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Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)

June 26, 2014

[Album 325/1001]220px-Jay-z-the-blueprint

Jay-Z may have 99 problems but I believe only 3 of them likely stem from this album.

1. Inability to complete division problems
“4 albums in 10 years? I could divide, that’s one every…let’s say 2”

Silly Jay-Z, it’s 2.5, which would round up to 3.

Though he exhibits little difficulty in going the other way:

“You are now lookin’ at the forty million boy…In eighteen months, eighty million more
Now add that number up with the one I said before…I’ll triple my worth.”

So at least when it comes to adding & multiplying, no troubles.

2. Inability to write songs that I feel comfortable singing along with the lyrics

See track 5 (even just the track name) for maximum Office Space-esque, window-rolling-up discomfort.

3. On The Blueprint, he wasn’t selfish enough.

A strange complaint but one that became a problem when he generously shared the spotlight with Marshall Mathers.

The song Renegade felt like an exercise in cross-promotion, a bit like a guest star appearing on a TV show during ‘sweeps week.’

I remember becoming aware of this marketing strategy in high school while watching Friends.  In one opening sequence, much to the audible delight of the recorded audience track, Robin Williams & Billy Crystal showed up in the coffee shop.  Would you believe they had a movie coming out that coincided with the cameo?

Some fans may like guest spots, I get the appeal.  I often find them distracting/contrived.  Which may be why I really appreciated the Chris Martin episode of Extras (starting at 2:10).

Much as I like early 2000s Eminem, I bought a Jay-Z CD to hear Jay-Z and it took me out of the moment hearing Eminem rant about sub-par parenting.

So somewhere else along the way Jay-Z racked up another 96 problems because that’s it for issues here.

The Kanye-produced tracks (especially Izzo and Takeover) are the highlights & there’s some wisdom to be found in the lyrics.

A couple of noteworthy Blueprint quotes:

“Don’t argue with fools, Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who”

“You can’t sell me bullshit, we know the prices”

“Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?”

In answer to the third quote, there was no Blueprint skimming on my part.  I listened eagerly & often.

Finally, it’s not a line from this record but Jay-Z is also the author of one of my favourite quotes about entrepreneurship (thanks to my entrepreneur friend Rob for sharing):

“I’m not a businessman.  I’m a business, man!”

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From → 2000s

15 Comments
  1. Great thoughts and love the play on 99 problems. I just wonder where he racked up the other 96! Thanks for the shout out btw!

    • ’tis the least – and thank you sir for the quote, love those quotes where grammar counts.
      A colleague has a great poster in his classroom about the difference between knowing your sh*t and knowing you’re sh*t!

  2. I would have NO problem multiplying with Beyonce… just not in an elevator with her sister around.

    A buddy had a huge old Jeep Cherokee we called The Mothership had a killer stereo. We were Downtown Jane & Finch in T.O. one day blaring out Ice Cubes’ “Giving Up the Nappy Dugout” and suddenly realized we had the attention of EVERYONE. All the cars around us at the intersection, ALL the teens hanging out at the strip mall, and ours were the only white faces. We were not welcome there, and we left. Rapidly.

    • In the few times I’ve driven through that intersection I think I’ve managed to have green lights – good to know that discreet music choices might be recommended!

      • Well, that song was an exceptionally bad choice. And TJ had just installed basement security bars on side and back windows, giving us a bit of a “Road Warrior” vibe!

  3. I remember when guest appearances on albums were really getting out of hand a few years ago. It got really tiring

    • My first world problem: when hooking up my USB to my car stereo, for some reason it (or I inadvertently) sorted the folders by artist instead of album. So on those albums where just about every track is so and so feat.someone else (and a new guest every time!), I have to skip through dozens of folders to get to the next album.

      I lead a difficult life 🙂

  4. Much love for the Office Space and Extras references

  5. Office Space, FTW!

  6. Sure, Eminem stole the show, but no complaints here. No shoutout to Kanye’s “Heart of the City?” It’s like the best beat here!

    • No complaints about that track either!
      I’d say in terms of Jay-Z’s performance, it would get the bronze of the Kayne produced numbers

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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