New post up on Overthinking It about a happier 10-year anniversary from this past Sunday: the release of Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint:
The shadow of Biggie’s absence was growing more and more notable. Someone needed to step up and become unofficial chairman of the East Coast once more. And by critical consensus, attention fell on the two most prominent MCs in New York: Jay-Z and Nas. Nas had the critical depth, having produced one of the most acclaimed hip hop albums of all time just a few months before Biggie’s own Ready to Die came out. But Jay-Z had the mainstream success, stepping up with several MTV-friendly hits and embracing the glamorous aspects of the gangsta lifestyle.
To put New York back on the map would take a classic album, one that revived the East Coast technique of funky samples with profound rhymes. The strength of the samples depends on the strength of your producer, though. For his sixth studio album, Jay-Z found that producer, a young man from Chicago named Kanye West.