Those are the words that Jay Z freestyled at a show days after September 11, 2001.
That day was important to Jay Z for another reason, besides the great tragedy: the rapper’s sixth album, The Blueprint, was released.
There had already been considerable hype around the album for a number of reasons: during the summer, Jay took aim at Nas and Mobb Deep at Summer Jam; the album’s first single, the Michael Jackson-sampling “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” was a huge hit; and The Source, when it still had some credibility, gave the album a perfect rating: 5 mics.
All those pinpoints are the reason why, amazingly, the album was able to sell 427,000 copies in its first week, even though it dropped the “same day as the towers.”
Not even Bin Laden could stop him.
Jay Z’s The Blueprint would be the number one album in the country for a number of weeks, until Ja Rule’s Pain is Love dropped on October 7th.
People will always remember that Jay’s The Blueprint dropped on 9/11 because of the greatness of the album, which solidified Hov as a legend. Trust us when we say: if he would have dropped that dreadful collabo album with R. Kelly, the perception wouldn’t be the same.
The Blueprint wasn’t the only major album to come out that day. The number two album in the country the next week was Nickelback’s Silver Side Up (shutters). Projects from Bob Dylan, P.O.D. and Babyface also came out:
Hip-hop had another big release. Led by the Nate Dogg-assisted “Can’t Deny It,” Fabolous dropped his debut album, Ghetto Fabolous. While it didn’t do The Blueprint numbers, it still did reasonable: Ghetto Fabolous came in at number four, pushing 143,000 units.
(Let’s put that in some perspective: Fab’s last album, 2009’s Loso’s Way, sold 99,000 copies).
We can’t leave ya’ll without mentioning the other major release that day: Mariah Carey’s Glitter Soundtrack. And while Jay and Fab’s albums were great successes, Carey’s Glitter Soundtrack was a career lowlight for the singer.
(God, remember that terrible “Loverboy” song?)
The soundtrack would go on to sell 116,000 copies. Mariah wouldn’t bounce back from this career low until “We Belong Together,” in 2005.
It’s also interesting to note what the number one single in the country was that week: Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’.” (Awful title considering the day). Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real” was right behind it.
Obviously, music is just filler and a tragedy like 9/11 makes us realize what’s important in life.
Still, it’s kind of neat to see what the pop culture world was before the NYC skies went black.