Album Review- Jay-z- Blueprint 3

So the most highly anticipated album of the year's release is finally upon us as Jay-Z's the Blueprint 3 is just around the corner. Jay is looking to once again dominate the hip-hop headlines and charts, and judging of fof the buzz both good and bad from D.O.A. and Run this Town he is well positioned to do just that.

Now I earlier wrote a blog about having high expectations for artists like Jay-z who are iconic and who have a history, or the perception at least, of putting out great material, and so in listening, I am looking for something that is head and shoulder better than the other releases of the past year.

The first thing is the production is of course, top-notch with a variety of sounds and styles yet they all mix together. The best in my opinion are "Venus vs. Mars" a more than decent track comparing Jay to a fictional female using some colorful metaphors to represent each of them. The crisp drums and bass make this a whip banger and a potential freestyle staple track on a J. armz mixtape in the near future. "Off that" which is another Timbaland produced track is more pop and uptempo but Jay manages to work with it for the most part except for the first verse which i don't like more for it's ending and how Jay chooses to flow more than the lyrics. This song also features Drakes much-hyped appearance on the album but he is only on the hook which is disappointing for people who want to hear if the hype can really hang with the top emcees.

I am also partial to D.O.A. because of it's darkness, and the idea behind it. "A Star is Born" is another solid track where Jay uses his time to run down the big artists of hip-hop of his last 10 years, which is I guess to show artists whom he respects and so the newer generation maybe goes back and tips their hat to people who were in the game for a while while showcasing some wit:

"Luda moved digits after he moved bitches
Drake's up next, see what he do with it
Rule had a run couple of movie parts
T.I. literally wanted to shoot up the charts"

The song features another newcomer in J. Cole, but he doesn't do anything to justify his presence on the album either. His verse isn't bad, it just doesn't stand out. Bleek could have been on that slot instead and it would have been a welcomed treat.

A couple of songs have better beats than the actual song though, like "Haters" which is another Kanye West joint and seems to fit more with Ye's corny image than Jay's smoothness and swagger. I would like "Run This Town" if the screeching cat that is Rihanna were eliminated. Whoever thought she sounded good really needs to lose their job, and if it is Jay, then so be it. "Reminder" is Jays shot to talk a little greasy and he wastes an opportunity to go in on some people I think. The track would ahve been perfect to really do the "Hip-hop" thing and dig in on Jim Jones, Budden (on more than one line), and anyone else who has been popping off. Instead Jay wastes bars running down years he had the top albums.

For me, "Young Forever" is the worst song on the album. I'm not feeling the concept, hook, or the track. "Already Home" featuring Kid Cudi could have been omitted and I wouldn't care. It doesn't do anything for me and I am still at a loss as to why Cudi is so popular. "As Real as It gets" with Jeezy sounds like another wack Jeesy song to me, it's rather boring and lame attempt to make a song the "thugs can smoke too". I like "On to The Next One" just for the Swizz sound and the fact it brings some energy to the otherwise laid back album. Jay also gets dirty lyrically on the song which doesn't hurt. "Empire State of Mind" could have been better, as it stands its little more than the average "it's so hard to make it in NY" song and it doesn't utilize Alicia Keys like it should have.

Overall, D.O.A. led me to believe the album was going to be a lot harder straight hip-hop type of album. Only a couple of songs continue that feel on the theme (On to the next One, Venus vs. Mars, and Reminder). "So Ambitious" A Pharrell joint is a cool laid back track that maintains the hip-hop feel and actually is a coherent story with a point so I can't hate that. I also have a problem with the intro, "What you Talkin about" because Jay references how he is moving forward with his music yet it sounds like a throwaway track from American Gangster where he went backwards to something similar to Reasonable Doubt. It is inconsistent with the ideas he is trying to present with BP3.

Jay tried to come with an album that both recaps his past and moves the game forward to something different but he slips up and focuses too much on actually pointing out what he has done, instead of making music that had the old feel while touching on new topics, or even old ones in a new light. An example of his success in that area is "So Ambitious" if you are trying to get what I'm saying.

Fact is, I expected too much and I know this, yet I still came away disappointed at this as a Jay-Z album with the lack of execution of the concepts. However, it is probably the most solid album of the year beating out Relapse (I am still hoping Relapse 2 drops before the end of the year).

Rating: 4/5


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