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The Blueprint
Studio album by Jay-Z
Released September 11, 2001
Recorded 2001
Manhattan Center Studios, Baseline Studios
(New York, New York)
Genre Hip hop
Length 63:52
Label Roc-A-Fella/Island Def Jam
Producer Jay-Z (exec.), Damon Dash (exec.), Kareem "Biggs" Burke (exec.), Kanye West, Just Blaze, Bink, Timbaland, Eminem, Poke and Tone
Jay-Z chronology
The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
The Blueprint
The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse
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: August 8, 2002

The Blueprint is the sixth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released 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 and Just Blaze.[1] At the time of its 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.[2][3]

In spite of its release coinciding with the 9/11 attacks, The Blueprint sold over 426,000 copies in its opening week, 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.[4][5] The album received a perfect "XXL" rating from XXL magazine,[6] while The Source awarded The Blueprint a classic 5 mic rating.[7] The Blueprint received general acclaim from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 88/100 from Metacritic.[8] In 2003, the album was ranked number 464 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[9]



The Blueprint was reportedly cut in two weeks, with Jay-Z allegedly writing the lyrics in two days.[10] At the time, he awaited two criminal trials for gun possession and assault, and was engaged in feuds with various rappers, in particular Nas and Mobb Deep member Prodigy; on "Takeover", Jay-Z attacks the two Queensbridge rappers over a sample of The Doors' "Five to One"[6] with an interpolation of David Bowie's "Fame".[11] On The Blueprint, Jay-Z and his producers turn to vintage soul, fuelling almost every song with a stirring vocal sample: Al Green, Bobby "Blue" Bland, David Ruffin and the The Jackson 5. Exceptions include "Jigga That Nigga", "Hola' Hovito", and most notably "Renegade", a track produced by and featuring Eminem.

Blueprint Lounge Tour

In late August, Jay-Z announced a September-October tour in small venues.[12] Because of 9/11, the first two performances were rescheduled, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles were added and donated a dollar out of every ticket sold to relief organizations.

Reception and impact

 Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[13]
Robert Christgau (A-)[14]
Entertainment Weekly (B-)[15]
NME (8/10)[16]
Pitchfork Media (8.7/10)[17]
PopMatters (favorable)[18]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[2]
USA Today 4/4 stars[19]
Vibe 5/5 stars[20]
Washington Post (favorable)[21]

The Blueprint contained 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.[22] 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 rated as Vibe Magazine's "Best Album of the year", and even received a 5 mic (out of 5) rating from The Source (a distinction reserved for hip hop classics). Pitchfork Media named it the 2nd best album of 2000-2004, behind Radiohead's Kid A. The popularity and commercial success of the album 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.[23] Kanye West would later incorporate some of the production and sampling techniques he used on this album into his own solo albums (see The College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation.) 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."[24]



Track listing

# Title Producer(s) Samples and notes Length
1 "The Ruler's Back" Bink 3:50
2 "Takeover" Kanye West 5:13
3 "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" Kanye West 4:01
4 "Girls, Girls, Girls" Just Blaze
  • Contains a sample of "There's Nothing in This World That Can Stop Me from Loving You" by Tom Brock
  • Contains a sample of "High Power Rap" by Crash Crew
5 "Jigga That Nigga" Poke and Tone 3:24
6 "U Don't Know" Just Blaze
  • Contains a sample of "I'm Not To Blame" by Bobby Byrd
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
  • Contains a sample of "Sounds Like a Love Song" by Bobby Glenn
11 "All I Need" Bink 4:29
12 "Renegade" (featuring Eminem) Eminem
  • (Remake of early version of Renegade with Eminem and Royce da 5'9)
13 "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)" Bink
  • Contains a sample of "Free at Last" by Al Green
Hidden Bonus Tracks
* "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)" Just Blaze 3:45
* "Girls, Girls, Girls" (Part 2) Kanye West 4:14

Bonus tracks

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 superstar 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.

Chart history

Chart (2001)[29] Peak
Canadian Albums Chart 3
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 1
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 -
Chart procession and succession
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


  • Tony Vanias - Recording director
  • Damon Dash - Executive producer
  • Shawn Carter - Executive Producer
  • Eminem - Producer, vocals
  • Kanye West - Producer, vocals
  • Kareem "Biggs" Burke - Executive producer
  • Just Blaze - Producer
  • Jason Noto - Art direction
  • Victor Fitz - Organ
  • Josey Scott - Vocals
  • Shane "Bermy" Woodley - Assistant engineer

See also


  1. ^ Hoard, Christian. "Review: The Blueprint". Rolling Stone: 424–425. November 2, 2004.
  2. ^ a b Strauss, Neil. Review: The Blueprint. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  3. ^ Baker, Soren. Review: The Blueprint. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  4. ^ Basham, David (March 29, 2002). Got Charts? Jay-Z & R. Kelly, Cornell & Rage: Dynamic Duos — Well, Maybe Not. MTV. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  5. ^ RIAA Searchable Database. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  6. ^ a b XXL (2007). "Retrospective: XXL Albums". XXL Magazine, December 2007 issue. 
  7. ^ The Source's 5 Mic Albums. ListsofBests. Retrieved on 2009-06-17.
  8. ^ "The Blueprint (2001): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  9. ^ RS500: 464) The Blueprint. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-09-15.
  10. ^ Recounted by Jay-Z on the documentary Collision Course DVD. Collision Course. Jay-Z and Linkin Park. Roc-A-Fella/Warner Bros./Machine Shop Recordings. 2004.
  11. ^ Leroy, Dan. Review: The Blueprint. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  12. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2001-09-27). "Jay-Z Announces Blueprint Lounge Tour Dates". MTV. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  13. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. Review: The Blueprint. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: The Blueprint". The Village Voice: March 25, 2002. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05.
  15. ^ Hermes, Will. Review: The Blueprint. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-09-05. *Note: EW website posts incorrect rating (see Metacritic page)
  16. ^ Kessler, Ted. "Review: The Blueprint. NME: 41. October 6, 2001. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  17. ^ P, Ethan. Review: The Blueprint. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  18. ^ Neal, Mark Anthony. Review: The Blueprint. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  19. ^ Jones, Steve. Review: The Blueprint. USA Today: D.08. September 25, 2001.
  20. ^ Hampton, Dream. Review: The Blueprint. Vibe: 145–146. November 2001.
  21. ^ Fields, Curt. Review: The Blueprint. The Washington Post: T.06. September 21, 2001. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  22. ^ Rabin, Nathan. Review: The Blueprint. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
  23. ^ Exclaim! Canada's Music Authority
  24. ^ 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". Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74-84
  25. ^ "#20 Jay-Z-The Blueprint" Rhapsody's 100 Best Albums of the Decade. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  26. ^ "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 20-1". Pitchfork Media. 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  27. ^ "#4 Jay-Z-The Blueprint" Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Decade. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  28. ^
  29. ^ allmusic ((( The Blueprint > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums ))). Allmusic. Retrieved May 24, 2008.

External links


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