Album Review: The Blueprint 3 by Jay-Z

Posted: August 6, 2011 by eptarheels23 in Album Review, Music
Tags: , ,

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Part two of building up hype towards Watch the Throne continues with the review of The Blueprint 3. Part three of the critically acclaimed Blueprint series might be the most mainstream one in the series. With big times names lined up for the album such as Rhianna, Kanye West, Drake, Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Young Jeezy and Alicia Keys, Jay was definitely trying appeal to everyone. Well check below for the review on The Blueprint 3!

1: What We Talkin’ About (feat. Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun) 3/5
I realize that this track has Luke Steel on it and everything, but this is not Jay-Z’s style. The beat is uptempo and sounds almost elctro-ish. It’s just out of place and a lot of Jay-Z lines make me scratch my head a little. Such as how he describes “rap” as something old and played out, and how he tell other rappers to not speak about gritty narratives when his whole Reasonable Doubt was basically that same thing. This is a definite pass for me.

2: Thank You 5/5
This is by far the best beat one of the best beats on the LP. It sounds like a mid-2000 Dr. Dre beat that was left on the cutting room floor for Kingdom Come. Over a beat filled with drum kicks and horns, Jay-Z says a simple thank you to his fans. Some of his lines are very interesting such as “tip the waiter $100 just to keep the ice cold”, Hov’s empathy towards his fans are is kinda courteous by blatantly recession proof. With that being said, this is a great listen. The beat sounds like classic Jay and he flows well over the Dr. Dre-esque banger.

3: D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) 4/5
Forget the fact that this track should not be titled D.O.A. but rather D.A. or D.A.T., and you have a lyrical onslaught from the king himself. Over a beat filled with horns, guitar riffs and No I.D.’s ridiculous sample, Jay goes off on the auto-tune usage. The problem is that Jay did this a few year too late. One thing is sure though, your head will be nodding throughout the track.

4: Run This Town (feat. Rihanna & Kanye West) 4.5/5
While I’m a huge fan of everything about this track, I do have a few problems with it. They essentially brag they whole time, they run this town. We get it. Another thing is that a lot of people have been saying that Kanye murder Jay on his own track. I completely disagree. If you were to say that then you would be saying that Kanye’s pretty good verse is on the same level as Eminem’s ridiculous verse on Renegade. Yeah right. With that being said I do really enjoy Yeezy’s verse, it’s just not on the same level as Eminem’s. I’m also not surprised this track had the success that it did considering it has the three most popular artists today all on one record.

5: Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys) 5/5
This is a hit in every sense of the word. I don’t even live in New York and this makes me want to go there and flaunt my NY pride. Jay wisely selected fellow New Yorker Alicia Keys to hold down the hook, taking this one over the top. This track is catchy, it’s triumphant, it’s uplifting, it’s full of pride. Bottom line: it is an anthem.

6: Real As It Gets (feat. Young Jeezy) 5/5
The beat on this is lush and up-tempo, making for a great combo. Jeezy and Jay both come hard for the whole track, but I do have a problem with this record. It seems more like a Young Jeezy featuring Jay-Z record, not the other way around. You are going to hear more Young Jeezy than Jay-Z on this cut, which isn’t a good thing on a Jay-Z album. I do like on they incorporated Young Jeezy on the album though, it seemed to draw in more down south listeners to the LP. Last thing, these are more the type of beats I love Jeezy rapping over. All in all, a great combination between the east and south emcees.

7: On to the Next One (feat. Swizz Beatz) 4/5
When I first saw this track, I feared for the worst. I have never been a Swizz Beatz fan at all. All his beats sound the same and I don’t like his style. Well, this beat is one of the best I’ve ever heard from Swizzy. It is a complete banger and sounds like it will blasted at clubs everywhere. Jay starts off his first verse going right at his haters with lines such as “n****s want my old s**t, buy my old album”. While this isn’t the best track lyrically, it serves it’s purpose.

8: Off That (feat. Drake) 4/5
Continuing the same theme that you saw in On to the Next One, Jay basically states that he is light-years ahead of us and we’ll never catch up. So once again, this isn’t the best record when it comes down to the lyrical content. Timbaland is behind the boards and the beat sounds like something left off of Justin Timberlake’s album Future Sex/Love Sounds. It’s catchy, but it’s not something that you’ll talk about. Lastly, Drake needs a verse! Come on Jay, this track could have been so much better if you had just given the Toronto emcee and verse instead of putting him on the chorus.

9: A Star Is Born (feat. J. Cole) 5/5
This is my favorite track off the LP so far, without a doubt. Kanye and No I.D. cooked up one soulful beat using lavish horns, bass-like keys and peppy hand claps, which will have your head nodding to the beat. Hov shows love to all the hip-hop pioneers and up and coming stars, in a celebratory, dedication track. Probably my second favorite emcee ever, J. Cole, murders his verse and steals the show in my opinion. This was his first major feature and if you hadn’t already heard of him already, you certainly had after listening to this record.

10: Venus Vs. Mars 3.5/5
This is a club oriented record that could some serious spins there. The beat is a low-groove banger and sounds like vintage Timbaland. Jay-Z’s lyrics are simple but catchy with lines such as “shorty like Pac; me, Big Poppa, screamin’ Hit ‘Em Up, I’m screaming Who Shot Ya?“, “shorty like Pepsi; me, I’m the Coke man, body like a Coke bottle, I crush it like a Coke can” and “me, I’m from the apple which means I’m the Mac, she’s a PC which mean she lives in my lap”. I do have a problem thoug, I know Jay and Timbo can do better than this, much better.

11: Already Home (feat. Kid Cudi) 4.5/5
Kanye channeled his inner-College Dropout self for this beat. It has that organic feel to it, but it still lush at the same time. Kid Cudi’s chorus could have been better, but it got the job done. Hov is also at his most flamboyant in this record, but that’s not terrible because he drops some funny lines left and right. No complaints here.

12: Hate (feat. Kanye West) 3/5
I have been trying to figure out if I hate or love this record for the longest time. Well I finally decided that I hate it. If Already Home had the College Dropout Kanye West behind the boards, then this track has the 808’s & Heartbreak Kanye. The terrible muffled vocals on the background sound like these guys recorded it in the shower. Pause times a thousand. When you rhyme “very” and “Katy Perry” you know you’re in for a bad song. Skip this one before it even starts.

13: Reminder 3/5
I don’t like this track, period. The wavering synths and piercing strings make for a beat that feels haunting. The chorus sucks and Jay verses are forgettable. This record gets old fast and has no repayable value. Can you say “filler”?

14: So Ambitious (feat. Pharrell) 5/5
I have also never been that big a fan of The Npetunes production. With that being said, I love this beat. The classic, funky Neptunes feel comes through and the serious drum and syth kicks make for a banger. Jay goes off on people who doubted him in the beginning with lines such as “I felt so inspired by what my teacher said, said I’d either be dead or be a reefer head, now sure if thats how adults should speak to kids, especially when the only thing I did was speak in class, I’ll teach his ass”. This is a hidden gem in the entirety of the LP.

15: Young Forever (feat. Mr Hudson) 4.5/5
Similar to what Jay did on Beach Chair, Mr Hudson lays down the hook instead of Chris Martin. Over a relaxing, calm beat Jay celebrates the good times and closes out the LP on a high note. I do have a complaint though, the track just seems to end abruptly at the end leaving me wanting more.

No longer does Jay talk about tales of coke deals and ghetto strife. Barack is his new BFF and he’s got Oprah on speed dial. Things have changed. The album had its low points (and they were not normally this low for Jay), but it had its show of the old Jay. Hov also got some of the brightest stars of the new generation of rappers such as Drake, J. Cole and Kid Cudi to show everyone what they’ve got. With that being said, The Blueprint 3 was nothing more than bragfest for himself and his buddies. “Look what I’ve got and you don’t” kinda attitude. I can stand it for a record or two, but a whole album is too much. The Blueprint 3 is absolutely no where near the original. The beats aren’t as good and neither Jay’s rhymes.

Download: Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3

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