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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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Beyonce Trolls Fans By Releasing Tongue-In-Cheek 'Formation' Tour Merch

While Beyonce was able to whet the Beyhive’s insatiable appetites with the Homecoming documentary chronicling her highly-favored Coachella performance, it looks like they’re still hungry for more.

It’s been nearly three full years since Bey embarked on the Formation World Tour, and fans have demanded concert footage of the show for virtually the entirety of those three years, to no avail.On the merch section of her website, new apparel advertising the Formation World Tour is available for purchase, and it’s delightfully petty.

Shirts adorned with “Where Is The FWT DVD?” is written all over the shirt, much to the chagrin of those who are eager to know the answer to that question. They are sold in white, gray, pink and light green, and go for $40 a pop.

Fear not, fans. There could be an answer about the footage's whereabouts sooner rather than later. As we reported, Bey signed a $60 million deal with Netflix, which will reportedly distribute three projects with the superstar. Two of those projects are carefully under wraps, but with the anniversary of the Formation World Tour’s start around the corner (April 27), we’d recommend you to stay on your toes.

Lemonade, the album accompanying the FWT, will be released to streaming services outside of Tidal on April 23, the third-anniversary of the album’s release.


A first look at @Beyonce's 'WHERE IS THE FWT DVD TEE' merch following the premiere of her @netflix #Homecoming documentary. https://t.co/9i6QpGICP6 pic.twitter.com/uY8kIZuYYW

— HYPEBEAST Music (@hypebeastmusic) April 22, 2019

🐝Beyhive: Beyoncé where’s the FWT DVD ( Formation World Tour)

👸🏽Beyoncé: 🤣😂🤣😂

🐝BeyHive: 🗣🗣🗣 you went on tour in 2016 give us the DVD

👸🏽@Beyonce : 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

Y’all she being petty and is selling these shirts on her website ( at least we know she hears us ) pic.twitter.com/RzDlQIxoSW

— Lela🐝Victoria✊🏾 (@LelaV89) April 22, 2019

World: 🗣️ WHERE IS THE FORMATION WORLD TOUR DVD?!?!! Beyonce: Here.#Beyonce #FWT pic.twitter.com/ciGW5K0S6o

— ❤️..Sharee 💋 (@_LadiiSJ) April 22, 2019

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Kylie Jenner Teases New Travis Scott Song In Makeup Promo

Kylie Jenner got a little help from her boyfriend Travis Scott in order to promote Kylie Cosmetics’ latest KYBROWS eyebrow pencil. In an ad promoting the upcoming product, Jenner utilizes the “SICKO MODE” musician’s reportedly-unreleased song as background music. In the trippy track, Scott says “she fill my mind up with ideas, I’m the highest in the room, hope I make it out of here…” While we’re not sure if new music is certainly on the way from the Grammy-nominated rapper, Jenner’s KYBROWS drops next week (April 29). Scott’s most recent project, ASTROWORLD, was released in 2018, and he continues to enjoy the fruits of his labor. His February ASTROWORLD tour stops at Los Angeles’ The Forum added him to the list of artists who have sold out the venue more than once in a 12-month span.


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K Y B R O W S coming 4/29 @kyliecosmetics

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Apr 22, 2019 at 9:06am PDT

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Mohammed Elshamy

A NYPD Cop Falsely Arrested A Black Man Lied On The Paperwork, But Still Has His Job

A New York police officer has faced no punishment for falsely arresting a black man and lying on his police report about what a witness statement.

In June 2016, officer Xavier Gonzalez arrested investment adviser Darryl Williams at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station. Gonzalez alleged Williams, 58 at the time, pickpocketed straphangers on a 4 train.

Gonzalez was undercover at the time and wrote in his report that Anthony Osei, who was also on a northbound 4 train, said Williams stole his phone. However, Osei, a paint shop clerk, told the New York Daily News Gonzalez lied.

When Willaims sued the city and the NYPD over the arrest, Osei, swore in an affidavit, reviewed by The Daily News, he didn't tell officers Williams stole his phone.

“A cop came up to me and said, ‘Did he take your phone?' I said, ‘No, I have my phones and wallet.’ Two weeks later, I get a call from the prosecutor. I told them the same thing."

In court, Osei testified on Williams' behalf stating "I defended him (Williams) because it was the right thing to do.”

Williams worked at the Sanitation Department for nearly two decades when he was arrested. He had private clients and his financial license was suspended for two months. He spent $1,500.

There's a process called “arrest overtime” in which an arrest made toward the end of a cop's shift helps bolster his or her overtime pay. It's a beloved practice that drives up a cop's pension.

“I have no trust in cops anymore,” said Williams, 60, now retired. “He’s putting perfectly innocent people in handcuffs. People who don’t have the resources I have, they could go to jail for something they didn’t do."

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