-Z - Vol. 3...Life and Times of S. Carter
Jay-Z - Vol 2...Hard Knock Life
Jay-Z - In My Lifetime Vol. 1
Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt



9 comments:

  1. Looking back, I wish I would have done what you did. I was planning on getting off of work at 2:30pm and heading over to the store to pick this up. I never made it for the obvious reasons.

    I picked up that Saturday and blasted two times in a row until I went and got drunk at a wedding.

    I'll agree it's number two in the Jay catalog.

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  2. that was dave courtneys pic!! steal!!! and put ur head there =O get ur own pic

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  3. I can't believe i fell in love with this album LOL! weird for someone to say that but i thought this album was so good!! but my conscious kicked in about time,, this album is worthless, not even "take-over" saves it but i tell u which track does "Heart of the City!!!!"

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  4. Heart of the City only good song.

    Kanye's best beat of all time. Thx Bobby Bland.

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  5. Dude.

    Stop riding Cory's dick.


    This album has exactly the same hit-and-miss ratio that could never, I repeat, Never warrant a purchase as Nas's work post- It Was Written.

    That said, Takeover was fucking hot.

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  6. My selection for the greatest album of all time.

    I don't know what it is with Jay, but his detractors always have to make their presence felt with anything regarding him. (Just peep the comment section.)

    The significance of this album for Jay's career is what makes this his most important album album in his discography for me--even ahead of Reasonable Doubt.

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  7. Yes, I know I'm offending bloggers everywhere when I say this but,

    This was eye-fuckingly inconsistent with absolute heaters mixed with steaming piles of dinosaur shit.

    Some bias should be noted on my part, as this album is where he solidified his growing reputation as a one-of-a-kind asshole.

    I can never stress enough that this album is most certainly NOT a classic NOR does it ever deserve to be mentioned as one.

    h.o.v.a. is a steaming pile of crap.

    girls, girls, girls is the same horseshit that we're forced to listen to from ymcmb.

    hola hovito is the main reason why this album is ridiculously overrated. I'm talking 2Pac levels of overrated here.

    jigga that nigga is 50 Cent-levels of sell-out dung.

    Clearly, the Cory Carter who recorded The Blueprint is an entirely different man than the Jay-Z who recorded Reasonable Doubt. Hell, he's been different ever since In My Lifetime vol.1.

    As Reasonable Doubt would wipe its ass with every subsequent Cory Carter album.

    In closing, FUCK ANYONE WHO THINKS ANY ALBUM POST-REASONABLE DOUBT IS A CLASSIC.

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    Replies
    1. AnonymousJuly 08, 2015

      Something tells me you'd love Cormega's Thun & Kicko, in which Prodigy aims heaters at Jigga.

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