Hip-Hop Block Reviews “Blueprint 3” by Jay-Z
Shawn Corey Carter is the best rapper to ever grace a microphone (non-debatable issue); and with his latest installment to his 11-album career, he is still schooling the younger cats in the rap game.
Jay-Z was born on December 4th, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. Because of being born and raised by the streets, listeners can paint vivid images of what life was like in the slums. But in a gang-banging and misogynistic genre of music, Jay-Z has had his fair share of the limelight to the point we can finally see Jay retreating back to the luxury lifestyle and actually see him develop and mature into not only an icon, but also a role model.
Jay-Z also known as the Jigga Man, Hova, Jay, S. Dot, and so many other names has a list of accomplishments that involve several grammy awards, record-breaking sells, songs with the Notorious BIG while he was alive, arguably the greatest rap album ever (Reasonable Doubt), owner of the New Jersey Nets, and he also hints at owning a piece of the New York Yankees in the future as well.
Jay has taken it beyond rap. He has opened doors for other rappers such as Kanye West, J. Cole, Beanie Sigel, and many more. You can believe it when he says it, but Jay doesn’t run rap anymore, he runs the map. With the support of our first black president, Jay-Z not only converses with the mayor of the Big Apple, but he also has Obama on the text message, so it is highly likely that the two look to each other for advice.
Jay-Z isn’t news anymore. He isn’t history either although he is making history. Here’s a simple analogy to jump-start your brains if you’ve never heard of Jay-Z in your lifetime.
Jay-Z is to rap what Shakespeare is to literature.
As this album was supposed to drop on 9/11 this year which falls on a Friday (most albums and new music debut on Tuesdays), it was pushed up a couple of days to the 8th because of the leak on the Internet.
Why 9/11 on a Friday? The first Blueprint album came out on September 11, 2001, a day our country will always remember. On that day I remember leaving school on the metro bus heading to the nearest music store, so I could get the CD that very day. Sad thing to say it was sold out; however, my mom had a copy of it awaiting my arrival home.
I remember the sad faces on 9/11, but I also remember hanging out with the boys listening to Jay-Z and praying to God that everything was going to be ok. As long as Jay-Z was playing, everything seemed perfect—a vicarious escape.
Without any further ado, please throw some earphones in and hit play. Use caution—product maybe hot!
On the opening sequence of Hova’s Blueprint 3, “What We Talkin’ About,” you can feel the emphasis Jay puts on his lyrics to make them more understandable by the listener.
“Hold up, pardon my back/I’m talking bout life/And all I hear is/Oh yea he keeps talkin’ bout crack/I ain’t talking bout profit/I’m talking bout pain/I’m talkin’ bout dispair/I’m talkin’ bout shame.”
Jay teaches us to listen to the lyrics instead of the steady beats and hooks and choruses, even though that may be hard with a CD produced by Kanye West with tracks by No I.D., Timberland, and Swizz Beats.
Other notable names on this album are Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Drake, Pharrell, Mr. Hudson, and Rihanna. These are the up and coming names in hip-hop and in ten years, being a part of Jay-Z’s last contracted album will be on their resume’s.
On the song “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) produced by No I.D., the maturity of Jay-Z is shown through his lyrics.
“I know we facin’ a recession/But the music yall make/Gone make it the great depression.”
Let’s face it! The music for hardcore hip-hop heads has been watered down into dance songs and club bangers. Where are the lyrics? Where is the meaning? Basically, where is the rap?
Jay addresses this issue as well as the use of artists who use Auto-Tune as a means of progressing through rap. There is nothing wrong with Auto-Tune in the eyes of Jay-Z; however, some artists depend on it and that’s where the fault is.
This song is kind of funny and makes you want to laugh doesn’t it? If not the last bar of the song says enough—“La da dad a… Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye.”
In memory of the fallen officers, workers, those on the planes that went into the twin towers, the song “Empire State of Mind” is a classic. For New York, this song is the rap version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
“Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab/Holla back for Foreigners it ain’t fair/They act like they forgot how to add/8 million stories/ out there in the naked/City is a pity/ Half of yall won’t make it!”
That is the reality of the situation. The city life is a struggle and half won’t make it; however, there is always hope.
“Came here for school/Graduated to the high life/ Ball players, rap stars addicted to the limelight/MDMA got you feelin’ like a champion/The city never sleeps/Better slip you an Ambien.”
This may not be a classic Jay album; nonetheless, it is still comparable to great albums and is the best album to drop so far this year. So, make sure there’s no Ambien around when you go to play this album.
You wouldn’t want to fall asleep to this masterpiece.
Keep Hip-Hop alive!