Album Review | JAY-Z – The Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse

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This album was released on November 12th in the year of our Lord 2002. I don’t think I’m gonna like this shit. First of all, it’s a fucking double album, which is never a good sign. I think the only double album I’ve ever heard that I actually liked a lot was Summertime ’06. I don’t really remember. I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be one of Jay’s wackest albums. I don’t think it’s supposed to be as bad as Kingdom Come or Magna Carta Holy Grail, but I don’t think that’s really saying much. The streets are calling this a classic album. They’re obviously dickriding tho. The features look pretty good for the most part. It’s hard enough for me to get through a good JAY-Z album that’s only 13 tracks, so this is gonna be a struggle. I’m not gonna talk about the bonus tracks. I wanna get through this bull shit as quickly as possible. Alright, here we go.

Track 1: A Dream Feat. Faith Evans & The Notorious B.I.G. (Prod. Kanye West)

This beat is cool. The hook from Faith Evans is fine. The first verse from Jay was annoying. Oh. Woooooow. Of course he just sampled the entire first verse from Juicy. Smh… I mean, it’s a great verse, but… Really? You couldn’t have just… You know… Not done that? Why the fuck would I wanna hear this instead of the original song? This is just a really underwhelming track. I don’t think it’s wack. It’s just not good. There’s no reason to listen to this. It just makes me wanna listen to Juicy. The beat was kinda nice, but aside from that this isn’t worth listening to. It’s decent tho. I guess.

Track 2: Hovi Baby (Prod. Just Blaze)

Hovi Baby : U Don't Know

I’m not really sure how I feel about this beat. I kinda liked it at first, but it sounds kinda… Almost like it’s unfinished. Like, it doesn’t sound like someone was supposed to rap over this. I think I like it more than the previous beat tho. The first verse was fine. I like Jay’s flow on the hook, but the female vocals that say “it’s Hovi baby” sound pretty fucking terrible to me. Uuugh… The more I listen to this song the less I like it. The second verse was alright. This beat… I don’t like this shit. I take back what I said about it being better than that of the previous song. Just Blaze is one of the greatest producers of all time, but this shit isn’t working for me. His flow was nice on the final verse, but nah… I’m not feelin’ this one.

Track 3: The Watcher 2 Feat. Dr. Dre, Rakim & Truth Hurts (Prod. Dr. Dre)

This is a sequel to the original song that appeared as the intro for Dr. Dre’s classic album, 2001. I liked that song, but my favorite track in this series is definitely The Watcher 3 by Sylvan LaCue, even if it isn’t official. I doubt this’ll surpass that song, but I’m gonna keep an open mind. I doubt it’ll be wack. I just wanna point out that the first three placements on this album are really impressive. Kanye West, Just Blaze, and now Dr. Dre. I mean, they haven’t really been that great so far, but still. Alright, this one’s starting now. Oh fuck. This beat is awesome. Honestly, I like this beat the most out of all the songs. This first verse from Jay is actually hard as fuck. He killed that shit. His flow was great.

All of these rap singers claimin’ they bangers / Doin’ all sorts of twisted shit with their fingers / Disrespectin’ the game; no home training or manners / I was doin’ this shit when you was shittin’ your Pampers.

Just like with the original song, I’m not crazy about the hook. It’s not bad tho. The second verse from Dr. Dre was really fuckin’ dope too. It was apparently written by Ab-Liva, who does a lot of work with Pusha T. This is easily the best song on the album so far. It’s the first song that I actually like. Rakim fuckin’ slaughtered this shit. Okay. This is my favorite Watcher song. Jesus. I gotta do a Rakim Marathon… Lmao. Anyway, this shit is dope af.

Track 4: ’03 Bonnie & Clyde Feat. Beyoncé (Prod. Kanye West)

'03 Bonnie & Clyde

This is pretty much just JAY-Z’s version of Me & My Girlfriend by Tupac. It’s not really bad, but… It’s got the same problem as the first song. I’d rather just listen to the original song. Beyoncé obviously sounds better singing this shit than Pac ever did, but still… That’s really the only aspect of this song that’s better than the original. I generally don’t like love songs, so I definitely prefer the concept of the original song.

The problem is you dudes treat the one that you lovin’ / With the same respect that you treat the one that you humpin’.

God that’s so fucking stupid. I hate this idea that you can’t respect someone just because you’re having sex with her. I don’t know why that sentiment is so prevalent in Hip Hop. The song just ended. Naaah… Again, it’s not really a bad song, but I’m never listening to this shit ever again.

Track 5: Excuse Me Miss (Prod. The Neptunes)

Excuse Me Miss

This beat is great. There are some uncredited vocals from Pharrell. He sang his fuckin’ ass off on that hook. The first verse from Jay didn’t really do anything for me. It wasn’t bad tho. I just listened to the whole song. I actually like it. The production & hook from Pharrell are really the main reasons that I like the song. Jay did a good job not ruining it tho. This is definitely not one of my favorites from Jay, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. This is dope to me.

Track 6: What They Gonna Do Feat. Sean Paul (Prod. Timbaland)

Ugh… At first I thought it said Sean Price. I should’ve known that would’ve been too good to be true… Anyway, this song is starting now. I’m not feelin’ this beat. Uuuugh… This first verse is not good. God this beat is so annoying. This might actually be the worst song on the whole album so far. There’s not a single aspect of this song that I like. This hook is wack. I… I want to turn this song off. I can’t stand this beat, Jay’s flow is boring, and it’s annoying as fuck how he ends almost every line with the same word. I’m not feelin’ this at all. This shit is wack af.

Track 7: All Around the World Feat. LaToiya Williams (Prod. No I.D.)

Oh fuck. This beat is dope af. This is definitely the best production on this album so far. The first verse was actually really good too. Okay, this is awesome. The hook is really simplistic, but I love it. LaToiya Williams’ vocals are fantastic. I’m kinda shocked by how good this is. I wish every JAY-Z song was this good. Just like with the majority of Jay’s music, the lyrical content doesn’t really interest me at all, but his flow is nice. There’s not really anything I don’t like about this track. This is dope af to me.

Track 8: Poppin’ Tags Feat. Big Boi, Killer Mike & Twista (Prod. Kanye West)

Goddamn… This track is gonna be great. Well, I can’t judge it by the cover, but the features along with the Kanye placement definitely make this one of the more intriguing songs in the tracklist. It’s starting now. There’s an uncredited hook from Sleepy Brown. This is already great. Gotdamn. Jay’s flow on this first verse is fuckin’ awesome. His verse was actually really good. Of course Twista murdered it. His flow was on point as always. Killer Mike’s verse was dope. Big Boi killed it too. All of them did a great job, but I think I was most impressed by Jay’s verse just because I wasn’t expecting him to rap that well. Anyway, just like with the previous track, there’s not really anything I don’t like about this song. This is dope af.

Track 9: Fuck All Nite (Prod. The Neptunes)

Oh God… This hook from Pharrell is terrible. I could’ve predicted just from the title that I wasn’t gonna like this song.

She keeps scratching me like she have tiger in her / This is exactly why I had to pin her to the bed like a wrestler / Had to pretzel her; her man kept paging, stressing her.

Why the fuck would I care to hear something like this? I don’t even care about my own sexual activities, so why would I be interested in Jay’s? I don’t even like this beat. This is even worse than the Sean Paul song. Do I even need to say anything else about this track? I think it’s already pretty clear what I think. This shit is wack af.

Track 10: The Bounce Feat. Kanye West (Prod. Timbaland)

Oh shit. Timbaland fucked this beat. I like the way Jay’s flowing over it. He starts off by bragging about how Bin Laden couldn’t stop The Blueprint from succeeding. Personally, I’m not one of those “patriots” who raps himself in an American flag and starts crying whenever someone brings up 9/11, but I also didn’t know anyone who was killed on that day. After all, I was only 2 years old. People who were directly affected by 9/11 might have a problem with that line, but it doesn’t bother me personally. I wouldn’t have said something like that personally if I was Jay tho. Anyway, the first verse was great. This is actually a pretty dope song so far. The hook is cool. Jay killed that second verse. Kanye’s about to go in now. This should be interesting. I haven’t heard many pre-College Dropout verses from him. Eh. It was cool I guess. Jay definitely did a lot better tho. Anyway, this is definitely one of the best songs on the album so far in my opinion. I don’t really have any problems with it. This is dope af to me.

Track 11: I Did It My Way (Prod. Jimi Kendrix & Big Chuck)

This is the final track from The Gift. This beat is fantastic. This Paul Anka sample sounds amazing. Uh oh… When the percussion actually drops, this beat sounds like it’s gonna be really dope, but there’s this really repetitive, high pitched guitar note that comes in, and it’s annoying as fuck. The hook is nothing special, but the verse was cool. Uugh… I really want to like this song more than I actually do. It’s not that good tho. The beat really ruined this shit for me. I don’t think it’s a bad song at all. I’m not ever gonna listen to this shit again tho. It’s decent.

Track 12: Diamond Is Forever (Prod. Ron Feemster & Big Chuck)

Okay, this is the first track from The Curse. It’s starting now. Okay, this beat is fucking awesome. The hook is cool. Okay, he’s killin’ this first verse. This is probably my favorite beat on the album so far. Ron Feemster & Big Chuck fucked this shit. This is a really good start for The Curse. The second verse was dope af. I can see how some people might think the female vocals that come in during the hook are corny, but I personally didn’t mind it. This is definitely one of the best songs on this project in my opinion. I have no problems with it. This is dope af to me.

Track 13: Guns & Roses Feat. Lenny Kravitz (Prod. Heavy D)

…Huh… Um… Okay, I guess this should be interesting. It’s starting now. Damn… This beat is great. Okay, The Curse is actually off to a really good start. I heard that it was worse than The Gift, so it’ll probably go downhill eventually, but I’m enjoying it a lot so far. The first verse was cool. The hook is really simplistic. It’s just Lenny sayin’ “C’MAOWN.” It doesn’t really add anything to the song. The second verse was cool. Honestly… The more I listen to this the more uninterested I become. It’s just not really holding my attention. I’m not really feelin’ the bridge from Lenny Kravitz either. He was singin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off, but it just sounds a little too clean for me. The final verse was cool. Ugh… This isn’t a bad song at all. I just don’t think I’d ever wanna listen to it again. Maybe if the hook was better I’d like it more. Whenever Lenny Kravitz starts singing I get PTSD flashbacks from that Tech N9ne Marathon. I’m not really feelin’ this one. It’s not bad, but nah.

Track 14: U Don’t Know (Remix) Feat. M.O.P. [Prod. Just Blaze]

HOOLLY FUUUCK. LMAO. Gotdamn. Lil Fame is spittin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off on this first verse. This shit is hard as FUCK. Just Blaze completely redid the beat for this remix, and it sounds fucking pristine. Lil Fame slaughtered that first verse. Billy Danze’s verse was really good too, but Fame still has the standout performance on this song so far. Jay’s verse was really nice. M.O.P. really stole the show tho. Jay’s not really capable of keeping up with their energy, so they definitely stood out more. Jay’s verse wasn’t bad at all tho. I liked it. Fuck. Okay, this is a really fucking good song. I definitely fuck with this track. It’s dope af.

Track 15: Meet the Parents (Prod. Just Blaze)

Man, the production on The Curse is really fuckin’ good. Just Blaze fucked this shit. Jay’s tellin’ a story about some kid that didn’t have a father and grew up to be one bad ass motherfucker in the streets. Oh shit. Okay, he’s dead now. Jay’s focusing on his mother now, who’s become a hardcore drug addict. Woah. Okay, this is a really detailed story. I didn’t think Jay could rap like this. I mean, I obviously knew he was capable of making this kinda music, but I didn’t actually expect him to do it on this album. This is fantastic. Daamn… Okay, the way this song ends is crazy. This song is fucking awesome. I don’t wanna spoil this story. I guess if you think hard enough you can probably guess what happens. I kinda predicted what was gonna happen before the song actually ended, but it’s still really good. This shit is dope af to me.

Track 16: Some How, Some Way Feat. Beanie Sigel & Scarface (Prod. Just Blaze)

This beat isn’t bad. The hook is nothing special. The first verse was fine. Beans did his thing. Scarface definitely had the best verse. The song just ended. Meh… It’s just a really forgettable track. The only thing that really stood out to me was the verse from Scarface, and even that wasn’t enough to make this shit worth coming back to. It’s an alright song I guess.

Track 17: Some People Hate (Prod. Kanye West)

This beat is dope. The first verse was cool. The hook is nothing special. The second verse was kinda nice. Hmm… I feel like this is a good song, but it’s not the kinda track I’d ever wanna hear again. I kinda enjoyed it, but there’s not really any replay value. I like the beat. The verses were cool. I don’t know. It’s just not holding my attention. It’s definitely not bad tho. I just won’t ever be listening to this again.

Track 18: The Blueprint² (Prod. Charlemagne)

This beat is dope af. The first verse was nice. The hook’s nothing special. Hmm… Is he… Is he dissing Nas again? Why have I never heard of this song? Nobody ever brings up this track when discussing Nas & Jay’s beef. So I guess Last Real Nigga Alive was responding to this song. That’s cool. In the hook Jay says that The Blueprint² is “on the way.” That reminds me of the “Culture album coming soon” line in the first track from Migos’ latest project. Anyway, that Austin Powers reference in the hook is really fuckin’ corny, but it’s not bad enough for me to actually penalize this track. At first the second verse is more defensive than offensive, but he eventually starts slandering Nas after the first handful of lines.

Y’all buy the shit; caught up in the hype / ‘Cause the nigga wear a kufi it don’t mean that he bright / ‘Cause you don’t understand him, it don’t mean that he nice / It just means you don’t understand all the bullshit that he write / Is it “Oochie Wally Wally” or is it “One Mic?” / Is it “Black Girl Lost” or shorty owe you for ice? / I’ve been real all my life, they confuse it with conceit / Since I will not lose, they try to help him cheat / But I will not lose, for even in defeat / There’s a valuable lesson learned, so it evens up for me.

You can kinda tell that Jay felt like he was losing the war. He seemed to be bothered by the general opinion that Ether was the better track. That Supa Ugly response certainly didn’t help. The song just ended. Umm… Okay… I don’t know… Lemme just get this outta the way; this is definitely NOT a bad song. I actually like it. It’s dope. I just… Well, I’ll go ahead and rank the disses in order from best to worst in my opinion. Last Real Nigga Alive > Ether > Takeover > The Blueprint² > Supa Ugly. I think that’s all of ’em, right? Again, like I said when I was reviewing The Blueprint, I’m a borderline stan of Nas, so you might wanna take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I’ve never been a fan of Jay, but I try to be objective when it comes to disses. This is a really good song. It’s not as hard hitting as the other songs tho. Except Supa Ugly. Supa Ugly was not good lol. I think this song has better production than Last Real Nigga Alive, but Nas himself is what makes that song so much better. People say that Takeover has more substance than Ether. Last Real Nigga Alive definitely has more substance than this song tho. In fact, Last Real Nigga Alive is one of the most substantive diss tracks I’ve ever heard. I’m glad this song happened tho. I’ll take any diss track I can get. This shit is dope.

Track 19: Nigga Please Feat. Young Chris (Prod. The Neptunes)

Nigga Please

Hmm… This beat sounds really familiar. Have I heard this song before? Maybe I heard another artist rap over it. It’s dope af. Pharrell’s on the hook. It’s fine. The first verse from Jay wasn’t bad. He did his thing on the second verse too. Young Chris’ verse was good, but he sounded a lot like Jay. They used pretty much the same flow. I like the song tho. I’m actually kinda shocked by how much I’m enjoying The Curse so far. I thought it would be a lot worse than this. Anyway, I fuck with this song. It’s dope.

Track 20: 2 Many Hoes (Prod. Timbaland)

This beat isn’t bad. Uuuuh… I’m not sure how I feel about the way he started this first verse…

Why is you over here lookin’ at me while all these girls up in here? / What you gay, nigga? Jay straight like indian hair / Y’all don’t want me to spray the semi in here.

So… Is he saying that if there’s a gay dude checking him out, he’ll shoot everyone in sight? What is it with rappers and mass murdering people in the LGBTQ+ community? Remember Stay Out of Bars by GZA? He’s saying almost the exact same thing… Eugh… I’m not feelin’ the first verse. The hook is pretty terrible. I get what he was going for with this song, but the hints of homophobia make this unenjoyable for me. I’m not feelin’ this shit. It’s wack.

Track 21: As One Feat. Memphis Bleek, Freeway, Young Gunz, Peedi Crakk, Omillio Sparks & Rell (Prod. Just Blaze)

I don’t know if I’m gonna like this one. I’m not really a fan of any of these guys. Rell is really dope, but aside from him all these MC’s are pretty average to me. It’s starting now. Oh God… Oh no… No… NOO… I’m actually not feelin’ the vocals from Rell on the intro, and this beat is NOT good… This is… This is not good… The beat… Why the motherfuck would I wanna hear all these average ass rappers spit half-assed bars over this disco shit? What the fuck is this trashy ass Pop Rap shit? Young Gunz were terrible on this shit. So far every MC sounds like they were wasted when they recorded this shit. This melodic delivery that they keep trying to end every other bar with sounds awful too. Jesus. There’s an uncredited feature from Beanie Sigel. It’s not good. What the fuck am I listening to right now? This is bad even for JAY-Z. This whole song is just such a reach… What the fuck were they thinking? This is like Nastradamus level trash. Okay, I’m fucking done. I can’t finish this shit. This song is fucking horrible. This is probably the worst JAY-Z song I’ve ever heard. This song is dogshit.

Track 22: A Ballad for the Fallen Soldier (Prod. The Neptunes)

I guess I spoke too soon when I said I was shocked by how good The Curse was… Smh… Alright, I’ve finally gotten to the final track. There are technically three bonus tracks after this song, but there’s no way I’m sitting through another 9 minutes of mediocrity before moving onto The Black Album. Anyway, this track is starting now. Oh… Umm… What the fuck? Who the hell is this singing the hook? I’m not feelin’ it… Lemme see… Okay, apparently it’s some guy named Marc Dorsey. Never heard of him. Fuck. The first verse from Jay was really fuckin’ good. I just wish this hook wasn’t here. The beat’s fine. Fuuuck. Lyrically, this is one of the best songs on the album. I’m just not feelin’ it sonically. Smh. That’s so unfortunate. Whatever. It is what it is. This isn’t a bad song at all. The hook just ruined it for me. It’s decent tho.

Final Thoughts:

Holy fuck. It’s over. It’s finally over. I’m so sorry that it took this long y’all. I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to this shit. It was so boring. I went more than a week without listening to this shit. I don’t even think it’s that bad tho. It’s definitely not good, but I don’t even think it’s Jay’s worst work at this point in his career. Well… It’s tied with Vol. 3 honestly. I guess if I had to choose one over the other I’d go with Vol. 3 since it’s not as long winded. So yeah, I guess this is his worst album so far. It’s not bad tho. If you’re a Jay fan, it’s definitely worth listening to. There are some really good songs on this project. If you’re like me, I don’t know if you should try this album. Maybe just skim it. It’s really fuckin’ long. It’s decent tho. It’s not like I didn’t get anything outta this album. It really felt like work tho. Music shouldn’t ever feel like work for the listener. So yeah. I think it’s pretty clear how I feel about this project. It’s not good. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be tho. It’s okay.

Favorite Song: Meet the Parents

Least Favorite Song: As One

Verdict:

C

60-69

Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album

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One comment

  1. I remember it was around when this album dropped, me and my older brother recorded a CBS News Interview on our VHS player (or it might’ve been 60 Minutes, can’t remember tbh). That had Jay on it because they were talking about negative impact of lyrics and whatnot it was a good watch, but seemed to have lost all our VHS collection after we moved to our current home.

    Jay has always been riding Biggie’s coattails since 1994. So anytime he mentions BIG I just know he’s gonna go to an extra level of corniness.

    I remember hearing ’03 Bonnie and Clyde in October of ’03, radio and mainstream press went wild with the news of this collab…..little did we all know back then that this is would bloom into a full on relationship, and what even irks me is how he decided to make that song even though Pac completely despised him.

    The thing with (Old-er) Rappers and the LGBTQ+ community is that in a Culture deeply rooted in machismo there’s no room for an “unnatural lifestyle” and parrot the idiocy spewed by the Church folk or Minister Farrakhan/NOI in terms of Homophobia. It’s disgusting.

    Tangent aside, this album was too long and should have been at least 15-18 tracks at the least, and like I said before it’s mind numbing going through 20+ tracks if they’re all equally boring outside of certain songs.

    Great Job Nick!

    Liked by 1 person

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