Capsule Review: “Blueprint 3” by Jay-Z
September 18, 2009
Jay-Z is tired of the bullshit. He’s tired of the nit-picking nay sayers. He’s tired of the multiple cats still trying to leech off of his success, and he’s tired of all the T-Pains in the music industry contaminating the future progression of modern hip-hop. He’s getting too old for the idle conversations and inadequate copycats. “You can’t sit on my lap/I don’t have a beard/Now get off my sack,” he blares in “What We Talkin’ About.” In silencing the nonsensical chatter, he just hands out the definitive plan of musical sovereignty on his eleventh studio album, “The Blueprint 3.”
With the first released single, “D.O.A. (Death of Auto Tune),” Jay-Z showcases his animosity toward overly synthesized, distorted songs that have infiltrated the genre of hip-hop, although it’s interesting that he doesn’t scold his rapper apprentice, Kanye West, for using the pitch corrector. Other tracks, such as “Off That” and “Already Home,” feature hip-hop newcomers — Drake, Kid Cudi — that beckon to Jay-Z’s mogul territory but halt at chorus status, never a verse. Established talents such as Alicia Keys and virtuosic producers Timbaland, Neptunes and Swizz Beatz flatter the album with futuristic, brazen beats and the nostalgic melodies of the old Jay-Z.
“Run this Town,” Jay-Z’s ruler manifesto and arguably the most popular track off the album, features Kanye’s ferocious raps and Rihanna’s haunting voice, singing, “I’m addicted to the thrill/It’s a dangerous love affair.” Some parts of the album drag, in spite of its firecracker appeal and Jay’s intricately clever rhymes. Songs like “A Star Is Born,” and Neptunes-produced, “So Ambitious,” falter and interfere with the lyrical chemistry the MC tries to build.
Let’s be clear, “The Blueprint 3” is not an album that will forever change the hip-hop game. Instead, it’s Jay-Z’s personal affirmation of longevity, and his braggadocio smugness of possessing real, raw talent that no one can deny — and no one ever has.