Cover image for ‘The Blueprint’ changed: The legacy of Jay-Z’s album 20 years later

‘The Blueprint’ changed: The legacy of Jay-Z’s album 20 years later

“I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” - Tupac
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Say the date and watch the reaction: Sept. 11, 2001. Faces scrunch up. Eyes wander. Tears may fall. Across multiple platforms, the terrorist attack on America is being revisited with the gift, and grief of 20 years of hindsight.

We all remember where we were. It had been a day of anticipation for me at Matoaca High School in Virginia during the second week of classes. I’d just started driving and the world was opening up. I planned to drive to Circuit City after school to purchase an album I’d been awaiting all summer, The Blueprint by Jay-Z. Originally planned for a November release, the release date was moved to Sept. 11 to counteract bootlegging.

As I look back after 20 years, the album represents a time capsule because it reveals two people, Jay-Z and myself, who, in some ways, just don’t exist anymore. The Blueprint, recognized by the Library of Congress for its artistic brilliance, represents the moment when my personal connection to Jay-Z was stamped.

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