#20 – Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3

Jay-Z, the self-dubbed “greatest rapper alive”, continues to crank out albums after his self proclaimed “retirement” back in 2003 after his release of his highly acclaimed The Black Album. The Brooklyn industrial juggernaut comes back this year with his third installment of his Blueprint series with The Blueprint 3, reclaiming his spot once again atop the hip-hop charts, and the music world for that matter.
The album is cluttered with collaborators, ranging from the female superstars Alicia Keys on the album’s highlight “Empire State of Mind” and Rihanna on “Run This Town” (also featuring Kanye West), to rappers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz and Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D. On The Blueprint 3, we see a different side of Jay-Z as far as samples go. Album opener “What We Talkin’ Bout” features vocal samples from Empire of the Sun and “On To The Next One” features “D.A.N.C.E.” by electro-pop French Duo Justice; so the album has differing influences than past albums by Jay goes.
The album’s second track “Thank You” features the lyrics of “Thank you, thank you, thank you/You’re far too kind/Hold your applause/this is your song, not mine”, we can see that all the credit does in fact go to Jay for this release, because it maintains his collective genius in being able to consistantly put out great albums (this being his 11th release to reach number 1 on the Billboard Charts), while still continuing to expand his listener and fanbase.
Although the album doesn’t quite surpass some of his previous releases of 2007’s American Gangster or 2001’s The Blueprint, saying this release deserve some critical acclaim at the end of the year might be proving you’re just in the wrong state of mind.
So it has begun! Our countdown towards WPGU’s Album of the Year:
20. Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3
19. Coming Tuesday…Stay tuned!

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