Jay-Z is arguably on top of the rap game. With his past five albums all achieving platinum-plus status, the Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jay-Z is arguably on top of the rap game. With his past five albums all achieving platinum-plus status, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native looks to quiet anyone who dare challenge his reign with his latest set, The Blueprint. Such tracks as "The Ruler's Back" and "Takeover" are testament to this; both showcase a fearless Jay-Z, who, despite his crossover success, is still a highly credible MC. The Kanye West-produced "Takeover," which craftily employs a sample of The Doors' "Five to One," is perhaps Jay's best work to date. The Blueprint does have its requisite party tracks. Lead single "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," which references the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," is already making serious noise at both urban and top 40 formats. Throughout The Blueprint (which features guest appearances from Q-Tip, Biz Markie, and Slick Rick, among others), Jay-Z deftly proves that while his celebrity status continues to rise, he remains firmly grounded to the street.—RH