Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
Record Label: Roc Nation
Release Date: September 8, 2009
You’re Jay-Z. You not only have your name imprinted in hip-hop, but pop culture. You have a brand. You’re decades and 10 albums into your career, many of which have been lauded classics by millions of people across the world. And you are still looked up to in the community as one of the only remaining kings of hip-hop.
So where would you go from here? Most would consider bowing out and bidding adieu to the game, while others would beat their career a bit further into the ground with a poor release. Those who have followed him know that Jay’s track record has shown that he’s had familiar experiences with both in the past.
With The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z hoped to bring the trilogy to a close by naturally coming out strong with his 11th studio effort. [Note: Not to mention, he’s been known to have the one on, one off pattern as far as his good and bad albums go.] With “D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)” reeking havoc on current trends and “Run This Town” boasting the pre-album comeback bravado that Jay-Z’s been renowned for, high hopes and expectations were inevitable.
It’s hard to talk about The Blueprint 3 without mention of the sophisticated production. Kanye West embraces the celebrity that was bred from the original installment of The Blueprint by providing half of the album’s beats, often in collaboration with veteran producer No I.D. Whether it’s the syrupy bass knocks of “Hate” or the hazy synths of “What We Talkin’ Bout,” it’s obvious that Mr. West and No I.D. delivered with the highest caliber of production. On the other hand, outside of “Off That,” Timbaland overstays his welcome on record with the usual excess of ad-libs, falling short with “Venus and Mars” and “Reminder,” two of the album’s most bland cuts.
On “Every Day a Star is Born,” Jay pays tribute to past, present and future emcees that he’s admired while involved with the game, which is definitely a huge change of pace from his typical catalog. The album’s closer, “Young Forever,” finds British up and comer Mr. Hudson flipping Alphaville’s 80s classic “Forever Young,” which is destined to be a fan favorite. But songs like the Alicia Keys assisted “Empire of State of Mind” are reasons why people fell in love with the Brooklyn emcee to begin with. Complete with introspective lyrics and a throwback drum and bass beat by Al Shux to boot, the only thing that would’ve made this song impact stronger would’ve been the rumored Nas feature.
Then again, it’s the features that really take a toll on this album. Young Jeezy’s spot on “Real As It Gets” distracts and clutters, while Swizz Beatz tests your patience and aggravates on “On To the Next One.” And in the case of both Kanye West features (“Run This Town,” “Hate”), the Jigga man is overshadowed by his own protégé. Et tu, Kanye? Regardless, the incorporation of onomatopoeia has never sounded so clever.
If there truly was an unscathed and unbiased assessment of this record, it’s hard to believe that someone could dislike this record. That’s strictly fantasy. The Blueprint 3 has more than a fair share of plunder. Jay’s stream of consciousness emceeing is a true testimony to his craft and not to mention, the production is top-notch. There are anthems; there are street songs and club songs. Now, as far as the trilogy is concerned, The Blueprint 3 is far less scatterbrained than Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse, but falls completely short of The Blueprint, which should have been predicted from the get-go. Let’s face it, people love their classics, and it’s damn near impossible to come in between that love.
Review is pretty good, and I definitely agree with the score.
IMHO, there are some really, really good songs here, and some definitely sub-par ones [mostly due to lyrics..]
'Forever Young' is one of my favorite songs of '09 so far, and might be my favorite song of HOV's ever.
solid review.. this is a good album, not as good as reasonable doubt or maybe the black album but jay says it himself, if you want the old jay go buy an old album. all around this is a high quality album definitely worth a listen
was expecting this to contend for album of the year for me, but it turned out to be one of the year's biggest disappointments. there's nothing like having a song called "death of autotune" and then have the very next track featuring both rihanna and kanye. that makes sense.
don't get me wrong I love jay-z but this album is weak.
i've been blasting this song in my car ever since i got it. but yeah kanye kills it with his producing and his feature on run this town. "it's funny how you can go from being joe blow, to everybody on your dick no homo." kanye murders it.