Blueprint: Respect the Architect

Blueprint: Respect the Architect

(Weightless, 4/22/14)

"Respect the Architect"

Hip-hop MC Blueprint has done the swagger thing in the past. At times, it’s been jarring, pulling the listener out of his songs of society’s ills and into a gangster-populated world that might seem at odds with the Soul Position member’s aesthetics. However, on Respect the Architect, he does it right: bulling ahead, calling out critics in opener “Oh Word” (an effectively worded “fuck you”) and then getting on with new business.

As an album, however, Respect the Architect lives swagger. Blueprint uses low-budget beats and simple loops to push his most effective instrument, his voice, to the front. “Overdosin’” is an ode to this ability, a look-at-me track that comes across light-hearted. The title track samples an echoing brass orchestra to introduce a dark tour of his artistry, which continues on “Bulletproof Résumé,” a partnership with Greenhouse Effect cohort Illogic.

A different kind of view from the top is espoused on “Perspective.” This is Blueprint preaching, appropriately backed by a gospel choir, as he holds forth on privilege, viewed through the lens of Sandy Hook, drone attacks in the Middle East, the American poverty epidemic, and more. This is a rapper who can constantly surprise — one who deserves the respect he’s demanding.