I was kinda conflicted about ranking this album this high. It's a great album to be sure, and from a legend nearing the edge of his prime to put out work this flawless and this phenomenal is an accomplishment all by itself (let's give it up for old people!)
The truth though is that this album will never compare with the Blueprint I (I'm not even going to talk Reasonable Doubt or The Black Album, which combined form a hip hop trinity that ensures Jigga is bigger and better than Biggie or Pac).
But by itself, in 2009, it is one of the best. Jigga does what he always does: wrangles the best producers, invites the hottest guests, and churns out bangers that even your moms likes. Every old ass cute with a Coogie was singing Empire State of Mind.
But the formula falters sometimes. You invite Kanye to rap, and the Louis Vuitton Don, a notoriously weak rhymer, outshines you on Run This Town. Drake (WTF?) holds his own. The best part of Young Forever is Mr Hudson's crooning. I bought a Jigga album and got singles from seven other people.
But there is no one bringing wordplay, flow, rhyme, swagger and logic so effortlessly like the CEO. Each verse requires a double take. Yes that is him telling you the exact location of where he hid is dope.
This isn't a classic like The Blueprint, but it's still a contender in 2009.