With the beginning of the rock revival thing last year, you’d never have suspected that 2001’s rockin-est album would’ve come from a black man from Brooklyn. But the truth is, Jay-Z put all the pretty boys to shame with the Blueprint – the beats were hard and rockin’, Jigga’s rhymes were first-rate and there weren’t any goddamn guest artists mucking things up.

Paul Wong
The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse
Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam

Hova seemed invincible after he dropped the Blueprint, but one year later, the Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse shows some chinks in his armor. Almost everything Jay-Z did right last year has fallen by the wayside in favor of unnecessarily eclectic production and needless guest appearances.

Blueprint 2’s beats lack the oomph of the last incarnation, which featured ballsy samples of the Doors and the Jackson 5 and other slickly produced beats. This time around we get cheap orchestral and keyboard samples, stupid soul-singer bits and silly acoustic guitar junk.

Even though Jay-Z is easily one of hip-hop’s smoothest MCs, he still felt the need to invite anyone and everyone to help him out on the Blueprint 2, including such dignitaries as Beyonc

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