JAY-Z BLUEPRINT 3 REVIEW
On January 19th 2000 one the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers decided to come back to the NBA after being out of the NBA since 1998. For those who dont know, the man that we're talking about is Michael Jordan. After being gone from the NBA for the second time, he once again decided to return. What played out over the next two years that he was once again active, can be described as mixed depending on who's talking about those two years. If you're asking the one who saw Jordan while he was in his prime, then Jordan was a shadow of the player that he was when he was with the Bulls. If you asked those who were too young too appreciate his game earier in his career, or who never really saw him while he was with the Bulls, then they would probably tell you that he was washed up, and they didn't understand why he was so over rated, they would then try to compare him to someone who's game was nowhere as complete as Jordan's was, but was way flashier, some one such as Allen Iverson. For an even more ignorant comparison, Tracy Mcgrady. Jay-Z finds himself in the same territory that Jordan found himself durring those two seasons. Once considered the best to do it in their feilds, returning for the love of the game, being doubted, questioned and disrespected at every corner. But for every hater, and every person that may question their game, there is always the small minority who actually understand what is going on in the court, or in this case the booth. So at 40 years old Jordan scored 43 points in a game, and at 40 years old, Jay-Z dropped the Blueprint 3. It's not Jordan's best work, and its definitely not Hov's best album, but before you take shots at the crown, remember, they are who they are for a reason.
Lyrics- 8 For those who say that Hov, has lost a step or two lyrically, you must be listening to some tracks that have not been made available to the public. With a flow that's still crisp, smooth and original; Jigga goes on every track with a sense of direction, purpose and intelligence. Hov has grown as a rapper over the years, so in the lyrics you find more then just the quirky line. What makes his lyrics so effective is that nine times out of ten, what he say's is not neccessarily what he is saying, and if you are one of the few who are smart enough to pick up on what he is actually saying, it makes for a more enjoyable musical experience. Punchlines and metaphors aside, Jay has the uncanny ability to have a line that ends up being a motivational qoute on someones wall. What he say's, how he say's it, and what it means, ends up having a higher level of inportance then say a 4 minute song from a rapper who has mastered the art of using syllables to heighten the effect of their punchlines. Lyrically Jay-Z is probably one of the most polished rappers out at the moment, fundamentally sound and getting better at it every album.
Production-7 There's two things that stand out about the production on this album. The first and most obvious one is that, it's very different from anything Hov has ever had on any of his albums. He took a serious leap away from the soulful Jazz type beats that dominated Blueprints 1 and 2, and jumped into a realm that many will not be able to relate to on any level, strong lyrics or not. The second very distinct thing about the production on this album, is the abundance of instruments used for every beat. While most hip hop albums are drum heavy with a sprinkle of guitar chords, and some piano keys. On Blueprint 3, you hear instruments ranging from, flutes, bango's, saxaphones, and even a little bit of violin. If you stay true to the course and focus on the lyrics you will either become accustomed to the beats or they will grow on you. When you understand and appreciate what Jay was trying to do with this album, the production becomes easier to appreciate, but if your one for instant gratification; the production will turn you off before you make it to the third song.
Songs-8 American Gangster was a great album, but what it was missing more then anything else was relevancy. The album was not relevant to what was actually going on in Hov's life at the time. Yes, that may have been what his subject content was when he first entered the game, but over ten years and 350 million dollars later, there comes a time when you just have to let it go. He tried to be more current with Kingdome Come, but many fans where not ready for that kind of Hov and in result they said he fell off. With Blueprint 3, Jay is honest wit the fans. The day's of selling drugs to survive are over, his womanizing day's have also passed him by as he is now married. But while most would probably expect for him to have nothing else to talk about because of this, he does what many rappers who are past their humble beginings fail to do. He's grown up, and on this album he talks about his love for New York( Empire State of Mind), the growth of hip hop and its stars (A Star Is Born), and even takes out time to discuss his own mortality in the closing track Forever Young. The song selections are great, and Hov does a good job of addressing some of his gripes with what people say about him, without making it a 60 minute bitter fest. You can gain a lot from listening to this album, and the content is enough to keep any musical fan interested and stimulated for some time.
Conclusion-7.5 When it was all said and done, after all that Jordan did for the Bulls, the Wizards and millions of people all over the world, when it was time to finally recognize him they did. Criticizm aside, hard feelings at the back burner; Jordan was honored as the best player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. The years in Washington weren't lauded as his best, but they understood that at that point in his career he had to change his game, and despite not being able to be the old Jordan, he was a new Jordan; who at the age of 40 could still drop 50 points in a game if he felt he needed too. Jay has not yet come to the point where he feels he needs to retire for good; but as one of the oldest relevant rappers in the game, it is evident that his game has changed. He was never too flashy lyrically but you knew when he was going in, his content has taken a step or two towards adulthood; compared to some of his yougner minded lyrics from albums past, but on any given day he can decide to come out with an album that the young ones in the game will probably need to purchase, so that they can go home and study. Like it or not, when Hov retires he will go down as one of, if not the best ever to do it, and although Blueprint 3 is no where near a classic, it gets added to the list of things that Jay-Z has done that so many other rappers in this game need to at least try to do, growing up.