Few albums this year have been more anticipated in the underground community than RJD2 & Blueprint’s full length debut “8 Million Stories”. The album title is explanatory enough, as Blueprint displays a remarkable ability to paint wonderful pictures and stories for all walks of life. The topics are varied and pulled off significantly well, leaving the listener consumed with a vast amount of substance and conceptual matter. Some efforts are done better than others, such as Blueprints problems with a rambunctious girl on the aptly titled “The Jerry Springer Episode”. On the opposite side of the spectrum, “No Excuse For Love” delves into the psyche of a fragile woman who needs men and sexual encounters for comfort. Conceptually tracks like these are what makes “8 Million Stories” one of the more fulfilling albums of the year.
Blueprint has proved over the years to be a master of his craft, and along with RJ, the duo display shades of excellence on tracks such as “Share This”, “Run”, “Right Place, Wrong Time” & “1 Love”. Ultimately the second half of the album stands out more than the first, as the pervious mentioned songs truly make “8 Million Stories” standout. One of the more memorable experiences comes from “Share This”, which is an epic journey that personifies the Soul Position sound. RJ’s production starts off very mellow with basic kicks and snares that every so slowly drag you along with Blueprint. And as Print takes you into his world the beat comes to life during the track’s hook, blaring through the speakers with some magnificent horns. The song is truly a journey that could only be pulled off by RJ and mirrors the type of effort we witnessed on “Dead Ringer”.
“Run” is another standout gem, which deals with the turmoil of the inner city as well as running from your own inner fears. RJ’s mesmerizing piano melody dazzles the listener while Print spits a memorable first verse which deals with the death of his brother. “Right Time, Wrong Place” is another superb effort complete with melodic singing and well placed guitar riffs. Print’s story about an unfaithful and shady woman is pulled off nicely and is something every listener can relate to.
“1 Love” is a vintage Hip Hop track where Blueprint sends a strong message to every emcee out there. “So you don’t wanna be a role model? But like it or not you are still making music for them. You just might be the one that they follow, so think about being a little more truthful to them”. RJ’s production on the album’s final cut is easily one of the best, along with the three interludes featured on the album. The “Candyland” interludes scattered throughout the album are living proof that artists can make good interludes these days. Each one deals with a specific topic of Print’s childhood and the children of that 80’s at that. Whether its about childhood cartoons such as He-Man, Thundercats & Go-Bots, old school accessories or memorable candy such as Bazooka Gum & Candy Cigarettes, all three tracks bring you back to your childhood, no matter your age.
With “8 Million Stories” the duo of Blueprint and RJD2 prove they have precise chemistry, however, there are a couple of missteps along the way. Surprisingly enough, there are a couple of sub par production efforts from RJ, which fail to blend with Blueprint’s style. The awkward and dark sounds of “Inhale” fail to measure up to some of the better tracks on the album, as does the softer sounds of “Just Think”. “Look Of Pain” is another mediocre song with a simplistic RJ beat, while “Survival” featuring Greenhouse Effect is the albums worst cut.
No matter the missteps “8 Million Stories” is a very good effort from the underground duo. While some may be disappointed the album didn’t turn out to be the classic it was originally hyped to be, with time the album only gets better. Conceptually “8 Million Stories” is one of the most fulfilling albums in recent memory, as Soul Position take the listener everywhere they would want to go, leaving few dull moments. No matter how you break it down “8 Million Stories” delivers on every level, proving the future looks bright for RJD2 & Blueprint.