Double CD follow-up to last year's mainstream rap classic proves that bigger is rarely better

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Jay-Z – The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse

What made The Blueprint so great was Jay-Z’s opulent showbiz, magnifying his ego to global proportions. But can such an ego be tolerated over a double album?

Alas, despite individually powerful tracks like “Hovi Baby” and “Bitches & Sisters”, we’ve heard too much of this before. There are obligatory contributions from the Neptunes and Timbaland, of which the former come out much the better (“Fuck All Nite”, “Nigga Please”), and equally predictable appearances by Jay-Z’s current other half Beyonc