Album Review: Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3

8 09 2009

Blueprint3 Album Cover
It’s been eight years since Jay-z released his classic Blueprint album. The album featured some of Jay’s best verses, limited guest appearances, and unforgettable soulful production. The following year the sequel was released, and instead of being a thirteen (fifteen if you include the bonus tracks) track LP, Jay decided to make the second album of the series his first double album. The album featured numerous tracks which helped it live up to it’s title “The Gift and the Curse”. Fans agreed it didn’t live up to it’s predecessor, but still managed to enjoy songs spread out through both disks. Jay decided not to add on to the Blueprint series with his next few albums but in 2009, he revisits the Blueprint series to drop his most anticipated album since The Black Album.

4/5 – Constructive

Weeks before the album was released, the track listing leaked which gave fans a closer look at the sound that Hov was going for. “D.O.A.” was Jay’s declaration of the auto-tune being put to rest, and “Run This Town” was a collaborative effort where Jay, Kanye, and Rihanna reign supreme. With both tracks being completely different in sound, the remainder of the album was mysterious. Once the album details were revealed we saw Jay was working with new artists like Drake, Kid Cudi, and J. Cole; but also working with artists outside of the Hip Hop genre like Alicia Keys, Mr. Hudson, and an Australian musician Luke Steele for the albums opener “What We Talkin’ Bout”.
“What We Talkin’ Bout” gets the album started on a good note as he spits over the synthesized Kanye West production, and even name drops his foes The Game, Jimmy and Jaz-O. Jay and Kanye continue their chemistry on “Thank You” where Jay appears to be the most charismatic and egotistical which lines like:

Please don’t bow in my presence How am I a Legend?/I just got 10 #1 albums Maybe now 11/More hits than a Now! 11/That is no reason to treat me like I’m
somehow from outta heaven/Heaven knows that I’ve made my mistakes/Thank God, what a guy as I say my grace

One of the albums highlights is the New York anthem “Empire State of Mind”. Whether you’re a NY native or not, you will enjoy the ode to the Empire State as Hov gives you a tour of the streets of New York. Alicia Keys also lends her vocals to “Empire State of Mind” for the outstanding hook on the track.
Throughout Jigga’s discography he’s always had at least one or two club friendly tracks. In the past he’s had “Dirt On Your Shoulders”, “Put Ya Hands Up”, and others. This time around, Blueprint 3 features two club friendly tracks; the bass-heavy Swizz track “On to the Next One”, and the Drake assisted “Off That”. “Off That” is one of the three Timbaland produced tracks, which disappointed many when leaking weeks prior to the albums release. Fans were curious to hear how Drake would sound on a track with Jay-z, but he only appears on the hook, while the production sounds like a recycled post-millennium beat by Timbaland. The other two Timbaland instrumentals aren’t impressive either, but they are saved by superb verses by Jay. “Venus vs. Mars” is a prime example; the beat sounds almost incomplete, but helps to focus your attention on the clever yet ironic lyrics about a female antagonist.
The album ends with notable tracks like the motivational “So Ambitious”, and the ode to young age “Forever Young”. Both tracks contribute to the lasting impression of the Blueprint 3.
In conclusion, the Blueprint 3 is easily an above average album. The rhymes and delivery are definitely there, while a couple of the beats are hit or miss. For example, “Hate” with Kanye West sounds like a throw-a-way track, and “As Real As It Gets”, which isn’t a bad track sounds more suitable for Thug Motivation 103 rather than The Blueprint 3. Jay-z still sounds fresh as he works with younger artists and shows no sign of fatigue after 13 years plus in the game.

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