September 11, 2021

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

A young MC emerged from Brooklyn's Marcy Projects aspiring to be a rap superstar. After learning and surviving the harsh life of a drug dealer, lyricist Jay-Z began his inevitable journey toward becoming one of the most famed hip-hop artists in the biz. The six-figure ni**a known to millions as Jay-Hova or Jigga Man recently released his highly anticipated fourth Roc-A-Fella/IDJMG album, The Blueprint. His determination to rhyme helped Jay to leave his drug-dealing days behind and focus all of his energy on seeking out a record deal. Serious about rapping, Jay began to scope the scene. He appeared on several underground projects before he hooked up with Damon Dash, CEO of Roc-A-Fella, who talked Jay into a partnership. That link got Jay's rap career off the ground. In 1995 he released his first single, "In My Lifetime," which was a surprise hit in the core of New York's fastidious rap scene. His debut album, Reasonable Doubt, wasn't a top seller, but it did well enough to start a buzz. The following year Jay and Dash joined forces with Def Jam and released Jay's sophomore project, In My Lifetime, followed by Hard Knock Life and The Life & Times of S. Carter. Just as listeners recovered from the whiplash they suffered from the head-bobbing, c-walk anthem "Change the Game" and the raunchy sex single "I Just Wanna..." Jay released the lead single from The Blueprint, "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)." The album outlines comical bars and penetrating messages in Jay's distinct hood lingo, laced with Cristal, ice, Bentleys and gorgeous women. Sing along to "Girls, Girls, Girls" as Jay speaks frankly about his addiction, then enter the world of Jay-Hova in "Jigga That Ni**a" and "U Don't Know," a glimpse into the life of a rap star. Before you stop, take on the gangsta-influenced joint "Renegade," as Jay and fellow rebel Eminem exchange hard-core rhymes. No longer labeled a product of an unjust environment, the multimillion-dollar talent known as Jay-Z hits haters with another sure-to-be Platinum album. Though his last project didn't gain quite the reputation of its predecessor, The Blueprint reclaims lyrical victory for Jay. Enjoy. - October 5, 2001.

Is Jay-Z the King of New York? An Empire State of Mind by ToonCrew.