Personnel: Jay-Z, Notorius B.I.G., Dr. Dre, Scarface, Twista, Big Boi, Killer Mike, M.O.P., Beanie Sigel, Young Chris, Memphis Bleek, Freeway, Young Guns, Peedi Crakk, Rell (rap vocals); Lenny Kravitz, Faith Evans, Raje Shwari, LaToiya Williams, Beyonce Knowles (vocals); Just Blaze (various instruments, vinyl scratches); Eric "E-Bass" Johnson (various instruments); Scott Storch (Fender Rhodes piano); Mike Elizondo, Camara Kambon (keyboards); Debra Killings (bass); Mark Dorsey, Michelle Rosario, Sleepy Brown, LaToiya Williams, Truth Hurts, Christy Love, Hovi Baby (background vocals). Producers include: Kanye West, Blaze, Dr. Dre, The Neptunes, Timbaland. THE BLUEPRINT 2 was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. "Excuse Me Miss" was nominated for Best Rap Song. It's hard not to somewhat admire the guts of a rapper who would lead off his album by not merely sampling a hearty slice of the hallowed Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" while Faith sings in the background, but by claiming Biggie's tacit approval on "A Dream." This is before he compares himself to Jesus at least three times. It's exactly this sort of unyielding confidence ever teetering on the verge of megalomaniacal arrogance that propelled Jay-Z to the pinnacle of the rap world. As 2002 wound to a close, the prolific Sean Carter dropped the sequel to the critically lauded, platinum-selling THE BLUEPRINT; two CDs, no skits, no filler, nothing but urgent poetics over tight tracks. Jay-Z may never possess the elevated prose of his arch-rival Nas, but he knows the power in brevity, in a terse, well-turned phrase. While he's always been an eccentric sampler, on THE BLUEPRINT VOL. 2 he pares away any hint of gimmickry or excess. On "Guns And Roses," he effortlessly reconfigures a Cake instrumental as picture-perfect backdrop to a stark parable about life's duality as Lenny Kravitz wails along. Overall, THE BLUEPRINT VOL. 2 continues and builds upon the legacy of the Queens megastar MC.
2cds-28 Total Tracks Parental Advisory