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22 March, 2005@12:00 am

      As a founding member of the now dissipated Greenhouse Effect crew, as well as his own indy imprint, Weightless Recordings, the ambidextrous Blueprint has paid his dues in the underground for the past few years, but has never released a true solo album. Sure, we’ve seen him produce entire albums for other people (Illogic’s Got Lyrics), a compilation that beared his name (The Weightroom), an instrumental album (Chamber Music), and rhyme over RJD2′s beats (Soul Position’s 8 Million Stories), but never have we had the pleasure of a true solo album, fully rhymed and produced by Blueprint himself – until now. Blueprint takes it back to 1988 with his official solo debut, and while the title suggests somewhat of a “retro” or “throwback” vibe, the album only flirts with the sound of the 80′s, infusing it with today’s sound of the underground and standards of musical production.

    “Anything is Possible” opens up the album, as Blueprint lays down his mission statement over chopped guitar licks and screwed-up “Sucka MC’s” drum patterns. We see the fusion of old styles and new again on “Tramp”, a scathing neck-snapper that is anything but a Salt-N-Pepa cover, as Print laments against his scandalous ex-girl, with two amazingly penned, entirely rhyming verses. Again on “Fresh”, Print pays homage to the school of old, by constructing the song on the backbone of a classic Doug E. Fresh beatbox track (hence the title). 

      But 1988 isn’t simply an excuse to borrow classic drums and breaks and make an album out of them, as Print delves into himself to create captivating and highly entertaining material. Covering a wide variety of topics, the album truly lets us get know Blueprint, as both emcee and producer. His affinity for women both big and small comes through on the humorous “Big Girls Need Love Too”, and again on “Where’s Your Girlfriend”, where it’s evident in Print’s delivery that he’s having a great time in the studio. But Blueprint gets serious towards the end of the album, where he tackles more serious subjects such as police brutality (“Kill Me First”) and the break-up of Greenhouse Effect (“Liberated”).

     As Blueprint preemptively strikes at his critics on “Trouble On My Mind”, there’s really nothing you can say about him or his album that he hasn’t addressed already. Being his own worst enemy, the complaints made by Print are more of an exercise in harsh self-analysis, rather than true fact, as 1988 is equally banging lyrically and beat-wise. While it may take time for the general public to realize this, Blueprint addresses this topic as well, with one of the most honest and poignant lyrics ever spit: “by the time the fans and press realize that I’m the best doing it….. I’ll be making shitty music…..” Whether this happens or not remains to be seen, but keep your head up Print, you get props over here.

  Mixtape D.L.
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