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Best album of 2001 | The rest of the Best of 2001
JAY-Z, The Blueprint, Roc-A-Fella
The 411 Online doesn't have to use the first few lines of this review to apologize for sleeping on Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, because we didn't. His debut album was labeled a certified classic in the print version of The 411 in 1996, so while other publications give The Blueprint a five-star rating but have to explain that it's still not better than an album they only gave four marks, we can label it another classic with confidence. Sure, we've handed out our share of $50s to Jigga since then. In fact, three in all. Some may even say it was the wrong three, but what no one can deny is that Jay-Z consistently puts out albums that top anything else out on the market at that time. Such is the case with The Blueprint. This is a true solo album. Only one guest spits a verse, and just like he did on Biggie's "Dead Wrong," Eminem seems to raise the bar on his lyrics when he's matched with a comparable MC. And Slim Shady isn't the only one who shows depth. Jay-Z gets deep. How deep? Deeper than "Regrets" on his debut. Deeper than "You Must Love Me" on In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 or even "Where Have You Been" on The Dynasty. Track after track, from "Never Change" and "Heart of the City" to "Song Cry" and "All I Need," seems to have more feeling than those of years past. To balance it out, there's plenty of upbeat singles to be found as well, like "Girls, Girls, Girls," "Hola Hovito," "Jigga That N----" and the first release, "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" To top it all off, Jigga rips Prodigy and Nas on "Takeover," which is probably the best dis to be unleashed since 2Pac's "Hit 'Em Up." This is without a doubt Jay's finest solo work since Reasonable. No hidden agendas and no excessive crew cuts. Just Jay-Z at his best.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- J Rough

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