Supreme Clientele > The Blueprint

How did we arrive at a point where Rolling Stone lists the Blueprint as the fourth best album of the decade, right behind Kid A, Is This It, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, while Supreme Clientele didn’t even make the list? A list that’s 100 albums long, mind you.

For comparison’s sake, Pitchfork had the Blueprint and Supreme Clientele as the top 2 rap albums of the ’00s. The former was fifth, behind the Radiohead album; Funeral; a Daft Punk album; and the Wilco album, while the latter just barely failed to crack the top 10. But it was still ahead of the rest of the rap albums on the list – at Pitchfork, a site known for its embarrassing rap coverage of rap music. Passion of the Weiss also had the Blueprint and Supreme Clientele as the top 2 rap albums of the aughts, in that order.

Yeah, I’m sure part of it is that Rolling Stone just plain didn’t know any better. With the economy in the state that it’s in, they probably had to let go of anyone who could have provided them with a list of good rap albums released this decade, even in the mail room, leaving them with a list that only includes the kind of rap music that’s most palatable to white people. Albums by Jay-Z, Outkast, Kanye West and the like. Rap music for people who like their rap music with a lot of R&B in it, but, oddly enough, have no use for actual R&B. Someone with the tools and the talent should investigate the dearth of R&B on Pitchfork and Rolling Stone’s lists. Maybe that guy from the New Yorker who tried to pronounce hip-hop dead a few weeks ago. I’m at a loss for why he’s so hated on. That guy’s fucking astute. That story he did a few years ago on how Pavement kinda sucked post-Slanted and Enchanted because they didn’t sound black enough was some of the realest shit that’s ever been written. I’m not saying there should have been more R&B albums on these lists. God forbid. I’m just saying. This could be a good opportunity for a few lulz.

Anyway, like I was saying, when times get hard like this, the elite have to get a little bit more racist, in order to preserve white privilege for future generations. That’s why you’re seeing all of these stories in the New York Times about how the recession, for black people, really began way the fuck back in 2000, when the tech bubble burst, and just continued unabated to this day; how black unemployment, in this current recession, is growing way faster than white unemployment; how black guys with advanced degrees from fancy schmancy schools try to make themselves look white on their resumes, and over the phone, just so they can get turned down for a job once they have to go interview in person; so on and so forth. Whether this is on order from the TIs, or if it’s something that takes place on a subconscious level, I’m not sure. I prefer to think it’s the former, because it fits better into my overall view of how the world works, but who knows. Either way, it may have played a role in Rolling Stone’s list.

Then there’s the fact that Jay-Z has become the hip-hop equivalent of a Bono or somebody, while Ghostface Killah is gradually becoming the equivalent of Wale. Jay-Z even once went to Africa and handed out water to babies with flies on their faces. Meanwhile, every new album by Ghostface, who once dreamed of helping babies with flies on their faces (back before it was all trendy), has sold less than the one that came before it, probably going back to Supreme Clientlele – if not all the way back to Ironman, for that matter. Most of them have at least been artistic triumphs, except for this most recent one, which really did suck balls. But that’s because Def Jam probably told all their rappers they had to load their albums down with R&B singers, if they wanted them to be released in 2009. Hence that Jadakiss album, that Fabolous album, and the Wizard of Poetry. To think, it probably wouldn’t have sold any worse, if they let Ghost work with a gang of underground producers, like on the beloved Fishscale. Anyway, that was the last album he owed Def Jam, and I can’t imagine they want him back, given the trajectory of his career. From there, it’s probably off to the Koch Graveyard. Damn.

And I’m assuming that’s why the Blueprint has come to be viewed as the best rap album of the aughts, while Supreme Clientele is either first loser, or not even on the damn list, depending on which site you read. The Ghostface album is way better, as far as I’m concerned (which is all that matters), but the Jay-Z album is way more “important.” I could come up with a shedload of albums that fall in between Supreme Clientele and the Blueprint on a list of the best rap albums this decade in order of actual quality, but these best of the decade lists can only include but so many rap albums, so as not to displace too many of the lesser indie rock groups. In that sense, I suppose we should be glad Supreme Clientele did as well as it did on these lists.

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  • Pierzy

    I had this same conversation with someone yesterday. I checked that Rolling Stone list about 15 times because I was sure that I just missed Supreme Clientele at some point. It wasn’t until I saw the Pitchfork review that I should’ve taken into account who is actually putting the list together.

    On another note, I thought The Marshall Mathers LP should’ve been up there with these two as well (Rolling Stone agrees; Pitchfork does not).

    • jonny bizness

      sorry pierzy but no way can the mmlp talk to the blueprint.It flowed seamlessly from start to finish{ok not that nigga jigga)and mmlp didnt.Don’t get me wrong mmlp was dope but would’nt get in my top ten hiphop albums of all time

  • D. $cience

    As much as I agree that Jay-Z’s Blueprint was the best album he ever created (Yeah, it’s better than Reasonable Doubt), I would have to agree with Bol about Supreme Clientele being better than The Blueprint. Even Kanye said that Supreme Clientele was a partial influence for the production of The Blueprint. The only thing I would argue is that The Blueprint is better mainstream-wise, due to hits like “Izzo”, “Jigga That N***a”, “Song Cry”, and the fact that he had outstanding mainstream production. Supreme Clientele isn’t really underrated, but more underappreciated for what it is.

    Bottomline is, these lists irk me because of the white people who compile them (no racism). It’s the signs of Hip Hop no longer being accredited by the hood, for the only thing the hood gives kudos to is Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, and other semi-hilarious, semi-retarded rappers. It’s like whoever listens to Hip Hop now is manipulated to listen to what the creators of the lists think is the “greatest” Hip Hop albums.

    • Brahsef

      Being white, I can honestly say it’s these lists that first got me into hip hop. I use to listen mainly to indie music and was all about the most critically acclaimed music.

      Once I got to college, I finally realized critics are fucking retarded, and I should just like music I fuckin enjoy. Rollingstone and Pitchfork just add in token rap CDs to justify them hating rap music. Kinda like that, “it’s cool, my best friend is black” syndrome.

      Both albums are classics. I’m a Wu stan but my favorite ghost album is Fishscale. My fav Jay album though is hands down the Blueprint. Kanye and Just murdered the production and Jay was the perfect rapper for it. Only song I didn’t really love is Jigga that Nigga, and it hasn’t aged real well either.

  • sealsaa

    “The Ghostface album is way better, as far as I’m concerned (which is all that matters), but the Jay-Z album is way more “important.””

    “, leaving them with a list that only includes the kind of rap music that’s most palatable to white people.”

    You’re reaching with that shit. After a multitude of “solid” releases, Blue Print was undoubtably his best album since Reasonable Doubt. While I wouldn’t deem it a “classic”(or any of his albums, for that matter), its definitely better than you’re giving it credit for. Still, Ghost should’ve made the list. But really, what do you expect from Rolling Stone?

  • tommy gunz

    gucci mane better have made that list


    • valdez


  • http://xxl All Dae

    thank u Jesus born in Bethleham Christ.
    ive been waiting forever for a post like this. I view both albums as classics but love S.C. better. I always wounderd how xxl and the source overlooked S.C. as classic during reviews.
    i view hip hop and pop music different and dont buy into all those list.
    ob4cl2 was reconized as the album of the year and Ghost helped out there. finally Wu gets the props during the time of the album not ten years later.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Supreme Clientele and OB4CL2………..dat’s dat shit right there. Those publications are shitty when it comes to list. Just like MTV is full of shit with theirs. Oh Yeah, Fuck Jaquan Smithers!!

  • Mr. North

    I cannot consider any of Jay-Z’s albums important. For what reason? Though they may be good (Like watching Cribs or Lifesyles of the Rich and Famous). He says nothing to really up lift people or show that he can idenify with the common folk. Every album starting from Reasonable Doubt his point seems to separate himself from the common folk and shows that in his mind you aint sh*t, as Beanie says, unless you have money. All the most important albums have some type of connection to the everyday person as well as material things, hoes, clubs, drank, etc. Jay-Z has not made an album that is “important” in my opinion.

    • valdez

      ^^well said! that’s why i don’t fuck with gay-z either, among other reasons.

    • DetroitDraper

      Cosizine…I appreciate artist, real artist who may show their souls, personal struggles not just perfectly ride the wave of random “whats hot” music.


  • $ykotic/Don McCaine


    • Mr. North

      ^^^Stands up and applauds.

      • AZ40

        Co-sign how people gonna listen to a magazine that has the same name as a Rock group talk about hip hop…this shit is obviously a list in the eyes of the fairer skinned consumer

    • X

      YES! Cosign to the fullest. Nobody will ever agree on these dumb ass lists, just research the culture, listen to the music, and enjoy (or hate if you have to, haha).

  • Avenger XL

    Why does everybody associated with rap music get so worked up over lists? These lists are composed by people who mainly listen to one type of music “indie rock and emo” and to appear all hipster cool they throw in what ever neat urban music their casual listener peers have in their ipod. Do you know how messed up a top indie rock albums of the 00′s would be from me. I perfer classic rock and think most of the new stuff is boring so I would mention all of the obvious best selling bands and ish my indie kid friends listen too.

    bottomline lists are meaningless like 106 & Park and grammys

  • John Cochran

    Avenger XL says
    “bottomline lists are meaningless like 106 & Park and grammys”

    You aint never lie. I would add radio in that mix. These media outlets are so outta touch with what people actually listen to that it doesnt matter whats on the fuckin list. Who reads Rolling Stone anyway? They’ve never had anyone there that understands black music.

  • sway-z

    Why everything gotta be better than this or that? Why the fuck can’t you say both albums was dope as shit and leave it at that?

    ….By the way, don’t even act like you know what the fuck Ghost was talking about on Supreme Clientele, he probably don’t even know what the fuck he said.

    • Brahsef

      Ghost has gone on record saying he doesn’t remember recording Supreme Clientele…pretty sure at least.

      In the words of Rick James, “Cocaine is hell of a drug”

      • oskamadison

        Uh, no. DUST is a hell of a drug and Ghost was probably OD’in every day recording that album. Almost ten years later, I STILL don’t know what the hell he was talkin’ about but that just makes me want to listen even more. As far as the Blueprint comparisons, I can’t/won’t choose. Both albums are dope for their own reasons. However, SC is in my personal top 10. Blueprint ain’t.

  • Tony Grands

    Maybe somebody should just compile a “must haves of the decade”, with no partial order. That would avoid the “better than” argument.

    Would we even be talking about Rolling Stone if not for this? I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve thmbed through their periodical, so I couldn’t possibly take what they say to heart, or really any other mag, for that matter.

    For the sake of argument though, I’d say Blueprint = Supreme Clientele. Both were important to Hip Hop when they dropped, for completely different reasons. The fact that they’re still worthy of classification proves my case.

  • Enlightened

    Damn, man. This is on point. I’m shocked Bol.

  • sealsaa

    “I cannot consider any of Jay-Z’s albums important. For what reason? Though they may be good (Like watching Cribs or Lifesyles of the Rich and Famous). He says nothing to really up lift people or show that he can idenify with the common folk.”

    That statement in itself is elitist. Nothing uplifting? As opposed to who, Tupac? How about the fact that he(Jay) grew up poor, and made it to the level that he’s at currently? There’s nothing wrong with celebrating success. The man’s 40. He can’t talk about selling drugs and shooting people forever.

    • c. gabi

      Celebrating ill-gotten success? Not sexy.

      I have to admit, what drew me to Supreme Clientele in the first place was “Cherchez La Ghost”, cuz I just looooove that song.

      But SC definitely grew on me and I really began to appreciate and respect the crafting of an album. The same way I respect most of Kanye’s work…he’s certainly not the greatest rapper there is, but you can tell by his work that he respects the craft.

      Jay-Z? Let’s be serious, The Blueprint might as well be titled “Jay Z Does Standards”, because it’s simply a collection of mainstream, radio-friendly songs…Like a compilation album almost. We all know Jay-Z bites lyrics (who the fuck bites B.G., come on dude), his flow is so-so, and the only thing he has going (I think) is production. And I think we can all agree that Jay-Z music, production wise is pretty stellar..but that’s it.

      Supreme Clientele > The Blueprint.

      • DetroitDraper

        When or how did he bite B.G? Just askin?

        MAYN HOL’UP

        • c. gabi

          “Cash money is an army better yet the navy”- (radio edit) Cash Money Is An Army, B.G.

          “Rockafella is the army better yet the navy”- The Takeover, Jay-Z

  • rocstar

    if there was no jay-z, you wouldnt have anything to write about.

  • WestPhillyPolo

    Both albums are classics in my opinion. They both are important. Both artists are two of my favs. The subject matter on each, is not really that different. Also to say that you couldn’t relate to The Blueprint, where are you from? Do you listen, or just skim through it? All my niggas related to The Blueprint(whether it was my Philly niggas or my NY niggas). Shit, Supreme Clientele spoke to us as a well and I’m still banging both to this day.

  • daydeezy

    Mr. North who are you going “South on” We see its not Jay-Z LMAO……………..


    supreme clientele felt good the first time i heard it still feels good when i hear it today. ghostface made something that was high in the substance department he could have dumbed out and made hits but really he did that for us. like the little skits talking about girls. it was like the shit we do the same thing to gave it a comfotable feel. talking about getting crushes on girls the geo store in his shcool i had a geo store in my jr high school. the crack head skit with dirty pure comedy. cool ass songs crazy classic intro and outro once that joint was done with like only 2 skips. worth the money and the shit is a classic. for us the fans and he really followed the trend except for pretty toney that ghostface song with the horrible beat and that song with missy god awful. i am glad he bounced back though got his brain back in sync and made that fire again. blueprint i don’t see the hype to it it’s a good album but i think. i think jay’s first album and the black album are his classic joints

  • sealsaa

    “Celebrating ill-gotten success? Not sexy”

    Ill-gotten how exactly? The man earned his millions by making records and doing shows. LOL, Don’t tell me that you actually believe these Nino Brown-esque tales that these rappers spit?

  • c. gabi

    Drug deals aside…

    I guess questionable and/or shady business practices can’t be accounted for when we speak of ill-gotten success?

    Or getting over on people a la Diddy style can’t be either?

    Unless, of course, you just think “business is business”…

  • sealsaa

    “Drug deals aside…”

    LOL again. You say it as if he was moving major weight. Again, don’t believe everything you hear. Most of these guys were small time pushers, not the Escobar’s, Ross’, and Lucas’ that they’ed have you believe.

    LOL @ shady business practices. Is that you, Beanie Sigel? As for “business as usual”, an old saying: “A fool and his money are soon parted”.

  • oskamadison

    You know how sometimes artists talk about “I made this album for me, I wasn’t worried about sales”? SC was the embodiment of that. Ghost simply didn’t give a flying, walking or standing still fuck. Anybody that says “Meet the black Boy George, dusted on my honeymoon” on an album and STILL go gold is a special type of cat.

  • dolo

    SC’s skits alone makes it one of the greatest EVAR…

  • thoreauly77

    thats bullshit, but we know by now that hip-hop lists are bullshit. the best list we get each year is the one that weiss heads up that is made of a shitload of hip-hop bloggers and heads. fuck rolling stone and fuck pitchfork.

    shit, pitchfork is hardly reliable when it comes to indie rock and metal these days, let alone rap.

    blueprint is nice, but supreme clientele is a fucking mind-bender, beats and rhymes alike. blueprint is nice because it is a well-conceived and executed sonic FORMULA. supreme clientele is superior because it pushed the genre forward, and not simply exemplified parts of the genre that already had been done (blueprint).

  • KingPoetic

    Damn it would have been ill if you had actually explained your reasoning behind the statement. Fail.

  • GO-Getta’

    U know they make up those lists 2 stir up debates like we commentin’ right know.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    @ oska

    “Dust & Alize, 3 quarter Tims, terry-cloth robes/crisp hunnids in the envelope, dookied on the globe/Thank God for my Wallabe shoe, it done saved me/up 3 nothing in Salt Lake City/Burgundy minks swish with sinks in them…”

    I like “Stroke Of Death”…[⎮⎮]. An emcee can flow TO ANY ILL BEAT.

    My man here has a good list, a music lover:

    • oskamadison

      @ $ykotic

      “Bitches think that I’m Dominican, slash, half Indian/Milk from my mustache, drop to my chinny chin…” My favorite joint is “Nutmeg”. That was the perfect way to set that album off.

  • El Tico Loco

    I only listen to 4 or five songs on Blueprint while Saturday Night is the only song I skip on Supreme Caliente just to get to Apollo kids.

  • Tonyto’sWay

    Maaannn Fuck all them lameass lists made by them industry fucks that dont even know the half of Shit….here go my best albums of the decade not necessary in order but just off top of my head right now….

    Reflection Eternal: Train of Thought
    Supreme Clientele
    The Blueprint
    The Fix
    The Eminem Show
    Chicken N Beer
    The Minstrel Show
    Hell Hath no Fury
    Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt.II

    Damn and I know I am missing many more gems….

  • RR

    As a HUGE jay-z fan, even I can admit that The Blueprince is one of the most over-rated albums of all-time…Jay’s best album – far and away – is The Black Album…

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