My former site; "Tha Real" was one of the first to shine any light upon the group "Greenhouse Effect." Blueprint himself contacted a colleague of mine (Philip Oliver) about his group and getting his production effort reviewed. Well, Phil reviewed it and loved it. He later reviewed yet another Blueprint produced LP, by Illogic which also received considerable praise.
I, myself, only really became familiar with Blueprint late in '02 with his work with RJD2 on 'The Final Frontier' and Soul Position EP. Needless to say, from these efforts I was impressed with his mic skills and lyricism. So, being provided with Blueprint's first official release 'The Weightroom,' I was intrigued to see what would be assembled.
From the get-go, we're swarvely guided into the depth of production, which Blueprint is most proud of. His sometimes subtle, but usually more complex beats are almost always effective. 'Time Management' with it's violin laced, piano guided beat is an excellent example of Blueprint's ability. 'Lucky,' another soulful beat, hypnotizes you with both the music and well-chosen sample for its hook.
Enlisting guests such as Greenhouse Effect (whom he's a part of), Vast Aire (Cannibal Ox) and The Orphanage (Slug, Aesop Rock, Eyedea, Illogic and Blueprint himself). Blueprint has assembled a Pete Rock-esque album, featuring production from himself with his peers as guests responsible for the majority of the rapping, and Blueprint emerging upon the mic when he deems fit.
The album features a variety of gems, but none better than 'Obsolete' featuring The Orphanage. 'Obsolete' features some excellent production from Blueprint and perfectly fitting verses from all of the emcees above Print's track. Slug comes off especially well.
On the whole I didn't find many flaws with the album, however there were a couple. 'Rags To Rugged' (featuring Bahdaddy Shabazz) really did nothing but irritate me. The repetitive beat and sub-par performances almost forced me to skip this track whenever it became its turn for experiencing. And, although I was intrigued and enjoyed portions of the beat and interwoven sample on 'Before Freedom' - the beat did detract from what was being said and its repetitiveness became irritating over the course of the track. Its appeal wavers.
In essence, 'The Weightroom' showcases Blueprint's production skills at their finest (overlooking a couple of beats) and how well he can perform alongside his peers. I look forward to the Soul Position and Greenhouse Effect releases set to emerge later in the year.