XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Sept. 8, 2009: The Blueprint 3 was the last album in Jay-Z‘s Blueprint trilogy, which started with the classic The Blueprint in 2001, and then continued with The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse in 2002. On this day in 2009, the Brooklyn rhymer completed the triumvirate by dropping BP3 in retail stores everywhere.
The Blueprint 3 is Jay-Z’s 11th studio LP and it became his 11th No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, breaking the previous record with Elvis Presley. It sold 476,000 copies in its first week of release.
The album is notable for “Empire State of Mind,” his anthemic ode to his beloved hometown of New York City, which ruled the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks. The song features singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and name-checks many of the city’s historic landmarks.
The project also delivered four more singles that were big hits in the months after it came out: “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” “Run This Town,” “On to the Next One” and “Young Forever.”
The Blueprint 3 is considered to be the album that helped Jay-Z go from a mere hip-hop star to one of the most famous people in the world. The success of “Empire State of Mind” and his growing reputation as a businessman and mainstream celebrity icon raised his profile significantly in the years since the album’s release.
Watch Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” Video Featuring Alicia Keys Below
Watch Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” Video Featuring Rihanna and Kanye West Below
Watch Jay-Z’s “On to the Next One” Video Featuring Swizz Beatz Below
Watch Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” Video Featuring Mr. Hudson Below
See Rappers’ Projects That Pay Homage to Jay-Z’s The Blueprint Album
Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane and more.