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VIBE's Original Jay-Z 'The Blueprint' Review ('01)

Jay-Z The Blueprint - Roc-A-Fella/ Def Jam


There’s this subculture of cyber thugs in hip-hop-ex-Dungeons & Dragons dweebs who are scared of life in generalthat never gives MCs anything past their first album. EPMD? Ended with Strictly Business. Biggie? They only bump Ready to Die. Cube? AmeriKKKa’s  Most Wanted is where it begins and ends. Jay? Reasonable Doubt. Period. They get sour when sales soar.  Scream rap treason when artists reach beyond hip-hop’s xenophobic hamlet. Generally, Jay is dismissive of these loners, hovers above their closed worlds. But with The Blueprint , his sixth album in as many years, he’s submitted what could be read as the second half of the double album that began with 1996’s Reasonable Doubt. Like a bookend, or the second key on a double bolt lock. Only better.

That Jay should make his best album some 75 songs after his first defies the laws of nature. He blasts off Blueprint with “The Ruler’s Back,” both a nod to Slick Rick and a reassertion to JayZ’s reign. On "In My Lifetime, Vol. 1’s “The City Is Mine," he asks his ungrateful peers , “Where is the Love?.../ Oh you ain’t feeling me?/ Fine/…Sensitive thugs/ Ya’ll need hugs.” Still he keeps bringing out heavy artillery for MC’s who simply don’t want it.

Of course there are a few exceptions to this phenomenon. Prodigy and Nas got talked into beef with Jay and are probably living to regret it. “Takeover “ is Jay’s response to both rappers. “Don’t let me do it to you/ ‘Cuz I overdo it ,“ he warns. Boy, does he ever. A master of economy, Jay is able to say in one line what it takes some writers entire songs to get across : “You little fuck  / I got money stacks bigger than you”. I refuse to comment further on these battles. I like when people are alive. Making hit records or not.

Thankfully, we ladies get way more love on Blueprint. But I’ve never bought JayZ’s whole pimp thing. He’s what I call an unconvincing misogynist.  His videos-where bikini-clad models end up drenched in bubbly-are a combination of peer pressure and unnecessary pandering to the South. “Girls, Girls, Girls” may be read as plain sexist by sisters with no imagination, but all he’s really guilty of on this one is using us as a subject prop for what is inarguably the most unique and complex rhyme construction on the album.

“Song Cry” is a lament over the love he lost to immaturity:  “I was just fucking those girls/ I was gon’ get right back…” Like Reasonable’s “Regrets,” “Song Cry” and the title track are remarkable for their candor. He’ll probably  never submit an all-out diary, but moments like these are gold, helping us understand not just “the mind of a hustler,” but his very heart.

The real surprise on Blueprint is Jay’s experimentation with tracks. Timbaland’s “Hola’ Hovito,” “U Don’t Know,” and “Takeover” are rap rock-pure hard-core head-banging in the tradition of KRS-One’s “I’m Still #1”. Ever icy, Jay never raises his voice, proving you don’t have to yell to rage. Divided between this new kind of metal and the soulful sounds of “ Heart of the City,” Blueprint  is made cohesive by the consistency of its pilot, no matter the change in speed.

At his worst Jay is guilty of sounding bored with his own ability. At his best, he is our cleanest poet, rethinking space. With his laserlike intelligence (focused, man) Jay could’ve followed one of two paths : either lock himself in a basement and build mail bombs, or write rhymes. He writes rhymes. He won’t stop.

SEE ALSO → The Blueprint Turns 10: VIBE Salutes Jay-Z's G.O.A.T. Album [Interviews, Essays & Debates] 

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Police Forced A Bronx Woman To Give Birth While Handcuffed

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According to a lawsuit filed, the woman has asked to remain anonymous. “I haven’t made sense of it myself and I’m not ready to explain it to my child,” she said in an affidavit.

The woman was 27 at the time endured an hour of excruciating labor pains before the guard relented and freed one of her arms. Jane Doe was only fully free nine hours after giving birth.

“The fact that pregnant women and women in labor would be subject to the most draconian treatment imaginable, particularly when they stand accused of a misdemeanor, speaks volumes about the macho culture of police departments and corrections,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said.

A judge arraigned Jane Doe in her hospital bed for violating a protective order. The woman's lawyer Katherine Rosenfeld explained to the New York Times the order stemmed from a protective-custody case involving her former partner. Ms. Doe spent almost 30 hours in protective custody.

“The fact that they disregarded the medical advice of doctors suggests that they didn’t use any humanity and sort of blindly followed what they perceived to be the policy in the Patrol Guide,” Ms. Rosenfeld said.

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A Man Claiming To Be El Chapo's Nephew Threatens To Have Tekashi Mother Deported

In the never-ending saga of Tekashi 6ix 9ine, The Daily Beast has obtained a voicemail recording of a man alleging to be El Chapo's nephew and using the proposed connection to threaten the rapper's mother with deportation.

“His brother lives there. His mother lives there. She don’t even have no f**king papers,” he can be heard saying.

Jose Avila left a 49-second voicemail on Nov. 15 after the rainbow hair rapper failed to show up to an appearance he was promoting in Austin, Texas. At the time, Tekashi was on probation for a sex video stemming from 2015 involving a 13-year-old girl. Avila threatened to use his connection to have Tekashi placed in jail.

“I know a lot of government people and I’m going to send his ass to jail if he doesn’t come to Austin, Texas, today. He f**king makes me lose money already.” Avila said. "He needs to f***king come and be a fucking man. Or I’ll put his ass in jail.”

Reportedly, Tekashi wasn't made aware of the threats of imprisonment, but he did know of the supposed family connection because Avila texted Tekashi's booking manager, Tasea Ferguson.

“My uncle [is] in New York,” Avila reportedly texted. “Guzman Loera... My uncle sons control all USA.”

El Chapo's full name is Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera and he's currently on trial in Brooklyn. The allegation Avila leveled proved to be false. El Chapo's attorney Jeffrey Lichtman denied knowing of any nephew by that name.

When Tekashi, real name Daniel Hernandez, finally got in contact with Ferguson, he was brought up to speed and took to social media to announce he wouldn't be in Austin, Texas that evening.  “I spoke to the promoter, Jose Avila with Avila Music. We are going to be in business. I am coming back to Austin, Texas.”

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"There’s nothing to manage. Danny’s in jail.”

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Lil Mama To Bow Wow: "I Will Slap The Sh*t Out Of You"

Her stage name may be Lil Mama, but Niatia Jessica Kirkland calmly yet assertively addressed disparaging comments made about her like an adult.

The 29-year-old Harlem native took to social media Saturday (Dec. 8) to vehemently refute Bow Wow's implications she was interested in him romantically and has been with several men in her past.

"I want to start this off just by saying you played yourself, kid," Mama said. "Bow Wow, you know, that in all the years that I've ever known you, you have never known a n****r to f**k me in a week. So to even give BT advice like 'Oh y'all gonna be f**king in a week.' you're being a clown."

Lil Mama then explained the only reason she invited Bow Wow to New York was to help provide a bit of stability, and that his insinuations she wanted anything more are false.


"I was trying to bring you around some real n****s. You want to commit suicide one day. You're going crazy here. You're going crazy there. I come from a grounded environment that I was trying to bring you to. We're doing a TV show. We're creating content. You are far from the type of man that I could see myself being with, sleeping with or anything of that nature."

Lil Mama didn't dwell on the topic too long, an ended her diatribe with a warning.

"There are so many things that I could address about this show, but I'm not going to let everything pull my attention. Y'all could believe what y'all want to believe...before we start talking about a female beating my ass or anything like that let's just be clear: I will smack the sh*t out of you. Period!

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