Jay-Z brings the hooks to his newest effort, The Blueprint 3

Jay-Z’s highly anticipated third installment of the Blueprint trilogy, The Blueprint 3, dropped this fall. Nothing new, Jay-Z’s 11th studio album reached number one in the States. This latest number one album includes 15 tracks produced by a variety of people, including Kanye West, Timbaland, The Neptunes, and No I.D. Not only is are their numerous producers on this album, there are many audio collaborators, with songs featuring Alicia Keys, Rhianna, Kanye West, Drake, and many more. Samples included on the album come include the obvious use of Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” in “Young Forever” to the far less noticeable use of Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” in “On to the Next One.”
His ability to utilize and take control of tracks through his collaborative genius (we’ve seen this before from Jay-Z, notably in his memorable collaboration with Linkin Park and ongoing collaborations with Kanye West) that makes this album good. Jay-Z is a good rapper, and if you like listening to him rapping, he strives for perfection. But for the majority of rappers and hip-hop artists, that kind of album would get redundant in a hurry. The people that worked on this album seemed aware of that, and therefore mixed in multiple musical genres and some catchy hooks to keep you interested. For example, I am all too excited about the use of instrumentals in “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” (ironically featuring Kanye West). All this only enhances Jay-Z’s rapping which lays the beat which finds yourself bobbing your head along with everyone.
Some songs off the album, specifically “Run This Town” and “Empire State of Mind”, have strong hooks sung by attractive women which make them perfect candidates for singles. Other songs, like “On to the Next One,” are less radio-friendly yet still terrific. Two songs in which Jay-Z’s rapping is dynamic enough to overpower a hook, other genre influences, or a big name guest are “Hate” and “Venus vs, Mars,” both standouts to me. Even songs I didn’t really like too much on the first listen like “What We Talkin’ About” and “Thank You” grow on me the more I listen to them. There are a lot of captivating tracks on this album, and it’s one I can listen to over and over again.
Key Tracks: “Empire State of Mind”, “Run This Town”, “As Real As It Gets”
WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-G

W = Poor

W-P = OK

W-P-G = Good

W-P-G-U = Great!

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