Posted by Michael Finkelstein | December 28th, 2012
There are few greater ironies in life than the existence of a stirring duality – the gift and the curse. We find ways to ease through the latter by employing traces of the former, with expressions such as “every cloud has a silver lining,” and reminders to “look on the bright side.”
New York City’s own, Shawn Carter, one of the most powerful businessmen and recording artists of our time, paid homage to this challenging balance with an album that just marked its ten year anniversary, aptly titled, The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse. Mr. Carter, more commonly known as rapper and mogul Jay-Z, released the album as a follow up to his critically acclaimed LP, the original Blueprint, which interestingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, was released on a day that many would argue in hindsight was anything but a recipe for success: Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
But even in the wake of such a horrible disaster, the public quickly saw the album as a pivotal body of work. Unprecedented album sales and coveted chart rankings poured in. Even in its first week, as we cried for our fallen involuntary soldiers, and sorted through the rubble of such an unspeakable act of war, the collection was coined as a classic, spawning a slew of imitators, and being recognized as Mr. Carter’s “magnum opus,” and a symbol of his “finest hour.”
Which begs the question – can we find beauty during our darkest days? As we begin the long winter and close the year under the exquisite glow of what the Chinese knew as the Bitter Moon, let’s explore that challenge. Imagine the perspective we can harness along the way. Indeed, the sun is returning.