Starting your album out with an intro looping the beat with random quotes from Stetsasonic's "Stet Troop 88"!??! OK, you have my full attention...
Less than 30 seconds later, it drops in with RUN DMC's "Sucker MCs" drum beats with some abrasive stabs, giving a refreshing twist on the classic. That's actually an ongoing theme on a few defining cuts on the album, classic-recognizable break beats layered with an array of samples, sounds and stabs. Beyond the RUN DMC, you might make note of "Impeach The President", "Papa Was Too" (Joe Tex), etc...
The title "1988"refers more to a mindframe and/or attitude, moreseo than limited to the year specifically. Blueprint is taking it back to the basics; paying homage to the Culture, not simply but rehashing, but giving praise while adding on his own twist of originality.
Vocally Blueprint covers a lot of ground. His ace(s) in the hole are his classic voice and unique approach to delivery, word fluctuation, use of space, and passion. Topics range from "better than you" rap ("Fresh", "1988", "Anything Is Possible"), inner city struggle ("Inner City Native Son", "Kill Me First", ) Hip Hop reminiscing ("1988", "Boombox"), trials/tribulations of the rap industry ("Trouble On My Mind", "Lo Fi Funk", "Liberated") and of course his trademark humor with his songs "for the ladies" ("Big Girls Need Love Too" "Where's Your Girlfriend At?" & "Tramp").
As a writer, Blueprint strengths are his ability to fire off logic in a matter-of-fact-manner, his off beat sense of humor, including his dirty-old-man steez, and descriptive visuals. "1988" is filled with many great quotable moments:
"No denying/Most people listen to their music while they're driving/so the next time you think you got a classic/throw it in the ride and listen to it in traffic/make sure you roll the windows down/be honest with yourself about how your Sh** sound..." ("1988")
"You need to understand I'm not new to this/You rhyme for two bars, I know all your influences...and ain't none of 'em tight..." ("1988")
"Another good album with bad distribution/Another 100 magazines my music's not reviewed in/By the time the fans and press realize I'm best doing it/I'll be making Sh***y music" ("Trouble On My Mind")
or the great series of one liners, to the Sucker MCs, on "Fresh":
-"I'm the man the whole underground is talking about/cats stealing my style before I even had a album out"
-"A bunch of powder puffs rhyming with aggression, forgot to follow the steps of natural progression"
-"Thank me in your liner notes for making it possible/Ever year I change it up and make it harder for you"
-"You get cool points because I'm the one you listen to/Then lose them all because you aren't original"
All in all, "1988" is a great, forward-thinking throwback album and a key stepping stone in Blueprint's impressive growth as an artist. In truth, in many ways, the sound of his current album, "Adventures In Counter Culture" is not such a departure from "1988". It's simply a natural artist evolution. Perhaps the "trick" is, what should probably take an artist ten to fifteen years to realize, Blueprint has manifested in five...the benefits of a mad scientist.
"Trouble On My Mind"
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/07-Trouble-On-My-Mind.mp3|titles=07 Trouble On My Mind]
"Lo Fi Funk"
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/08-Lo-Fi-Funk.mp3|titles=08 Lo-Fi Funk]
*whoa, I was proofing this and listening to the CD and I completely forgot about the hidden track. I think I've only heard it once! It's a nice joint. #Rediscovery
"Who You Talking To?" ("1988" Bonus Track):
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Blueprint-Who-You-Takling-To.mp3|titles=Blueprint-Who You Takling To]
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