On this day, Nov. 12, in hip-hop history...


2002: By the turn of the new millennium, Brooklyn rapper Jay Z had already begun his ascension from hip-hop to mainstream superstar and business man. His 2002 album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, a sequel to his 2001 album The Blueprint, was an audible sigil to his rap domination and popularity.

The album was Jay's first double-disc project, boasting 25 tracks in total split 11 and 14. Disc was referred to as "The Gift" while Disc 2 was "The Curse." Over a one-year process, Jay spent weeks on end in the stu and enlisted artists from all genres in order to be album to one-up his massively successful Blueprint. And the hard work proved to pay off. Jay's then-girlfriend, singer Beyonce, was featured on the smash hit, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde," which was produced by Kanye West and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Pharrell-assisted and Neptunes-produced "Excuse Me Miss" emerged as the album's second biggest single, displaying HOV as a suave Romeo type and peaking at No. 8 on the Hot 100. Other standouts include "A Dream" which features Faith Evans and the late The Notorious B.I.G. and "Some How Some Way" featuring Scarface and Beanie Sigel.

Though critics gave the album a lukewarm reception for leaning so far into the pop world, fans still responded positively. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, moving 545,000 units in it's first week. A year after it dropped, the LP was reissued with less songs as a compilation album called The Blueprint 2.1.

As of 2016, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse is certified triple platinum.

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