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Blueprint 2.1

JAY Z

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Album Review

Jay-Z kept The Blueprint incredibly tight, focusing on a single sound and letting nothing interfere with some of the best raps of his career. The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse was a radically different record, with the most respected rapper in the business trying on a range of styles, collaborating with a lot of guests and working with an army of producers (Neptunes, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Heavy D, Kanye West). Four months after its release, Roc-A-Fella issued Blueprint 2.1, a version of the record that cut in half the running time of the original and delivered most of the best material — the Neptunes' bounce track "Excuse Me Miss," the horn-driven blast of "The Watcher 2" produced by Dr. Dre (featuring Truth Hurts), and the record's biggest hit, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde," a slick R&B crossover with Beyoncé Knowles. Just like the original, Blueprint 2.1 ranges from unapologetically sexed-up party joints to theatrical epics and even takes in a feature for the prince of rock Lenny Kravitz ("Guns & Roses"). Yes, it is slightly more focused than its two-disc predecessor, but it's still a sprawling commercial monster that lacks the creativity of The Blueprint.

Biography

Born: 04 December 1969 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Embodying the rags-to-riches rap dream, Jay-Z pulled himself up by his bootstraps as a youth to eventually become the reigning rapper of New York City and, in turn, a major-label executive following his short-lived retirement from music-making. In the wake of his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z's albums sold millions upon millions with each release, and his endless parade of hits made him omnipresent on urban radio and video television. He retained a strongly devoted fan base and challenged whatever...
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Blueprint 2.1, JAY Z
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