There's no doubt that Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 is one of the best albums to hit the streets in 2009, and the singles "Run This Town" and "Empire State of Mind" have both become iconic entries in Jigga's long list of hits. Seven years ago, Jay was also working behind an entry in the Blueprint series. On November 12, 2002, he dropped The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, a sprawling double album that represents the legendary Brooklyn MC at his most experimental. There are forays into rock (the Cake-sampling "Guns & Roses," which features guitar by Lenny Kravitz), flashy club pop (the Pharrell Williams-produced "Excuse Me Miss") and some of Timbaland's best latter-day productions (the jittery "The Bounce" and the flashy "2 Many Hoes"). It's a long and sometimes difficult album, but it's one of the more playful pieces of Jigga's catalog.
Oddly, The Blueprint 2 is sometimes remembered as a pure pop album (despite the fact that most of the second disc contains some real genre stretching stuff). It's possible that people are simply remembering it for it's two biggest singles: The aforementioned "Excuse Me Miss" and the Beyoncé-assisted "'03 Bonnie & Clyde." The latter is one of those larger-than-life Kanye West productions that has a bit, easy-going groove and a gigantic hook. Though it's excellent, it's easily one of the most radio-friendly tunes Jay-Z has ever put out. It has a delightfully playful video that casts Jay and Beyoncé as outlaws on the run from the police.