It’s a rare Friday off for me. I decided to take my newly acquired 2017 Jeep Renegade Limited for a spin so that it can get adjusted to the rugged road conditions of the National Capital Region. While riding down the Intercounty Connector, I was tuned into SiriusXM Channel 10 and they were playing Jay-Z’s “03 Bonnie & Clyde”. I immediately thought of the album that track headlined. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: The Blueprint2 album.
How I first came across this moment? It was Black Friday 2002 and I was on a date with Valorie Drew. We were in The Summit, waiting to see Brown Sugar, and decided to go into Coconuts to peruse over the music selection. The album was in the display for new releases. I put on the headphones and took a listen to the 30-second snippets. I had already known of the aforementioned lead single. There were a couple of snippets off The Gift—“The Watcher 2” and “Poppin’ Tags”—that appealed to me. Even though it was a double album, it was 3 tracks I liked so my requirement for buying a music album was fulfilled. I purchased it, took it back to The Deuce, and went to see the movie with my main squeeze. We listened to The Gift on the way back to her dorm on the UAB campus.
What it meant to me then? I wasn’t a Jay-Z fan at the time. I was in the Nas camp as they were entangled in their beef back then. But the confluence of the “03 Bonnie & Clyde” track reminding me of my thing with Valorie, the Dr. Dre beat on “The Watcher 2” and the whole messy scenario in “Meet the Parents” off The Curse made the album a hit for me. I rocked the album heavy for about 4 months and it ushered in an appreciation for Jay-Z’s storytelling through music…at least for me.
What it means to me now? I rocked that album until I lost in March 2003. To this day, I wonder if I lost it in a hidden space in The Deuce or if somebody stole it out of my car. The entire album is on my Windows Media Player. I play it from time to time to get the feel of when hip hop music was purer.