Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, is back with the final installment in The Blueprint trilogy. The gift and the curse of any Jay-Z album is that it will indelibly be compared to previous classics. The Blueprint 3 is an album that fully embraces this challenge and builds upon the foundation of its predecessors while exploring newer influences.
Produced by Kayne West, the album boasts the same gritty soul influences that made the first so critically acclaimed. This influence is evident in standout tracks like lead single “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-tune)” and “Thank You.” This soul is coupled with an alternative influence to birth songs like “What We Talkin’ Bout (featuring Luke Steele)” and “Hate (featuring Kanye West).”As a whole, the production is masterful and the album strikes a nice balance between the familiar and the uncharted. However, the all too repetitive refrain in “On to the Next (featuring Swizz Beatz)” and “Reminder” take away from the albums overall cohesion.
Lyrically, the album is first-class, which comes as no surprise. Jay’s trademark double entendres and witty metaphors are found in large supply. It seems every song has multiple quotable or memorable lines that beg pressing rewind.
The Blueprint 3 is not an album that will change opinions of Jay-Z as an artist. However, for its lyrical density, unique production, and overall honesty, it lives up to its namesake and is well worth a listen from casual fans and diehards alike.
The Blueprint 3
Release Date: 9/11/09
Label: Roc Nation/Atlantic
Production: Shawn Carter (exec.), Kanye West (exec.), No I.D., Timbaland, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, The Inkredibles, Shux