(AllHipHop News) Jay Z’s 6th studio album The Blueprint is regularly considered one of the crowning achievements in the Brooklyn emcee’s discography as well as one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time. The classic 2001 LP was engineered by longtime Jay musical partner Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton.
Guru was a firsthand witness of the Roc-A-Fella crew’s dominance in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The Delaware native returned to The Combat Jack Show to discuss his work with the Roc, and he took time to talk about the creation of The Blueprint.
According to Guru, Kanye West – a rising producer at the time – offered Jay a CD with 9 beats. Seven of those tracks ended up on The Blueprint. The remaining two became Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name” and an eventual Ludacris song.
Kanye’s work effectively set the tone for the entire project. Fellow producer Just Blaze then followed that soundscape for the tracks he contributed. Guru says the bulk of the album was mostly completed over one weekend.
Perhaps the most famous song from The Blueprint is the Prodigy/Nas diss record “Takeover.” Fourteen years later there is still an active debate about which iconic emcee walked away the winner of the battle between Jay and Nas. Many fans often point to the Hot 97 poll that crowned Esco the victor.
For Guru, the home team did not take an L. He explained why the radio survey was not the determining factor on which emcee was the winner of one of the greatest rap battles in history.
He told Combat Jack:
The day that everything went down on Hot 97. We didn’t play “Takeover.” We played “Super Ugly.” So “Ether” comes out, we go to the studio the same day we hear “Ether.” So in less than a 24 hour period, you got “Super Ugly” as a response.
If you put “Takeover” versus “Super Ugly,” “Takeover” is a better record. “Takeover” has facts. “Super Ugly” is playing the dozens…
People didn’t imagine anybody could get with Jay at that given moment. But “Takeover” didn’t lose to “Ether” on the radio. “Super Ugly” lost to “Ether” on the radio…
I thought [“Ether”] was a great record. But my thought was, “How could you pick ‘Ether’ over ‘Takeover’? Because ‘Ether’ is like somebody playing the dozens. And we came with facts.”
Will I admit to you that “Super Ugly” is not as good as “Ether”? Absolutely, but “Ether” is not as good as “Takeover.”
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Listen to Young Guru’s interview below.