What little difference six months makes. Blueprint 2.1 is a one-disc, slimmed-down version of last November's clunky two-disc set The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse. The new album does little to redeem its predecessor; it merely replicates its unevenness. Held over are the stunning "Meet the Parents" and the numbing "Excuse Me Miss." Left on the cutting-room floor are the comedic "2 Many Hoes" and the utterly banal "I Did It My Way." The two new songs make this a little more than a total waste: "The longest one standing," he brags on the excellent track "The Bounce," "Kidnapped rap/Seven years/No ransom." But at the end of the day, update 2.1 is a show of hubris that asks fans to pay another $14.99 for two new tracks. Jay-Z make a spotty record? He did the impossible, then did it twice.

(From RS 922, May 15, 2003)



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