Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Blueprint / 1988


Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 2, 2005

Heads Up! This article is 17 years old.

On his first solo effort, Weightless Records

honcho Blueprint offers a modern ode to his

musical roots for the Rhymesayers-released album

1988. Capturing the epoch that spawned classic

artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul

and Digital Underground (to name a few), and

inspired culture-chieftains such as Spike Lee and

John Singleton, 1988 is an exercise in

balancing influence with personal style and

artistic vision.

Once revolutionary, once makeshift, once the

voice of a scorned culture in America, hip-hop

has in recent years been the patsy of greedy

commercialization and has consequently become the

most popular tool in the white man’s money

hustle. Through his socially conscious

temperament, Blueprint uses 1988 to

highlight the obstacles not only in mainstream

and underground music, but also in the cultures

they propagate. While it is, for the most part,

music with a purpose, 1988 often takes

time out to have fun, oddly enough offering such

politically incorrect tracks such as “Big Girls

Need Love Too,” and “Where’s Your Girlfriend At?”

Write it off to Blueprint being true to 1988, a

time where females were dealing with the

resistance of furthering their social

equality.

Catchy and well written, the real focal point on

1988 is Blueprint’s ever-growing

proficiency as an emcee. With each release,

Blueprint convinces more and more listeners that

he is the greatest emcee alive, underground or

otherwise. With a style as palatable as Nas and

intricate as AesopROCK, Blueprint’s real strength

is his ability to capture his beats perfectly

with a peerless and unrivaled flow. Depending on

how Common’s upcoming album turns out, Blueprint

just might end up holding the crown of best

classic-styled MC around, and 1988 is his

proof.

1988‘s production is similar to

Blueprint’s work on Brother Ali’s Shadows on

the Sun album, yet even more so rooted in the

beat-box loving, loop riding style of classic-era

hip-hop producers like Erick Sermon and Marley

Marl. Building dusty loops over customary drum

breaks, 1988 finds quality in Blueprint’s

zestful knack for craftsmanship.

Typically only using a single break and two or

three other loops, Blueprint chops and arranges

his songs with the skill of a master-producer,

similar to Prince Paul or DJ Quick; and, of

course, in the spirit of hip-hop, is always ready

with a new idea.

With his modern-day version of roots rap, Ohio’s

Blueprint has become underground hip-hop’s most

valuable entity. Through flawed, 1988 is a

strong contender for best executed and most

important hip-hop album of 2005.

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