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The Takeover, The Break’s Over: Jay-Z Reissues “The Blueprint” on Vinyl

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Timing is everything, especially in the hip-hop world. So what does it say about Jay-Z that he somehow managed to make a positive out of one of the darkest days in American history? A vinyl reissue of his landmark The Blueprint may provide some answers to that question.

The man born Shawn Carter had already established himself as a rapper/entrepreneur of the highest order. The grit and realism of his first album, 1996’s Reasonable Doubt, placed him high on the list of rappers to watch, particularly due to the implicit support of fellow Brooklynite The Notorious B.I.G. (Add to that his bold move of creating his own label, Roc-a-Fella Records, to release his work instead of waiting for a major label contract.) By 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, he was enjoying crossover success with the hit “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” produced by The Neptunes.

But his next effort, The Blueprint, was a conscious step in a different direction. Jay abandoned the pop sounds of recent albums, opting for a soul sample-based group of beats primarily helmed by two upstart producers, Justin “Just Blaze” Smith and Kanye West. (West later used Jay’s momentum and guidance to engineer his own majorly successful solo career, turning out a great album, Watch the Throne, with his mentor this past August.) There were poppy moments, including the Jackson 5-sampling “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and the Timbaland-produced “Hola Hovito,” but the album was characterized better through tracks like “Takeover,” a scathing address to Carter’s rap rivals, primarily Nas (this track incited one of the biggest rap feuds in recent memory, although it was settled peacefully in 2005).

The Blueprint was a critical and commercial success, moving 426,000 copies in its first week out. What makes that number so stunning was it was made the week after September 11, 2001. (The album was released that Tuesday.) Despite the unfortunate timing, the album lives on as a classic of the rap genre. And to celebrate its ten year mark, Jay-Z has overseen a 180-gram double-vinyl reissue of the album, available exclusively through his webstore. It’s limited to 2,001 copies, so speed and flow is of the essence.

Jay-Z, The Blueprint (originally released as Roc-a-Fella 314 586 396-1, 2001 – reissued JYZ52941, 2011)

  1. The Ruler’s Back
  2. Takeover
  3. Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
  4. Girls, Girls, Girls
  5. Jigga That Nigga
  6. U Don’t Know
  7. Hola Hovito
  8. Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)
  1. Never Change
  2. Song Cry
  3. All I Need
  4. Renegade (feat. Eminem)
  5. Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)
  6. Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)
  7. Girls, Girls, Girls (Part 2)

Written by Mike Duquette

October 6, 2011 at 15:09

Posted in News, Reissues, Vinyl

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