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Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse, Jay-Z's 2002 follow-up to genre game-changer The Blueprint, proved that the Jigga wasn't afraid to keep taking risks. This international cut of the 25-track double album is much more of a collaborative affair than its predecessor, and contains global hit singles including ''03 Bonnie & Clyde' and the Neptunes-produced 'Excuse Me Miss'. What's more, it secured Jay-Z a fifth US Number One album in a row.
On Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse, Jay-Z the lone rapper so much in evidence on The Blueprint, invites his mates round instead, and the album credits read like a who's who of the musical good and great, with The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell Williams, Dr Dre and BeyoncÇ all featuring. Disc One, The Gift, is more mainstream, upbeat, almost poppy; but on Disc Two, The Curse Jay-Z shares his demons with tales of childhood poverty in 'Diamonds Is Forever' and the hard-hitting 'Meet The Parents'.