A veteran of the old-school and alum of two now-defunct '90s crews (PHD and Screwball), Queensbridge native Blaq Poet has earned his stripes as one of the most furious rhyme-spitters in New York. A thriving creative partnership with the legendary DJ Premier has made Poet the flagship artist of Primo's own Year Round label, through which the pair have been releasing singles since 2003. Said partnership comes up big on Poet's second official solo LP, Tha Blaqprint, an engrossing street-hop tour de force from start to finish. And the title shouldn't be taken as just clever wordplay -- Tha Blaqprint is truly a darker counterpoint to Jay-Z's Blueprint albums; decidedly anti-pop, incompatible with commercial radio, oblivious to trends, and uncompromisingly hardcore as the man who "went to war with Giuliani" lets loose a barrage of gritty street narratives and verbal threats over 15 thorough tracks. From the gate, Premier and Poet prove that the hard rock/rap combo can work on the grungy guitar-driven "I-Gittin." Poet then goes on to spin a slew of crime stories that detail interstate drug-running ("U Phucc'd Up"), police stakeouts ("S.O.S."), street-violence ("Hood Crazy"), and homelessness ("Sichuwayshunz"). The QB lyricist also shows his more introspective side, stringing together imaginary conversations with dead rap artists such as 2Pac, Eazy-E, and the Notorious B.I.G. on the haunting "Voices" and paying tribute to his deceased cousin and former Screwball partner KL on the touching ghetto ballad "Never Goodbye." On the production end, DJ Premier, who provides 13 of the 15 beats, largely sticks to his trademark boom-bap formula relying on light orchestral strings, bombastic horn loops, heavy drums, and scratched-up hooks. Supplemental beatwork comes courtesy of Easy Mo Bee and Gemcrates (each produces one track) while Poet passes the mic to guest rappers N.O.R.E., Lil' Fame of M.O.P., and labelmates NYG'z.
Each record is protected within its record sleeve by a white vellum anti-dust sleeve.
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