They say, whoever they are, that the third time is the charm. Keeping that age old aphorism in mind, let’s be real- we’ve all heard rumblings, promos, singles and commentary about Jay-Z’s latest release, The Blueprint 3. But the question that remains is, does the third and final Blueprint have that ‘charm’ that ‘they’ say it should? Your friendly neighborhood TRU Brain Trust weighed in on the issue. Pop the lid, betcha can’t stop.
BP3 was a mixed bag. I was happy that Jay spoke about his current place in rap instead of talking about what he allegedly did 20 years ago, however as the album went on it turned into self-serving fodder. The beats were, for the most part, disharmonious with Jay’s persona and he phoned in the lyricism on most of the tracks. And when did Jay-Z need an 11-man roster of guest appearances to give an album weight?
Very disappointing release from Hov. I was really let down by Kanye and No I.D.’s selections although not as much as Timbo’s picks. Highlights for me were “What We Talkin’ About,” “Already Home” and the left over “Ghetto Techno.” I was really excited after D.O.A. dropped, but I honestly can say that Jay just doesn’t have the same sort of passion.
When rappers have little left to prove, a disc like BP3 is the result. Plagued by haphazard production (where’s Justin Blaze? Premier?!) and filler galore, count it among Hov’s least complete efforts throughout his legendary career. Occasional moments of bliss in “Empire State of Mind,” “Already Home” and “A Star Is Born” are overshadowed by disasters like “Hate” and “Off That” which disrupt the cohesiveness while diminishing the album’s replay value. Hov has built a sound defined by effortlessness, yet BP3 is often forced and lacks specific direction – a surefire route to musical mediocrity.
The Blueprint 3 is not the Jay-Z album I was anticipating. Instead, we got a glimpse of Kanye’s vision for the future of music – and boy is it tacky and tedious! Sure, BP3 has its highlights, including the ambitious collaboration/anthem with songstress Alicia Keys. And though Jay’s lyrical content is lackluster for my liking, the creativity is admittedly still there. But at the end of the day, I won’t be playing this album eight years from now like I still do with the original. After it’s all said and done, The Blueprint 3 is to The Blueprint what The Godfather III was to The Godfather. Decent as a stand-alone, unacceptable as the bookend to a great series.
We already know about Jay’s rise to the top, his celebrations at that peak and his dominant swagger from the excellent songs and classic albums he documented it on. Sadly, that makes the few songs with any other topic on BP3 automatically become standouts. The album has it’s strong points and Shawn Carter has absolutely nothing left to prove but at the moment it seems he has little left to say as well.