don’t believe the hype

Blueprint 3 Review by caseyly16


Review after the JUMP

What We Talkin’ About (ft Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun): Wannabe “Ignorant Shit” beat and annoying hook. Jay-Z sets his “agenda” for the album, which is that he basically spells out what he stands for…blah blah blah. His last verse is pretty hot though. Because it’s still better than anything I’ve heard on the radio in the past 3 months, I’ll give this song a generous 6/10

Thank You: Very stripped down beat and a repetitive hook make for an underachieving song. However, Mister H to the Izzo decides to switch up his flow for this song, giving it the trademark Reasonable Doubt feel. Lyrically, Jay-Z is like an experienced boxer, loosely throwing hard jabs. This one will take more than a casual listen, but it’s worth it. 7/10

D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune): “Ahw.” Ya’ll already know all about this joint. “Ahw.” Jay-Z’s back in black with a monster beat by NO I.D. Dope song, even if the theme’s been played out. 9.5/10

Run This Town (feat Kanye West & Rihanna): Somehow this is exactly what you would expect from Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna. Kanye’s still got an ugly flow but lyrically he makes up for it. Jay-Z drops decent verses with a tight flow, but it’s standard fare and nothing special.  Rihanna does the Rihanna thing. Not as strong as D.O.A., but pretty good follow up. 7/10.

Empire State of Mind: With such an epic name, you’d expect a hard-hitting song. Fortunately, Jay-Z opts not to go with some cliched thug shit and smooths it out with an Alicia Keys hook. Although I initially felt that Alicia was underused, I change my mind. She really brings her heart on the chorus, and it’s actually a nice distraction away from the typical R&B hip hop choruses. The theme of the song is New York, in case you haven’t figured out that bit yet. Yeah, it works, but we get it Jay. You’re from New York. Next. On the other hand, the beat compliments the song very nicely. Classy yet soulful feel. 8.5/10

Real As It Gets feat Young Jeezy: What’s wrong with the hooks on this album? I do not want to hear Jeezy going “heyyy hoooo heyyy hoo” for half the damn song. Jeezy’s verse is regular Jeezy. Jay-Z’s verses are actually pretty good. The beat itself sounds like it belongs on a Jeezy album, not a revolutionary Jay-Z album. A celebratory vibe resonates throughout the beat which matches it’s lyrical theme. All in all, mediocre. 5/10

On to the Next One feat Swizz Beats: Some of you will find this infinitely annoying, others will love it. The beat is one of those re-re-repeat samples that drones in the background. For me, not a pleasant sound. I would have preferred that Jock-Jockin Jay-Z to this bullcrap. The theme of the song is typewrite Hov ishh, which means an abundance of swag and brag, but the substance is lacking. Boring and played out. Makes the last song look good.  4/10

Off That feat Drake: Bet most people will think this is garbage. However, I’m feelin’ it. Why? Because this is what Blueprint 3 was supposed to be about…the experimentation and evolution of a hip hop legend. Jay-Z’s flow sounds sharp and it fits the beat perfectly. Timbaland, as usual, provides a tour de force of sound. Fuck a background, Timbo only knows how to do in your face shit. Fine by me. Lyrically, Jay-Z does not do anything special, this song is pure swag. Luckily, Jay makes a great call and keeps Drake’s piece to a minimum, reserving the Degrassi star for the hook. Cool track, abeit there really isn’t much there in terms of content. 6.5/10

A Star is Born feat J. Cole: This track is Jay running out of things to say (who wouldn’t, after all these albums?). He basically recounts hip hop history over a tight beat and a smooth crooning hook. J. Cole steals the show on this one though; his verse has the heart and the content that Jay’s been missing throughout much of this album so far. However, Cole can’t really save this track from being much of anything. 6/10

Venus vs Mars: What’s the point of this? 2/10

Already Home feat Kid Cudi: “If you love me then leave me alone.” An ode to haters and shitty rappers. More of the same. Time to let other rappers (J Cole, Wale, Jay Electronica) get a moment on your albums Jay. I’m so bored of this crap. Pretty dope beat though. Overall. 5/10

Hate feat Kanye West: This song is undeniably Kanye. It has his swag, his themes, and his beat. Another ode to haters. Even though this set up typically means a snoozefest, both Jay’s and Kanye’s verses are on point (okay, Kanye’s is kind of silly.). Jay-Z has several moments of brilliance, and it’s nice to hear that little snarl in his voice. However, while this song is definitely a fun little distraction, it’s definitely not classic Jay-Z and it will probably be forgotten in a couple months. I would have loved to see some more back and forth between the two MC’s. 6.5/10

Reminder: Just what the title reads. Jay attempts to remind us of his lyrical prowess with a ice cold slap, kind of like I’m Illy from T.I.’s Paper Trail. Unfortunately, the hook sounds like it’s sung by the Ring girl. Weak. It’s like Jay got sick of writing hooks for this album. Lyrics are decent, and it’s a kind of a fun track. However, he does not have the same fire that T.I. does on I’m Illy. The beat is cold and I enjoyed it, but nothing spectacular. 6/10

So Ambitious: Wouldn’t be a Jay-Z CD without Pharrell on it. Cool beat where Jay just has a little fun. You can tell he is 100% comfortable over a Neptunes beat. He does a pretty damn good job of stringing together some intelligent lyrics too, meaning this song is actually pretty good. Now my only beef with it is the hook. Guess we can’t have everything. 6.5/10

Young Forever feat Mr. Hudson: Hov really doesn’t like being called old huh? I guess he can afford having fun for several lifetimes. This slow moving track takes the “Forever Young” hit by Youth Group from the 80’s and combines it with annoying ass drums to create a hip hop ballad.  Jay-Z’s lyrics are quite on point and fit the theme of the song quite well. His introspective side comes out a bit here, shades of an underrated Kingdom Come album. People probably will not be able to relate to this much, but I think it’s the mark of a genius wanting to show his “end of the road” mentality. Not bad, but those drums are crap. 7.5/10


Overall, it’s an enjoyable album by a hip hop legend who cranks out an album a year. Not bad considering, but with two powerhouse singles in D.O.A. and Run This Town I definitely expected a lot more fire and passion. It sounds like Jay kind of lazily meanders throughout the album without any sense of direction. He sounds like he is running out of things to talk about. Also, weak hooks and beats bring down many of the songs. However, there are definitely some moments of brilliance. I wanted so bad to like this album but there’s just too many holes. I’ll give this one a 6.5/10, primarily because it’s still a lot better than anything else out right now. Rest assured, the weakness of this album means that his next drop will be fire, so until next year!

This commercial is probably better than the entire album:

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