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Black History Month Album Review: “The Blueprint” by Jay-Z

On Sept. 11, 2001, Brooklyn’s very own Jay-Z dropped “The Blueprint,” an album with strong bars and with strong production from many guest producers such as Kanye West. The album even features Eminem. The album has strong beats that echo hints of jazz and “old school” hip-hop. In this album, Jay-Z is constantly discussing his hustler roots and even takes the listener back in time. Jay-Z is also very cocky on this album, for example on the 7th track tilted “Hola Hovito,” he refers to himself as “Michael, Magic and Bird rolled in one” and  says “and if I ain’t better than Big I’m the closet one.”

However, the album is a product of its time, for example on the 4th track titled “Girls, Girls, Girls” discusses the myriad of women he has encountered, and on the track titled “Heart Of The City (Ain’t No Love)” Jay-Z says “males shouldn’t be jealous, that’s a female trait.” These lines and more are just a few examples that show hip-hop has come a long way. As it proves that what we call “harsh” in today’s environment would be trifled back in this album’s era.

Despite that, the album is a strong one and has been given many awards from being ranked number one on Complex magazine’s “The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s.” The album also has an emotional track titled “Song Cry,” where Jay-Z gets more personal with the listener and again we take a trip into Jay-Z’s past, and it seems that while Jay-Z may have a strong and powerful interior and exterior, there is a kind side to his hustler lifestyle and the song seems to be a reflection if nothing else.

“The Blueprint” is another piece of art that represents Black excellence, and while not everyone will agree or even relate to it, that isn’t the point. The album is unapologetic and it’s honestly great for when you want to get a good lift in at the gym or a good drive. After all, as Jay-Z says on the track “Renegade,” “I chose my own fate, I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.” After this album, you will feel like an owner and ready to take over the world whatever your fate might be. You will become a master of your life and yours alone. And that, everyone, is the blueprint to success.

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