By DREW CAMPBELL
The best rapper alive has done it again. Last Tuesday Jay-Z released his 11th studio album, “The Blueprint 3.” With his newest release Jay proves he can keep his impeccable lyrical genius intact while simultaneously utilizing today’s epic, super-produced sound.
In fact, upon listening to the album, the first thing you are likely to notice is the production. With Kanye West producing seven of the 15 tracks and Timbaland on an additional three, it’s hard to be disappointed with the beats. The album also boasts production work courtesy of Chicago producer No I.D, whom die-hard Hova fans might remember from his work on Jay-Z’s last album “American Gangster.”
However, production is not all that stands out on the album, as there are several tracks that highlight Jay-Z’s signature flow. The first that comes to mind is the intensely aggressive “D.OA. (Death of Autotune),” in which Jay goes in on the current trend of using Autotune to cover up artistic faults. Other lyrical gems include Timbaland-produced tracks “Off That” and “Reminder.”
Despite the anti-Autotune sentiment of “D.O.A,” Kanye West produces “Hate,” a well-rounded track which features an Autotune chorus, verses by Kanye, and the exaggerated flow Jay-Z is known for, as evident in the lyric: “You know I got it down dawg, Al Roker, I used to knock pounds off / It ain’t nothing for me to knock nouns off, but these MCs are prayin for my downfall.”
This installment of Jay-Z’s Blueprint series serves as a rebound from “The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse,” but doesn’t quite live up to the classic status of “The Blueprint.” “The Blueprint 3” has the fairly standard balance of street-to-club tracks that Jay-Z is known for but is separated from past albums in that Jay expertly blends top notch lyricism with exotically futuristic beats, giving the listener something more than the average rap album.
Jay-Z has easily had a dominant hold on hip hop for the past 13 years, and his consistency has never been in question (unless you count 2006 dud “Kingdom Come”). “The Blueprint 3” fits squarely behind “Reasonable Doubt,” “The Blueprint,” and “The Black Album” and well ahead of “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life” and “American Gangster.” This album is a must have for those out there who are Jay-Z fans or for those of you who just love true lyrical hip-hop.