«If I don't show the world growth, how are we going to grow?» from December 2007 XXL Interview
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The secret for Jay-Z's success
The Blueprint was a success because Jay-Z skillfully found balance between music, which is liked by the majority and hip-hop, which is hard for the mainstream perception. This is Jay-Z's secret weapon alongside with other factors. He knows how to attract crowds and those who wanted to achieve this goal were always happy to collaborate with him.
A year later Jay-Z releases the solo album, which is also a great success and it becomes usual for Jay-Z already. Being on the top position in Billboard 200, it exceeded even The Blueprint. The Blueprint 2. The Gift and the Curse was issued later like a compilation album of The Blueprint 2.1 featuring tracks from the earlier album and including just one disc. All observed again gold RIAA certification. The Blueprint 2.1 included bonus tracks too such as "Stop", "La La La". Two new singles appeared as a result of this work and they became hits. One of them is "Excuse me Miss" and the other song "Bonnie and Clyde" was performed together with Beyoncé Knowles, who was Jay-Z's girl-friend at that time. There were also such radio hits included into it as "Guns and Roses" with Lanny Kravits and produced by Justin Smith "Hovi Baby". Justin Smith is known as Just Blaze, who earned his popularity participating in work over "The Dynasty: Roc La Familia". "Hovi Baby" has a sample of "Diggin'on You", song performed by TLC band. The song presents the brilliant career of Jay-Z as a rapper. He even confirms in it that he is as good as 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G., two well-known American rappers, deceased in 1990-s. The video for this song was not created and the changed version of it was used for the ad of the Reebok brand.