I seen Mase do it, I seen ‘Ye do it
‘X came through, caught lighter fluid
Still I came through it; clap for him!
But I’m the blueprint, I’m like the map for ’em
I dropped another classic, made Puff pass it
Nobody could touch Puff back when Puff had it
This is one of my favorite rap songs that for some reason I never hear anyone talking about. “A Star is Born” was on The Blueprint 3, which was released back in 2009, and showcases Jay-Z essentially detailing an oral history of all the biggest players in rap over the years. Jay is able to stuff in references to everyone from Mase to DMX, Puff Daddy, 50, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Kanye, Dre, Mobb Deep, Andre 3000 and a ton more in just two verses. All of those artists, in Jay’s words, have had their moment in the sun, but Jay-Z has remained the one constant.
Not to mention “A Star is Born” was really the coming out party for J. Cole, introducing him to anyone that wasn’t routinely browsing HotNewHipHop.com downloading any mixtape you could get your hands on in college… But I digress. This track came out just a couple of months after J. Cole dropped his classic mixtape The Warm Up so he was ready to blow, even though his own debut album Cole World wouldn’t be released for another two years. J. Cole was actually the first artist signed by Jay-Z to his Roc Nation label so this was quite the way to announce your arrival.