The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse

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The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 12, 2002
RecordedDecember 2001 - September 2002
StudioBaseline Studios
Manhattan Center Studios
New York, New York
GenreHip hop,
Jay-Z chronology
The Best of Both Worlds
The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse
Blueprint 2.1
Singles from The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse
  1. "'03 Bonnie & Clyde"
    Released: October 10, 2002
  2. "Hovi Baby"
    Released: November 12, 2002
  3. "Excuse Me Miss"
    Released: February 4, 2003

The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse (stylized as The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse) is the seventh studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was released on November 12, 2002, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Island Def Jam Music Group. The album serves as a sequel to his sixth album The Blueprint (2001). Parts of the album were later reissued for his compilation album, titled Blueprint 2.1 (2003). The album debuted at number one, shipping with first-week sales of 545,000 units. The album is certified 3x Multi-Platinum by the RIAA.


The recording sessions took place after Jay-Z's critically acclaimed and commercially successful sixth album The Blueprint (2001), at the age of 32. The production on the album was handled primarily by Just Blaze and Kanye West - both of whom had recently established themselves as both of one of hip-hop's most celebrated producers due to the success of The Blueprint - while other producers include The Neptunes, Timbaland, No I.D., Darrell "Digga" Branch, Charlemagne, Big Chuck, Dr. Dre, Jimmy Kendrick, Heavy D, and Neff-U. Unlike The Blueprint which was almost void of guest appearances, The Blueprint² features many featured guests, even out-of-genre artists that include Lenny Kravitz and Sean Paul. Other features include West Coast rapper and producer Dr. Dre, Rakim, Beyoncé, Faith Evans, Beanie Sigel and Scarface. The album also includes an uncredited verse from Kanye West on the Timbaland-produced track "The Bounce". Pharrell also provides vocals and hooks of many of his produced tracks, for example "Excuse Me Miss" and "Nigga Please". Though the album has no strict concept, the album contains two discs. The first disc entitled "The Gift" features mainstream, pop-oriented music. The second disc entitled "The Curse" contains dark, emotional, and bravado street songs such as the dark-toned retelling of "Meet the Parents", the emotional substance of escaping the dangerous ghetto in "Some How Some Way", the dissing of Nas and Jaz-O in "Blueprint2", and the bravado "Nigga Please".

The Bounce[edit]

West's verse on the track, The Bounce, marked his very first appearance as a rapper on any Roc-A-Fella release (although he contributed an uncredited hook to The Blueprint's "Never Change" the previous year), which was on the sequel to The Blueprint (2001), an album he helped craft.[1][2] It was, however, far from the last since Jay-Z and West eventually released the collaboration album, Watch the Throne (2011), under the label.


Vocals from Audio Two's 1987 single "Top Billin'" are sampled throughout the song.[3] As well as this, it samples vocals from Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun's 1993 song "Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai" throughout.[3] Pitchfork described "The Bounce" as Jay-Z showing: 'extreme assonance'.[4] In 2003, the track peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and remained on it for a total of seven weeks.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[7]
Blender4/5 stars[8]
Christgau's Consumer Guide(1-star Honorable Mention)[9]
Entertainment WeeklyC[10]
Q4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[14]
Uncut2/5 stars[16]

The Blueprint 2 received lukewarm reviews from critics.[17] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 64, based on 19 reviews.[6] According to Nathan Rabin, the record "led many to claim that [Jay-Z] lost his vise-like grip on rap music". In his review for The A.V. Club, Rabin deemed it "overreaching but surprisingly solid", featuring a first disc of clever pop-rap jams and a second that was "darker and more erratic".[18] Rolling Stone critic Christian Hoard said The Blueprint 2 was another "strong record from hip-hop's most dependable voice" but felt Jay-Z's flow was more impressive than the production, finding it "long on both bouncy funk and forgettable R&B samples".[14] AllMusic's John Bush believed Jay-Z showcased some exceptional songs but could not carry the 110-minute double album as consistently as its predecessor.[7] Soren Baker was more critical in the Chicago Tribune. He felt Jay-Z's reworking of other rappers' music ("It Was All a Dream", "'03 Bonnie & Clyde", and "The Watcher 2") was unimaginative while the rest of the album lacked his usual enthusiasm.[19] "It reminds me of nearly every other double CD", David Browne wrote in Entertainment Weekly. "It could have been a good single disc."[10] Robert Christgau named "U Don't Know (Remix)" and "Poppin' Tags" as highlights while writing in his Village Voice consumer guide that he was disappointed Jay-Z sampled Paul Anka for "I Did It My Way" when he could not get permission to use Frank Sinatra's recording of "My Way".[20]

Rollie Pemberton was more enthusiastic in his review for Pitchfork, writing that Jay-Z "weaves his way through every imaginable style and flavor with unyielding expertise".[12] Billboard hailed it as "the most ambitious and most fully realized album of his career",[21] while Q felt it surpassed his previous album.[13] In the opinion of Spin critic Chris Ryan, The Blueprint 2 found Jay-Z "tightening the screws of his delivery" and discovering a "bruising poetry in a flow that once seemed clumsily conversational".[15]

Track listing[edit]

Disc one: The Gift
1."A Dream" (featuring Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G.)Kanye West4:12
2."Hovi Baby"Just Blaze4:21
3."The Watcher 2" (featuring Dr. Dre, Rakim and Truth Hurts)Dr. Dre, Scott Storch5:55
4."'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (featuring Beyoncé)
Kanye West3:25
5."Excuse Me Miss"The Neptunes4:41
6."What They Gonna Do" (featuring Sean Paul)Timbaland4:54
7."All Around the World" (featuring LaToiya Williams)
No I.D.3:52
8."Poppin' Tags" (featuring Big Boi, Killer Mike and Twista)Kanye West6:00
9."Fuck All Nite"
  • Carter
  • Williams
  • Hugo
The Neptunes4:19
10."The Bounce" (featuring Kanye West)
  • Carter
  • Mosley
  • West
11."I Did It My Way"
  • Kendrix
  • Big Chuck
Disc two: The Curse
1."Diamonds Is Forever"
  • Ron Feemster
  • Big Chuck
2."Guns & Roses" (featuring Lenny Kravitz)Heavy D4:26
3."U Don't Know (Remix)" (featuring M.O.P.)Just Blaze4:27
4."Meet the Parents"
  • Carter
  • Smith
Just Blaze4:59
5."Some How Some Way" (featuring Beanie Sigel and Scarface)
Just Blaze5:37
6."Some People Hate"
Kanye West4:32
8."Nigga Please" (featuring Young Chris)
The Neptunes4:38
9."2 Many Hoes"
  • Carter
  • Mosley
10."As One" (featuring Memphis Bleek, Freeway, Young Gunz, Peedi Crakk, Sparks and Rell)Just Blaze3:49
11."A Ballad for the Fallen Soldier (Skit)" (featuring DJ Clue?)
  • Carter
  • Williams
  • Hugo
The Neptunes4:42
12."Show You How" (bonus track)
  • Carter
  • Smith
Just Blaze2:59
13."Bitches & Sisters" (bonus track)Just Blaze2:39
14."What They Gonna Do, Part II" (bonus track)
  • Carter
  • Darrell Branch


Chart (2002) Peak
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[22] 8
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[23] 66
French Albums (SNEP)[24] 79
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 61
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[26] 49
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 52
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 23
US Billboard 200[29] 1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[30] 1

In other media[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[31] 2× Platinum 200,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Complete History of Kanye West Guest Verses". Complex. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  2. ^ "Digging deep: Kanye's sharp edge". Dummy Mag. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  3. ^ a b The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse (CD liner). Jay-Z. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2002. p. 1.CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ "JAY-Z: The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse / Blueprint 2.1 Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  5. ^ "Jay-Z The Bounce Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Jay-Z Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2002-11-12.
  7. ^ a b The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse at AllMusic
  8. ^ "Review". Blender. December 2002. p. 156.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Album: Jay-Z: The Blueprint 2". Robert Christgau. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Browne, David; Drumming, Neil; Serpick, Evan (November 19, 2002). "H.O.V.A. Kill". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 25, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  11. ^ "NME Album Reviews – Jay-Z : The Blueprint 2 : The Gift & The Curse". Nme.Com. 2005-09-12. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  12. ^ a b [1] Archived April 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ a b "Review". Q. January 2003. p. 120.
  14. ^ a b Hoard, Christian (November 12, 2002). "The Blueprint, Vol. 2: The Gift and the Curse". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Ryan, Chris (2003-06-24). "Jay-Z, 'The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse' (Roc-a-Fella) | SPIN | Albums | Critical Mass". SPIN. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  16. ^ "Review". Uncut. January 2003. p. 119.
  17. ^ Muhammad, Cedric (November 15, 2002). "Hip-Hop Fridays: In Defense Of Jay-Z And Blueprint 2". Black Electorate. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  18. ^ Rabin, Nathan (2002-12-06). "The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse: Jay-Z | Music | MusicalWork Review | The A.V. Club". Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  19. ^ Baker, Soren (November 24, 2002). "The Blueprint 2 -- The Gift & The Curse". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  20. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 11, 2003). "Consumer Guide: The Prelude". The Village Voice. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  21. ^ "The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse". Billboard. November 30, 2003. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  22. ^ "Jay-Z Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  23. ^ " – Jay-Z – The Blueprint 2 – The Gift & The Curse" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  24. ^ " – Jay-Z – The Blueprint 2 – The Gift & The Curse". Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  25. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  26. ^ " – Jay-Z – The Blueprint 2 – The Gift & The Curse". Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  27. ^ " – Jay-Z – The Blueprint 2 – The Gift & The Curse". Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  28. ^ "Jay-Z | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  29. ^ "Jay-Z Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  30. ^ "Jay-Z Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  31. ^ "Canadian album certifications – JAY Z – The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse". Music Canada.
  32. ^ "British album certifications – JAY Z – The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – JAY Z – The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]