Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation)

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Much evolution has taken place since Jay-Z’s ‘Excuse Me Miss’ or ‘Can I Get A…’ Nothing like Hova’s first Blueprint trip, the 3rd installation remains a banger – this is the Jigga generation after all.

His collaboration with Alicia Keys, who sounds suspiciously like Res here on New York tribute is ‘Empire State of Mind’ is the standout and wrestles first single ‘We Run This Town’ to the ground even with its Kanye and Rihanna tag team. Jay-Z’s wining ‘A Milli’ and ‘Swagga Like Us’ formula remains intact on the superb Swizz Beatz-produced ‘On To The Next One’ and the Pharrell-produced ‘So Ambitious’ featuring the trademark NERD-man’s cool groove is as cool as Beyonce is iced. The celebrity productions aren’t all golden though. Elsewhere Timbaland-produced and Drake-assisted ‘Off That’ sounds like something copped off Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds (tsk), while the Kanye-produced ‘Young Forever’ which samples Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’ is just cringe-worthy – good thing he had the sense to hide it at the ass end of the album.

Blueprint 3 remains a conundrum then. It has its fair share of jaw-dropping rhymes and brutal cutdowns, but we’re nowhere closer to getting a grip on who Shawn Carter really is. Moreover it seems astounding for a man of his reputation and caliber to rely on as many guest artists and producers as he does. Perhaps he’s not hung up on ego and is secure enough to just exercising artistic muscle. Ultimately while a hip hop fest this is and sure to satiate any head with a heartbeat, this is far from a classic or the benchmark set by his classic 2001 release. Oh, and don’t even get us started on his rhymes/ Where’s your spirit, Jay? We’re losing you.

Listen to: ‘Empire State of Mind’
If you like this you’ll dig: Snoop
Rating: 3
Rap over to www.jay-z.com to find out more about the big guy.

Check out Jay-Z’s ‘We Run This Town’ with Kanye West and Rihanna.