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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Blueprint

JAY Z

2001

Buy At Rough Trade
The Blueprint
Album Summary

The Blueprint is the sixth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released on September 11, 2001, through Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. Its release was set a week earlier than initially planned in order to combat bootlegging. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2001 at Manhattan Center Studios and Baseline Studios in New York City. Contrasting the radio-friendly sound of Jay-Z's previous work, The Blueprint features soul-based sampling and production handled primarily by Kanye West, Just Blaze, and Bink, as well as Timbaland, Trackmasters, and Eminem, who also contributes the album's sole guest feature. At the time of the album's recording, Jay-Z was awaiting two criminal trials, one for gun possession and another for assault, and had become one of hip hop's most dissed artists, receiving insults from rappers such as Nas, Prodigy, and Jadakiss. The album is also famous for both its producers Kanye West and Just Blaze's breakouts as major producers. West produced four of the thirteen tracks on the album, including the songs "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and the controversial "Takeover", which included diss lyrics aimed at rappers Nas and Prodigy, while Just Blaze produced three tracks, "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Song Cry", and "U Don't Know", also including the hidden bonus track "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)". The Blueprint received universal acclaim from music critics, with praise being directed at Jay-Z's lyricism and the production. It is considered one of his best albums and has also been labeled as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Despite its release coinciding with the September 11 attacks, it sold over 427,000 copies in its opening week and debuted at number one in the US, holding the spot for three weeks. It was later certified 2x Multi-Platinum by the RIAA. In 2019, the album was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” being the first entry created in the 21st century.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.27

Votes

12846

Genres

  • Hip Hop

Reviews

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Sat Feb 20 2021
3

I'm addicted to buying unbelievably expensive custom helicopters (yeeeeeeaaahhhh) In a brief moment of lucidity I went to the helicopter dealership and told them "Do not, under any circumstances, sell me more helicopters" I was back there half an hour later, wearing a fake moustache, and I said "Hello gentlemen, I am Ray Z, a man you have never met before. Give me 10,000 helicopters covered in diamonds"

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Thu Jan 21 2021
2

A couple of good tracks but I'm not a massive fan of his style. I get it you have lots of money now but didn't always.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
1

Didn't seem genuine. I would describe it as the panhandler who drives home in his Mercedes. Music was very good, it just fell about whenever Jay Z opened his mouth.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
1

I never saw the appeal to Jay-Z. I find this record, and the rest of his catalog, trite and mediocre.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
1

70s-soul and pop infused, via garage rock / grind house filters. Bonus points for Osmond's sample in "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)." Interesting music / samples. But, it's RAP. Not enough melody. Too much swagger, cussin', and misogyny. If only there were more (any?) melody, and lyrics and not spittin'.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
2

Pop rap. Good music, guy is a great producer and can assemble a good beat/sound. The ego though, dude - just shhhh... If I could give a 1/2 star I'd error a bit higher - as is, enjoy your 2 stars, schmuck.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
5

First thought is that this sounds nostalgic, even though i have never heard it before. I like the opening groove on ruler's back, so richly textured, though the trumpets and brass is cheap sounding. The Takeover is one of those great follow-up tracks with a Fame callback. so good. Dude every track is incredibly crafted. I think that the track Renegade is the weakest one on the album

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Thu Jan 14 2021
2

Classic and appreciate his talent but not my cup of tea

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Tue Apr 20 2021
4

Honestly really enjoyed this album, haven't listened to a lot of Jay-Z before, but I thought it definitely was a classic, great album. Also, interesting that this is basically the last NYC rap album before 9/11, releasing right on the day.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
3

The only thing larger than the production values is that mans ego. Braggadocio is not my favorite means of expression.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
2

The lyrics are just not relatable for me.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
2

I’m not sure how Jay Z got to be a billionaire. The production is pretty great tho.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
2

Ok. Nothing different from most rap talking about being with lots of women and drugs.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
2

there's a reason i haven't listened to this before

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Tue Feb 09 2021
1

Idk, I don't see the appeal.

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Sun Jun 06 2021
5

Just incredibly good, obviously a foundationally important album. Renegade is astonishing. I could have listened to another hour of this, and I need to hear it again to pick up more from it.

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Thu Sep 02 2021
5

This is the sound of a newly-crowned king. Jay-Z is on top of the hip-hop mountain, and he’s executing anyone who challenges for the throne with precision. He’s telling the stories that made him king and cementing his legacy for generations to come.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
5

There aren’t any fancy beats on this album and it works well. The beats set the mood but otherwise stay out of the way of Jay-Z’s lyrical flow. Jay-Z’s style feels almost conversational. I appreciate that he doesn’t necessarily rhyme each verse. I admire the reverence he pays to those that took care of him growing up on Blueprint (Momma Loves Me). The distorted beats on Takeover are well placed to get my head bobbing. While I like Eminem’s appearance on Renegade is good on its own, it doesn’t really fit sonically with the rest of the album. I also recognize the Izzo (H.O.V.A.) line “Can’t leave rap alone, the game needs me” from its inclusion on Eminem’s Business from his album The Eminem Show. This is an album I will be listening to more in the near future.

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

Jay-Z is a lyrical genius (U Don't Know has some great lines), and his knowledge of pop culture is ridiculously extensive (check out The Ruler's Back). It makes it a lot of fun listening to his lyrics and what reference he'll slip in for a rhyme. His beats and mixes are cool too, easy to get into and move your head (or more) to. It's also surprisingly soulful (Never Change and Song Cry have their tender moments). I was surprised this was his 6th album - then saw he put out 6 albums in 6 years. Damn. One of the greatest rappers of all time and a damn good album (especially considering no massive hits on it).

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Sun Nov 07 2021
5

Not quite my subgenre, but I think this is a nearly-pristine hour of pop rap. The Kanye tracks have a special sparkle, but there is a ton of variety and very few low points. Eminem shows up and fits in well, though Renegade's subject matter rings hollow next to the lyrics and production of Takeover.

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Wed Dec 29 2021
5

Genre: East Coast Hip Hop 5/5 When it comes to rap album classics, The Blueprint is one of the true icons of the genre. From the beautiful and timeless chipmunk soul production, to Jay-Z’s quick wit and lyrical talent, this album is a sure fire hit for any hip hop fan. While I’m not sure it’s my favorite Jay-Z project, The Blueprint is still a force to be reckoned with. It became, for rap music at that time, exactly what its title suggests it is: the blueprint.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
4

Jay-Z was always big but this is before everyone's grandparents knew who he was. H to the Izzo is a classic. Takeover is ruthless. Girls, Girls, Girls is funny as shit. I like the reminder that before Jay-Z hung out with Obama he stabbed a guy in a club a month after this album came out. Definitely gets a little repetitive (drugs, girls, etc) but I like that each song has a structure and arc and sticks to a subject unlike most rap today. The middle of the album is little weaker and I was excited for Renegade but it was kind of whatever. Still, I think its great. 4.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
3

I can really see why people like this album. Every song is a head bobber Jay-Z has a great flow and some pretty entertaining bars (Pack heat like the oven door). But for me it just doesn't captivate. Jay-Z says up top that these are his thoughts but he must only think about money, hustling, women and hip-hop because there isn't much else he raps about on the album. I hate to say it but the Eminem feature was actually a welcome change of pace from Jay-Z's rapping. Not that what he does isn't impressive but for me this album is more about the beats. Kanye and Blaze's production really steals the show for me and I actually think I would enjoy an instrumental of this album more. I could easily recommend this to any hip-hop fan but for me it won't stay in my rotation. Favorite songs: Girls, Girls, Girls, Heart of the City, Song Cry, Renegade,

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Tue Jun 28 2022
2

Really don't like this - Jay-Z strikes me as an rapper with pretty limited skills, stuck on boring obvious content. Don't understand his status

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Tue Oct 03 2023
1

Bleh jay z. He’s the McDonald’s of rap.

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Thu Jul 11 2024
5

So as I’ve said before, I’m a big rock guy – and my exposure to rap and hip-hop has been extremely limited… I typically know the more popular tracks from a couple of artists, but that’s about it – so the 1,001 has forced me to listen to a number of rap and/or hip-hop albums so far, as I’m about 150 or so in right now… So far, I’ve had some NWA, Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Queen Latifah, Outcast – and a few others – but hands down, Jay-Z is the best rapper in my opinion, and this album was absolutely fabulous… - Love his style, and how clever and witty his rhyming is… I almost added “writing” as well, but from what I’ve read – it sounds like much of what he creates is spontaneous – which makes it even more amazing… - His songs are genuine, and far-less focused on “thug life’ as opposed to like “Doggystyle” by Snoop Dogg – and the lyrics are more about his rise and work ethic – which sends a much more inspirational message… - I found the musical tracks backing his raps, to be among the best quality when compared the 15 or so other rap albums that I’ve listened to so far… The vibe I get, is that either Jay-Z is way more detailed oriented than most of the rappers I’ve listened to, or most of the others either don’t really care all that much for the music, and or aren’t that detail-oriented (i.e. making sure that every aspect of the album is top-shelf) – or both… - Best tracks IMO were – “Takeover” – Loved the backdrop of The Doors track on this one, and exceptionally well done… “Izzo (HOVA) – Really enjoyed this, as well as the story behind how the HOVA name came to be – do yourself a favor and Google it… Great track… “Blueprint” – This one is really well done as well, and a great way to close the album… The rest of the tracks are incredibly solid – and there is great diversity throughout the album, although the weakest tracks were the 2 “Girls, Girls, Girls” tracks (i.e. certainly catchy, but not nearly as good as the other material on this album…) – and surprisingly, the Eminem track “Renegade”, was not nearly as good as I thought it would be… Fells like this should be a 5 – and I don’t give many of those (i.e. maybe 10% of the 150 or so albums I’ve listened to so far…), so that’s what I’ll give it…

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Mon Apr 29 2024
4

I actually prefer the “MTV Unplugged” renditions of these songs with the “Most Incredible Roots Band” backing up HOV. But this is the album that spawned those classics. Just peak Kanye as a producer and Jigga flexing … until Nas fired back with one of the greatest diss tracks ever.

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Thu May 30 2024
4

Good mixes, good beats, good god let's eat! The most unfortunate part of this album is the release date. Is it a bit dated? Sure, but I can forgive it. Jay-Z proved (on more than just this album) he had the chops to be at the top. Only thing now is how strange it is to hear him rapping about the shadiness of the music industry and those within it, given all the recent headlines.

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Mon Jun 03 2024
4

No. 193/1001 The Ruler's Back 5/5 Takeover 3/5 Izzo 4/5 Girls, Girls, Girls 4/5 Jigga That N**** 3/5 U Don't Know 5/5 Hola' Hovito 4/5 Heart Of The City 5/5 Never Change 4/5 Song Cry 3/5 All I Need 4/5 Renegade 3/5 Blueprint 3/5 Lyrical Exercise 3/5 Girls, Girls, Girls (Part 2) 4/5 Average: 3,8 Really good album, although my personal favorite from him is Reasonable Doubt.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
3

This was like 3 hours of songs I'm not allowed to sing along too. I've never been into jayz, but this was a quality listen.

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Tue Mar 30 2021
2

Love the music, but Jay Z's voice is a snoozefest

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Fri Apr 16 2021
2

The album was pretty average, in my opinion. A few songs were good, but most weren't. I struggled to finish the album. I don't think I'd ever revisit it properly again, not even the songs I liked really.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
2

People who spend 45 minutes rhyming about how much money they have and how much tail they pull make me roll my eyes. I find it nearly impossible to look past that to any artistic interest or cultural significance.

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Sat Dec 02 2023
2

Jay Z is a good lyricist and the production value on this album is top notch, but hot take: Jay Z is an overrated rapper. I just find his rapping so monotone. I skipped several tracks because they just sounded repetitive to me. This album was ok.

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Wed May 22 2024
2

Quite grating, featuring very little of what you might call songs and full to the brim of beats that go stale while a man goes on and on about nothing.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
1

I grew up on the suburban streets of Beavercreek I DONT RELATE

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Thu Apr 22 2021
1

20 years have passed, since this was released, and I must say, it still does little me. I spend my time trying to zone out his voice. And the drumbeat. Somehow I got to the end Not for me. Never again

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Thu Oct 14 2021
1

The point where I tuned out of commercial hip-hop Don't like this production at all. Rapping is good. No thanks

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Fri Jun 10 2022
1

The first discernable word on the album is "niggers" - it lost me at that point (about 20 seconds in). After that it's just spewing doggerel, not music, it seems to be political so why don't you just start a political party and run for office? 'Cos you definitely aren't a musician. I loathe rap. No stars.

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Mon Oct 17 2022
1

This is everything that I hate about rap in one album. A pompous asshole rapping about being rich and insulting people. Why can't you just be happy with what you've got, Jay? In a world with enlightened rappers like Blackalicious, Kendrick Lamar, Blue Scholars, Black Thought, Q-Tip, MF Doom, and so many others that actually have interesting things to say, I am truly baffled that anyone listens to idiots like Jay-Z, DJ Khaled and Kanye West.

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Mon Mar 06 2023
1

Honestly, I did not enjoy a single song on this album. I liked elements of some songs - some beats were nice, a few clever lyrics here and there. But overall, I just could not get into this at all. Maybe part of it is that I'm biased against Jay-Z himself. The sound of his voice grates on me. I gave it a go. I even listened to a few songs twice, trying to get into them more, trying to see if I just needed time to come around to them. But no. This just wasn't for me.

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Mon Jun 19 2023
1

Typical foul-mouthed rubbish. This is a zero star piece of crap.

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Sun Oct 08 2023
1

Impossible to get into because of the lyrics. Consistently distasteful, frequently sexist, occasionally homophobic and racist.

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Sun Dec 10 2023
1

what the fuck is he going on about? he's waffling on and on and all i can get out of it is that he's fucking mint and everyone else is a gimp. the only blueprint i'm getting off this is a blueprint for rap music for girls.

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Mon Jan 22 2024
1

Usually, I am quite open to listening to music in a different language, but I do not understand or appreciate or ever want to learn the language of Arrogant Tosspot. The language of misogyny, sexism and narcissism is something I never want to engage in. I appreciated the beats and samples, but the lyrics were horrendous. And the man’s attitude is distasteful, nigh on deplorable. I just wonder if he’s alienating the people he’s supposed to represent - if he really does remember his roots then stop bragging about the money and share it out properly.

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Sat Jan 27 2024
1

Blech! Rap is so not for Boomers. It sounds like crap to me.

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Fri Mar 15 2024
1

OMG! Rap sucks! Cheap sounding drum beats repeated endlessly with the same sound to the voice in every “song”. Listening to this junk is like banging your head on a brick wall for an hour. Garbage!

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Sun Apr 14 2024
1

was prepared to absolutely hate this. and I do hate this, though a little less than I thought I would. still, there's nothing interesting in this album whatsoever – same beats, same lyrics as all the other rappers in this genre. and while it's the only Jay-Z album I've heard so far, I think he's massively overrated. I even enjoyed the 50 Cent album more, and I hated that shit too

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Sun Jul 07 2024
1

Terrible. One of the few albums I couldn't stand to finish. Take generic simple beats, samples from better music, and drone talking about how much of a badass nigga you are and you have JAY Z.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

Classic, probably Jays best work

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Tue Mar 09 2021
5

“God MC, me, J HOVA” with beats from Ye, Just Blaze, and that one Eminem. Issa classic

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

More familiar with The Blueprint 2 prior to this, but still so good. (And H to the Izzo is the worst song on this album tbh.)

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

How can I give this album anything less than 5 stars?? The Blueprint just shows the magic that is Jay Z.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

Vraiment un bon album de jay-z. Renegade a elle seule fait monter la note mais l’album est tellement buen construit et c’est un classique du rap. 4.95

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

Classic, filled with bangers.

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Tue Apr 13 2021
5

Schwächste: Jigga That N. Beste: Takeover Spasigste: Izzo

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

One of my all-time favorite albums. Period.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
5

Jay's second best album, but still a 5. Only critique is Girls, Girls, Girls hasn't aged well but otherwise the album is really strong from beginning to end.

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Sun Oct 03 2021
5

Never been much of a Jay Z fan, but I think this album had changed that. It is top tier hip hop in every category. Just a monolith of excellence.

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Mon Nov 08 2021
5

There's no denying the absolute badassness of this one. Izzo alone rockets it up the list.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Classic. I wore this out back in the day. Fun to listen to again.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

Classic Hov. Love Eminem’s verse on Renegade and never change

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Tue Dec 28 2021
5

Great stuff, I don't know his discography that well but he sounds at the top of his game here. I like that this was, in part, a response to being dissed by a bunch of other rappers. I think we know who got the last laugh.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
5

It is a pure joy listening to someone this on top of their game

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Tue Feb 08 2022
5

Classic. Stonewall classic full of hip hop nosebleeders. Love it!

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

The title is apropos. It is The Blueprint for where Hov went next in his career. Some great singles and highlights mixed with underrated b-sides. A few fillers along the way.

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Tue Apr 19 2022
5

Listened to it a couple of months back for the first time... checks out

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Wed Apr 20 2022
5

Maybe his best. Great beats, he can definitely spit it (but taking on Nas? Sheesh...) And a nice Em guest spot.

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Mon May 02 2022
5

I don't even know what makes this so good, but it's so good. It's pure swagger, and they use real instruments. The music itself is much more complex than most rap music, and Jay-Z is just so . . . smooth, I guess is the word. I kinda hate that a lot of the credit goes to Kanye West, but whatever - he knows how to produce an album.

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Tue May 17 2022
5

I wish this was a bad album so I could make a joke about it being the worst thing to happen on September 11 of 2001 but unfortunately it's really good. The production is great on almost every song (some are very early 2000s) and all of the features are excellent too. renegade and u don't know are my favs

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Mon Jun 13 2022
5

It's been a long time since I came back to this album. Historically, I've always preferred Reasonable Doubt to this album. However, listening to this after getting a better understanding of the history of hip-hop, it's really hard to deny how incredible The Blueprint is. It has plenty of hits, but it also features a lot of the production styles that would be featured during the next decade of rap music. The name The Blueprint ended up being prophetic in that sense. I don't hand out 5 stars to many albums, and I wasn't anticipating doing it for this album, but I can't think of a single argument for why this album doesn't deserve it 5/5

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Thu Jun 23 2022
5

New York, 2001. So many so-called kings of the borough but only one looked as if he needed something to prove. And, for that, he laid out the blueprint and wound up making history. Not even the world shifting, beyond tragic events of the album's release date could halt JAY Z's inevitable trajectory as the true successor of Biggie's throne. Some may call this his greatest album (though others before or since have the right to assume that position) and it cannot be denied that The Blueprint set in motion a chain of events that would end up defining its makers and its genre for better or for worse.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

Hard to believe this is 2 decades old. Every song on this album is a masterwork and a breakthrough for rap that changed the game and level set the bar up into the sky. Triumphs. Ain't no love in the heart of the city is one of my favorites. All the references and shoutouts. Marvin Gaye, Jim Morrison, and many hauntingly beautiful samples I didn't know before I looked them up like Bobby Glenn's 'Sounds Like a Love Song'. The Blueprint is an album in my general rotation even today that I listen to when I'm feeling frustrated by everything and I want to rise above the chaos. Renegade is awesome. Eminem fits right in. Girls, girls, girls is the weak link in the album that I don't think will stand the test of time. Beasties did it on License to Ill and it doesn't hold up.

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Tue Aug 02 2022
5

The Rulers Back cheia de ideias, riff, vocais. Jigga That Nigga fantástica! Hola Hovito tem um synth muito bom. All I Need tem uma percussão interessante.

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Thu Aug 04 2022
5

Best Tracks: Takeover, Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Girls Girls Girls, U Don't Know, Hola' Hovito, Heart Of The City, Song Cry, All I Need, Renegade One of the best non-experimental rap albums. Production is insanely good. Jay-Z is good not great, but I don't think anyone could make something bad with these beats. Not a bad song on here.

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Tue Aug 09 2022
5

Great album. Great production and Hov is at his best with his lyricism.

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