Jay Z – The Blueprint (2001)
15 years later and the ‘Blueprint’ legacy is more complex than Jay could have dreamt. While sped up soul samples provided the sugar rush of post-2000s production, the careers of Kanye and Just Blaze were the tip of the iceberg. Jay cultivated a dynasty and cemented it with this record. He achieved his goal of perfectly fusing his hard street raps with commercial appeal, and losing no credibility: a blueprint he’d follow for the rest of his career.
Best song: Heart of the City (Ain't no Love)