Volume 47, Number 3 - September 21, 2009

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Jeannie Rodriguez
Jeannie Rodriguez

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The Blueprint 3

Jay-Z's new Album Unoriginal

By Jeannie Rodriguez

September 11th was a day to recognize the heroes of New York, including the hip-hop icon and the God MC, Jay-Z.

The release of Jay-Z’s eleventh album, Blueprint 3, ended the wait for hip-hop fans across the nation. J

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, was born on Dec 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. He first began releasing records in 1990 and first appeared on “The Originators” by close friend Jaz, and “Can’t I Get Open” by Original Flavor.

With the money made off of Jaz’s label, Jay-Z set up Roc-A-Fella Records and the urban clothing line, Rocawear, in 1996 with entrepreneur Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke. Jay-Z ran Roc-A-Fella until May 2009, when he left and started Roc Nation, a 360 degree entertainment company.

Jay-Z’s debut album, Reasonable Doubt, achieved gold sales in 1996 and reached #23 on the Billboard Charts. Since his album Hard Knock Life Vol.2, every Jay-Z solo album has gone at least double platinum.

Jay-Z’s latest album, Blueprint 3, is not about going back to the basics, nor was it meant to sound like Blueprint 1 or Blueprint 2. BP3 is about the start of something new and groundbreaking. Jay-Z shows us his ambition, however, he fails to provide us with the “new.”
What do we hear in Blueprint 3?

Synthesizers- lots of them- as well as new instruments, and strange accents.

The album begins with “What We Talkin’ About” where Jay-Z and guest, Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun, takes the audience on a ride through the trials and tribulations of his past. The flow of Jay-Z’s rhymes will leave you spellbound, catching your attention to the point that it’s hard to ignore.

However, the beats don’t take away from the fact that Jay-Z raps about the same thing, song after song… himself.

In “Reminder,” Jay recaps his career, something that he’s already done many times in his previous albums (Black album & Blueprint). It’s ironic how the chorus comes close to sounding like the filtered, robotic music he says he wants dead in “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune).”

“Empire State of Mind” is a track that has the same vibes as that of the original Blueprint. In “Empire,” Jay-Z raps about the love he feels for his hometown New York while featuring the strong and fitting vocals of Alicia Keys.

The album closes on a positive note with “Forever Young” where Jay-Z touches on the criticism of age. He tells the audience that even as time passes and he gets older, his rhymes are here to stay for a lifetime.

Blueprint 3 may not be the most original album lyrically wise, however it does offer listeners an array of new sounds. There’s no doubt that fans and musicians alike will continue to follow Jay-Z for the rest of his career... or what’s left of it.

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