Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 PDF Print E-mail
New Albums - Electronica & Hip Hop Albums
Written by Lee Allen   

September 11th 2001, a day that will live on in the minds of new Yorkers for many years to come for more reasons than one, a day that brought about tragedy and the fall of the twin towers, turned out to be day of mixed emotions for Sean ‘King of New York’ Carter.

In a tragic day where his city burnt down to the ground, he rose up to deliver his magnum opus: "The Blueprint.’ Although far off the scale of the terrorist acts, nonetheless it was a key date in Hip Hop history, as well as musical history as a whole. A Classic LP that demonstrated Jay-Z’s amazing wordplay and wittiness, introduced soul-sampling beats to the mainstream and also introduced the world to a young man who goes by the name of Kanye West…arguably now bigger than Jay himself!

Just over one year on, Sean Carter delivered "The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse".  Unfortunately for Jay-Z the sequel proved to be the curse. The album didn’t live up to the heights of its predecessor and was criticized for being too commercial, inconsistent & also received bad reviews for its reliance on guest verses, but that didn’t stop the album going platinum and topping the billboard album charts…it appeared there was no stopping Jay Hova…

…7 years later and that still appears to be the case! Now widely considered as the best that ever did it, Jay-Z is back on his new label Roc Nation to deliver part 3 of the blueprint trilogy. Would it match the sheer brilliance of the first Blueprint or would it fade in the memory the same way the sequel did?

Already before the album’s release we are already left with two singles of enormous contrast, in the red corner we have the hugely underwhelming street single "Death Of Autotune" which fails to dismiss the famed Antares plug-in and sees jay going off subject, into a world of his own. This falls straight into the curse category! Then in the blue corner: we have the Kanye West & Rihanna assisted "Run This Town", which can only be described by one word…epic! With Kanye bringing his A-game, producing by far the best beat on the album & then delivering a contender for the albums best verse. Jay is also sounding like his old self on this one and truly thrives over the thumping instrumentation, while pop princess Rihanna delivers an annoyingly catchy hook that will not only "Run This Town" but run through your head all day! So would the singles give us an accurate reflection on the album as a whole?

Well the album couldn’t of got off to a worse start, beginning with, "What We Talkin’ Bout", a merely average cut that should of stayed on the cutting room floor, that doesn’t come within a mile of "The Rulers Back" (the emphatic intro for the original Blueprint), this is followed by the exceptionally boring "Thank You", this takes the album slightly more downhill with awful production, sounding like a poor recreation of, "Show Me What You Got" purchased off of Soundclick, rather than produced by multi-platinum chart topper Kanye West. Then, just as it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, "Death Of Autotune" follows to round of a hat trick of below par tracks.

Luckily this trend disappears as the next two tracks turn out to be the most successful songs on the album, "Run This Town" & the inspirational ode to the Big Apple's, "Empire State Of Mind".  The Alicia Keyes assisted cut resulted in Jay-Z earning his first number one single in the US, a truly surprising statistic considering Jay holds the record for most number one US albums.

The album then steps back into dangerous territory with the Young Jeezy collaboration, "Real As It Gets". It turns out the song was originally destined to be Jeezy’s first single off of his next album, until Jay-Z decided he wanted it! Can anyone say no to Sean Carter? The gamble however didn’t pay off, the song just doesn’t fit in with the album & really should of remained where it belonged! This thankfully proves to be just a minor blip in the run of hot songs, making way for a succession of club bangers: "On To The Next One" and the futuristic, "Off That", where Jay’s at times humorous braggadocio it topped off with an infectious hook from boy wonder, Drake.

Then another new talent is introduced, on the aptly titled "A Star Is Born" featuring Roc Nations new signing J.Cole. The youngster raps way beyond his years to deliver a breathtaking verse on one of Kanye West’s better beats. Jay also drops a quotable or two, as he gives props to his hip-hop counterparts, recalling the best moments in his and their careers.

Timbaland returns on production duties for his second song on the album, the lyrical standout "Venus Vs. Mars" which despite its unimaginative hook, turns out to be one of the better tracks off of the LP.  Jay reminds us why he’s number one with a number of incredible punchlines that any top lyricist would be proud of - "Shawty got wind I had to blow the chick off."

As we approach the latter end of the album, once again we are taken on a very rocky road! Jay-Z brings out another one of the new boys, this time putting his faith in Kid Cudi to deliver a chorus for the masses while Jay raps confidently over the Gladdy’s All-stars sample. You can hear the two artist’ have great chemistry and they produce fantastic results in the process.

Now this is what I mean by rocky road…Kanye West & Jay-Z, two of the finest rappers of our time team up for, "Hate". Now going on past ventures, "Run This Town" and "Never Let You Down" this looked like it would be one of the standout tracks. But fans presumptions couldn’t have been any more off key, "Hate" is by far the worst song on the album and somehow stoops way below that of, "Thank You" & "D.O.A", Then guess what? The rollercoaster ride heads upwards again with Timbaland contributing a 3rd beat to the album, this eclipsing his two earlier successes!  Jay sounds bigger and better than ever on this synth-heavy cut as he raps the boastful lines, "I crushed Elvis and his blue suede shoes", a powerful metaphor, which refers to Jay-Z outselling the king of rock and roll. The song really does what it says on the tin, gives us a reminder that Jay-Z is the best there ever was & the best there ever will be!

Sadly the next song marks a rare failure in the Neptune’s/Jay-Z catalogue; normally you would expect nothing less than fire when the production duo & the Jigga Man hit the booth together. Previous smashes such as "Change Clothes", "Allure" and "Excuse Me Miss" have been among Jay’s best releases to date, this time the track will fade in your memory & hopefully never be mentioned again….

Then to round it all off we are handed Jay-Z’s favorite song off the album, featuring Kanye West’s new favorite artist, Camden’s very own, Mr. Hudson, "Forever Young", a bold statement, taking on board the phrase, "age isn’t nothing but a number" but turning it on its head, Jay sounding like a boxer who’s past his prime, admits he wont be able to keep it up forever but will ride it out until the wheels fall off!

All in all, the album is filled with loads of up’s & down’s, but without a doubt more positives than negatives. It wont go down as a classic, nor will it outdo its original, but Is a big improvement on "The Blueprint 2", completes what is undoubtedly a classic trilogy & should also keep Jay-Z’s unrivalled reputation intact for at least a few more a years…


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