The Blueprint

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For other uses, see Blueprint (disambiguation).
The Blueprint
Jay-z-the-blueprint.jpg
Studio album by Jay-Z
Released September 11, 2001 (2001-09-11)
Recorded July 2001
Studio
Genre
Length 63:52
Label
Producer
Jay-Z chronology
The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
(2000)
The Blueprint
(2001)
Jay-Z Unplugged
(2001)
Singles from The Blueprint
  1. "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)"
    Released: August 21, 2001
  2. "Girls, Girls, Girls"
    Released: October 2, 2001
  3. "Jigga That Nigga"
    Released: January 29, 2002
  4. "Song Cry"
    Released: March 23, 2002

The Blueprint is the sixth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released on September 11, 2001, on Roc-A-Fella Records in the United States. 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 verse.

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.[1][2] The album is also famous for both its producers Kanye West and Just Blaze's breakouts as major producers. Kanye West produced 5 of the 13 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 3 tracks, "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Song Cry", and "U Don't Know", also including the hidden bonus track "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)". Upon its release, The Blueprint received universal acclaim, with critics praising Jay-Z's lyricism and the production. It is considered one of Jay-Z's best albums and has also been labeled as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

Background[edit]

The Blueprint was reportedly cut in two weeks, with Jay-Z allegedly writing the lyrics in two days.[citation needed] At the time, he was awaiting two criminal trials for gun possession and assault. He was also engaged in feuds with various rappers, in particular Nas and Mobb Deep member Prodigy. In the song "Takeover", Jay-Z attacks the two Queensbridge rappers, using a sample of the song "Five to One" by The Doors[3] and an interpolation of David Bowie's "Fame".[4] On The Blueprint, Jay-Z and his producers used vintage soul as inspiration, including a vocal sample on almost every track from such artists as Al Green, Bobby "Blue" Bland, David Ruffin and The Jackson 5. Exceptions include "Jigga That Nigga," "Hola Hovito," and "Renagade," a track produced by and featuring the rapper Eminem, and the only track on the album featuring another rapper on verses.

Blueprint Lounge Tour[edit]

In late August, Jay-Z announced a September–October tour in small venues.[5] Because of the September 11 attacks occurring on the same day the album was released, the first two performances were rescheduled. Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were subsequently added, and Jay-Z donated a dollar of the cost of every ticket sold from the tour to relief organizations.

Reception and impact[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 88/100[6]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[7]
Blender 4/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly B−[9]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[10]
NME 8/10[11]
Pitchfork 8.7/10[12]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[1]
Uncut 5/5 stars[13]
USA Today 4/4 stars[14]
The Village Voice A−[15]

The Blueprint received rave reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 88, which indicates "universal acclaim", based on 12 reviews.[6] It contains a unique and balanced blend of soulful samples that had both street credibility and mainstream appeal, thereby garnering praise from all quarters of the hip hop community and receiving special recognition from critics.[16] Most consider The Blueprint to be one of Jay-Z's best albums, holding it on a level close to that of his debut, Reasonable Doubt. Upon its release, The Blueprint was hailed by Vibe magazine as Jay-Z's best album[17] as well as the best album of the year, while The Source awarded The Blueprint a perfect 5-mic rating, a distinction reserved for hip hop classics.[18]

The popularity and commercial success of The Blueprint established Kanye West and Just Blaze as two of hip-hop’s most celebrated producers. Furthermore, The Blueprint signaled a major stylistic shift in hip hop production towards a more Soulcentric and sample-reliant sound, creating a number of imitators who attempted to emulate the album's atmospheric style. Prior to The Blueprint, mainstream hip-hop producers had largely eschewed music sampling in favor of the keyboard-driven Timbaland sound (characterized by a shifting, syncopated rhythm, similar to samba or jungle music), due to the financial and legal issues associated with copyright laws. The Blueprint, however, revived musical sampling as a common practice in hip hop music and dislodged the digital keyboard-driven production style as the dominant sound in hip-hop music.[19] Kanye West would later incorporate some of the production and sampling techniques he used on this album into his own solo albums. Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "One of the greatest poets ever to pick up a mic released his magnum opus in 2001. One retirement and one un-retirement later, it's still his finest hour."[20]

In 2003, The Blueprint was ranked number 464 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time;[21] in a revised list in 2012, it was ranked number 252.[22] Pitchfork Media named The Blueprint the second best album of 2000–2004, and in 2010, it ranked fifth on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s list.[23] It is ranked at number 4 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Best Albums of the 2000s".[24] The album received a perfect "XXL" rating from XXL magazine in a 2007 retrospective article.[3] The Blueprint was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[25]

Accolades[edit]

Album of the Year

  • Ranked #4 in NME's 50 "Albums of the Year 2001".
  • Ranked #5 in Rolling Stone's "Top 10 of 2001".
  • Ranked #7 in Spin magazine's "Albums of the Year 2001".
  • Ranked #12 in Wire magazine's "50 Records of the Year 2001".

Best Album of the 2000s

Top Album

Best Album of the Decade

Greatest Album of All Time

Commercial performance[edit]

In spite of its release coinciding with the 9/11 attacks, The Blueprint sold over 420,000 copies in its opening week,[32] becoming Jay-Z's fourth consecutive album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart. It was certified double platinum as sales stand at over two million units in the U.S.[33][34] Sales as of February 2012 stand at 2.7 million.[35]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Ruler's Back"  
Bink 3:50
2. "Takeover"   Kanye West 5:13
3. "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)"   Kanye West 4:00
4. "Girls, Girls, Girls"   Just Blaze 4:35
5. "Jigga That Nigga"   Trackmasters 3:24
6. "U Don't Know"   Just Blaze 3:19
7. "Hola' Hovito"   Timbaland 4:33
8. "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)"  
Kanye West 3:43
9. "Never Change"   Kanye West 3:59
10. "Song Cry"   Just Blaze 5:04
11. "All I Need"  
Roosevelt Harrell 4:27
12. "Renegade" (featuring Eminem) Eminem 5:38
13. "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)"   Roosevelt Harrell 3:41

Notes

  • "Takeover" features additional vocals by Josey Scott.
  • "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" features additional vocals by Demme Uloa.
  • "Girls, Girls, Girls" features additional vocals by Q-Tip, Slick Rick and Biz Markie.
  • "Jigga That Nigga" features additional vocals by Stephanie Miller and Michelle Mills.
  • "Hola' Hovito" features additional keys by Scott Storch according to Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson from The Roots.
  • "Heart Of The City (Ain't No Love)" features additional vocals by Keon Bryce.
  • "Never Change" features uncredited vocals by Kanye West.
  • "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)" features background vocals by Schevise Harrell and Luren Leek.
  • "Girls, Girls, Girls (Part 2)" features uncredited vocals by Michael Jackson.

Samples

  • "The Ruler's Back" contains a sample of "If" performed by Jackie Moore, and an interpolation of "The Ruler's Back" performed by Slick Rick.
  • "Takeover" contains samples of "Five to One" performed by The Doors, "Sound of da Police" performed by KRS-One, and an interpolation of "Fame" performed by David Bowie.
  • "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" contains a sample of "I Want You Back" performed by Jackson 5.
  • "Girls, Girls, Girls" contains a sample of "There's Nothing in This World That Can Stop Me from Loving You" performed by Tom Brock, and "High Power Rap" performed by Crash Crew.
  • "U Don't Know" contains a sample of "I'm Not to Blame" performed by Bobby Byrd.
  • "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)" contains a sample of "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" performed by Bobby Blue Bland.
  • "Never Change" contains a sample of "Common Man" performed by David Ruffin.
  • "Song Cry" contains a sample of "Sounds Like a Love Song" performed by Bobby Glenn.
  • "All I Need" contains a sample of "I Can't Break Away" performed by Natalie Cole.
  • "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)" contains a sample of "Free at Last" performed by Al Green.
  • "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)" contains a sample of "Got to Find My Own Place" performed by Stanley Clarke.
  • "Girls, Girls, Girls (Part 2)" contains a sample of "Trying Girls Out" performed by The Persuaders.

Bonus tracks[edit]

As with Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter, Jay-Z put two hidden bonus tracks at the end of the final track. "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)" is 3:41 by itself. Twenty-five seconds of silence follows after and the bonus track "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)" begins. That song fades and is immediately followed by "Girls, Girls, Girls (Part 2)". It is reported that the latter song features uncredited vocals by Michael Jackson. The final track as a whole is 12:07. On the iTunes Store, however, these bonus tracks are released as separate tracks, thus making the album 15 tracks long. On the vinyl edition, there are no long gaps between the songs, but they are not printed on the back of the album jacket or record label.

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2001)[36] Peak
position
Canadian Albums Chart 3
Dutch Albums Chart 51
French Albums Chart 73
German Albums Chart 55
Norwegian Albums Chart 36
Swedish Albums Chart[citation needed] 30
Swiss Albums Chart[37] 59
UK Albums Chart 30
US Billboard 200 1
US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2002) Position
US Billboard 200 52

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart positions
Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Hot Rap Singles
2001 "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" 8 4 7
"Girls, Girls, Girls" 17 4 9
2002 "Jigga That Nigga" 66 27 7
"Song Cry" - 45 -

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[38] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[40] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Strauss, Neil (October 2, 2001). "Jay-Z: The Blueprint". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 2, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  2. ^ Baker, Soren. Review: The Blueprint. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  3. ^ a b "Retrospective: XXL Albums". XXL. December 2007. 
  4. ^ Leroy, Dan. Review: The Blueprint. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  5. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2001-09-27). "Jay-Z Announces Blueprint Lounge Tour Dates". MTV. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  6. ^ a b "Reviews for The Blueprint by Jay-Z". Metacritic. Retrieved June 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "The Blueprint – Jay-Z". AllMusic. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  8. ^ Pappademas, Alex. "Jay-Z: The Blueprint". Blender. Archived from the original on August 13, 2004. Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  9. ^ Hermes, Will (September 24, 2001). "The Blueprint". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  10. ^ Baker, Soren (September 16, 2001). "A Strong Crop in Fall's First Harvest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  11. ^ Kessler, Ted (October 6, 2001). "Jay-Z: The Blueprint" (Transcription of original review at talk page). NME: 41. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  12. ^ P, Ethan (November 6, 2001). "Jay Z: The Blueprint". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Jay-Z: The Blueprint". Uncut (55): 108. December 2001. 
  14. ^ Jones, Steve (September 25, 2001). "Jay-Z's 'Blueprint' has designs on chart dominance". USA Today. Retrieved September 5, 2009. (subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 12, 2002). "Consumer Guide: 2001 Gets Better". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  16. ^ Rabin, Nathan (September 11, 2001). "Jay-Z: The Blueprint". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  17. ^ Hampton, Dream (November 2001). "Jay-Z: The Blueprint". Vibe: 145–46. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 
  18. ^ Osorio, Kim (May 14, 2012). "5 Mics: Who Got Next?". The Source. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  19. ^ Exclaim! Canada's Music Authority
  20. ^ Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (December 11, 2009), "THE 100 Greatest MOVIES, TV SHOWS, ALBUMS, BOOKS, CHARACTERS, SCENES, EPISODES, SONGS, DRESSES, MUSIC VIDEOS, AND TRENDS THAT ENTERTAINED US OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS AND DECADES TO COME". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74-84
  21. ^ RS500: 252 The Blueprint. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-09-15.
  22. ^ [1]. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-09-15.
  23. ^ The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 20-1 Pitchfork Media
  24. ^ a b http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-best-albums-of-the-2000s-20110718/jay-z-the-blueprint-20110707
  25. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2. 
  26. ^ "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 20-1". Pitchfork Media. 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  27. ^ Critics' 20 Best Albums of the 2000s, Billboard.com
  28. ^ Videos, Teen. "The 50 Best Albums of the Decade (2000-2009) :: Blogs :: List of the Day :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  29. ^ "#4 Jay-Z-The Blueprint" Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Decade. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  30. ^ "#20 Jay-Z-The Blueprint" Rhapsody's 100 Best Albums of the Decade. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  31. ^ "#8 Jay-Z-The Blueprint" The Greatest 50 Albums Since '93. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  32. ^ Johnson, Craig (September 8, 2011). "Why Jay-Z's music still mattered on 9/11". CNN.com. Retrieved July 2, 2012. 
  33. ^ Basham, David (March 29, 2002). Got Charts? Jay-Z & R. Kelly, Cornell & Rage: Dynamic Duos — Well, Maybe Not. MTV. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  34. ^ RIAA Searchable Database. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  35. ^ Grein, Paul (2012-02-29). "Week Ending Feb. 26, 2012. Albums: Half of the Top 10 | Chart Watch (NEW) - Yahoo Music". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  36. ^ allmusic ((( The Blueprint > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums ))). Allmusic. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  37. ^ "Swiss Music Charts: The Blueprint". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 
  38. ^ "Canadian album certifications – JAY Z – The Blueprint". Music Canada. 
  39. ^ "British album certifications – JAY Z – The Blueprint". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Blueprint in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  40. ^ "American album certifications – JAY Z – The Blueprint". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Toxicity by System of a Down
Billboard 200 number one album
September 29 – October 19, 2001
Succeeded by
Pain Is Love by Ja Rule