Jay-Z’s sixth album, “The Blueprint,” hit record stores on the fateful morning of September 11, 2001.
Despite the horrible coincidence, the New York rapper’s album — featuring the hit track “Izzo (H.O.V.A)” – sold more than 420,000 copies in the first week.
So why did “The Blueprint” do so well amid the chaos of 9/11?
“Young people not directly affected are always more removed from the onset of national tragedy,” said Tricia Rose, a professor at Brown University and author of “The Hip Hop Wars.”
“While the much older fans of Mariah Carey or Bob Dylan would likely be too busy and worried about terrorist attacks to rush out and purchase a CD the week of 9/11, Jay-Z’s teen and early 20s fans, already hyped up about this release long beforehand, remained focused on their idol,” Rose said. “And many probably never left the comfort of their bedrooms to download the release.”
According to media professor Aaron Sachs another factor in the sales of “The Blueprint” is the type of audience that Jay-Z appeals to.
“Hip-hop heads (fans) have a different kind of relationship to music than fans of other genre,” said Sachs, an assistant professor of media technologies and culture at St. Mary’s College of California. “Hip-hop is not just music, it’s a culture, and that mentality permeates many aspects of the lives of hip-hop heads.”
“Being a hip-hop head means purchasing albums no matter what else is going on in your life or the world, especially an album as hot and highly anticipated as ‘The Blueprint’ was,” he said.