On this day, September 8, in hip-hop history…
2009: The Blueprint 3 was the final installment in Jay Z’s Blueprint trilogy that started with 2001′s instant classic The Blueprint and continued on with The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse in 2002. BP3 was Jay Z’s eleventh studio album and became his eleventh album to debut at number-one in the United States, breaking the record he had previously shared with Elvis Presley. It sold 476,000 copies in it’s first week before topping out at 1.9 million copies sold as of today.
The album is notable for featuring Jay Z’s first single to hit number one on the Billboard 200 charts. “Empire State Of Mind,” an anthemic ode to Jay’s hometown of New York, was the first single to hit that benchmark in a career that dates back to 1989. The song featured singer/songwriter Alicia Keys and name-checks many of the city’s historic landmarks. The album also produced four other singles that produced significant chart success in the months after the album’s release.
Today, The Blueprint 3 is credited as the album that helped transformed Jay Z from mere massive hip-hop star to one of the most recognizable faces on the planet. The success of “Empire State Of Mind” combined with his growing reputation as businessman and mainstream celebrity icon raised his profile significantly (even for him) in the years since the album’s release. The album was his first album to achieve three Billboard Top 10 hits and would receive positive reviews from critics.