The Blueprint is the sixth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released September 11, 2001 (the day of the New York City attack) on Roc-A-Fella Records in the United States. It's release was set a week earlier than initially planned in order to combat bootlegging. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2001 at Manhattan Center Studios and Baseline Studios in New York City. Contrasting the radio-friendly sound of Jay-Z's previous work, The Blueprint features soul-based sampling and production handled primarily by Kanye West and Just Blaze. At the time of it's recording, Jay-Z was awaiting two criminal trials, one for gun possession and another for assault, and had become one of hip hop's most dissed artists, receiving insults from rappers such as Nas, Prodigy, and Jadakiss. The album is also famous for both it's producers Kanye West and Just Blaze's breakout as a major producer. Kanye West produced 4 of the 13 tracks on the album, including the song "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and the controversial track which included diss lyrics aimed at rappers Nas and Prodigy, "Takeover" while Just Blaze produced 3 tracks including "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Song Cry", and "U Don't Know", in addition produced the hidden bonus track "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)". Upon it's release, this album received critical acclaim, praising Jay-Z's lyricism and the production especially to Just Blaze and Kanye West, and is considered as one of Jay-Z's best albums and has been labeled as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.
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