- Personnel includes: Jay-Z, Eminem, Q-Tip, Slick Rick, Biz Markie (rap vocals); Josey Scott (vocals); Victor Flowers (organ); Bink (programming).
- Producers include: Kayne West, Just Blaze, Trackmaster, Timbaland, Bink.
- THE BLUEPRINT was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.
- "Song Cry" was nominated for the 2003 Grammy Awards for Male Rap Solo Performance.
- It's official. With his fifth album, aptly titled THE BLUEPRINT, Jay-Z has crowned himself the king of rap music. Laying a foundation for other MC's to follow, Jay Hova presents a lyrical masterpiece. And to make matters worse (for the competition, that is), he does so over a selection of the tightest beats (Jus Blaze, Timbaland) to come by hip-hop since fellow Brooklyn-ite Notorious B.I.G. changed the game. Jay-Z sets it off with a clear and concise statement of his purpose, "The Ruler's Back." From then on, each track dares rappers who tried to test his skills to answer back this time. There's also the cleverly worded (sort of a) love song "Girls, Girls, Girls," where Jay calls out every type of woman in the book. He limits the guest appearances to just one when he collaborates with Eminem for "Renegade." As always, classic material proves why Jay-Z retains his iconic status in the hip-hop world.
Rolling Stone (1/03/02, p.119) - Ranked #5 in Rolling Stone's "Top 10 2001".
Spin (1/02, p.76) - Ranked #7 in Spin's "Albums of the Year 2001" - "...Dig the planet's most charismatic egoist flowing like Cristal....Punk record of the year? Fo'sheazy!"
Entertainment Weekly (9/28/01, p.72) - "...Jay spits his outlaw boasts and pimp-slap toasts with the same cooly obstreperous flow that's always gilded his thug-life cliches..." - Rating: B-
Q (12/02, p.67) - Included in Q Magazine's "The 50 Best Albums of 2002."
Q (11/01, pp.122-3) - 3 out of 5 stars - "...Drenched in slinky, '70s soul samples this time round, the hooks, and inevitably the hits, just keep on coming."
Uncut (12/01, p.108) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...The sonics here are relentlessly ear-catching. Almost every tune sounds like a hit..."
The Wire (1/02, p.40) - Ranked #12 in Wire's "50 Records of the Year 2001".
Vibe (1/02, p.74) - Rated as Vibe's "Best Album" of the year, 2001.
Vibe (11/01, pp.145-6) - 5 discs out of 5 - "...Like a bookend [to his forst album 1996's REASONABLE DOUBT], or the second key on a double-bolt lock. Only better...he is our cleanest poet, rethinking space..."
NME (Magazine) (12/29/01, p.59) - Ranked #4 in NME's 50 "Albums Of the Year 2001".
NME (Magazine) (10/6/01, p.41) - 8 out of 10 - "...Eloquently maps out life's foundations: laughter, tears, joy and pain, and marks the Jigga as the complete rapper..."