It was only a matter of time before Jay-Z dropped a double disc. Fortunately for his fans, like a fine wine, the Brooklyn rapper seems to get better with time. Although it makes a few missteps, the sequel to 2001's critically hailed The Blueprint features some of the hottest joints of the Jigga Man's career. The album's first and overall weaker disc, subtitled The Gift, comes off a little like hip-hop karaoke, as Hova gratuitously cops material from 2Pac (" '03 Bonnie & Clyde," featuring Beyoncé Knowles), Dr. Dre ("The Watcher 2," featuring Rakim, Truth Hurts, and the Doc himself), Digital Underground ("All Around the World"), and the Notorious B.I.G. ("A Dream," featuring Big's widow, Faith Evans). But it isn't totally a derivative dud. "The Bounce" is yet another grade-A, Timbaland-Hova collaboration, and Jay perfects his Dirty South flow alongside Big Boi from OutKast and other members of the Dungeon Family clique on "Poppin' Tags." It's on Disc 2, The Curse, however, that Jay picks up steam. He indulges his rock jones on the Heavy Dproduced "Guns & Roses," featuring Lenny Kravitz singing and playing on the guitar hook, and tries to score heaven points by admitting to random acts of charity for Columbine and 9/11 on "Some People Hate." The Curse ends with the live-sounding, Neptunes-produced "A Ballad for a Fallen Soldier," where Jay waxes poetic about the parallels between the lives of a soldier and a hustler. Although it would have been a better single disc, The Blueprint 2 solidifies the foundation of Jay-Z's now-sprawling hip-hop empire.