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20 Watts Reviews Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 by JohnCassillo
Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 surprisingly delivers a creative pop sound

Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 surprisingly delivers a creative pop sound

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Jay-Z’s “Already Home” (Feat. Kid Cudi) MP3
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

You’ve been hearing about The Blueprint 3 all summer long. From “D.O.A. (Death to Auto-Tune)” to “Run This Town,” and everything in between, it feels as if we’ve had Jay-Z on the mind for months now. Well, the wait is officially over.

In a last-minute turn of events, Jay scrapped his plans to release the highly-anticipated album on Friday, September 11th. It turns out people usually expect releases to happen on Tuesdays, plus the switch has only created more of an Internet frenzy.

It’s not unwarranted either. For The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z has assembled one of his most colorful cast of characters yet, roping in everyone from the usual suspects (Kanye West, Rihanna, Drake) to some not-too-usual ones (Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun, Mr. Hudson). It’s all part of his bigger plan to once again blur the lines of pop, rock and hip-hop, to which he may have actually succeeded here.

The Blueprint 3 is not a rap album, amazingly enough. Going in, one may make me the assumption, but besides “Real As It Gets” and “Already Home,” one will be hard-pressed to find a track leaning on more hip-hop than pop. Instead, Jay, who has always had some solid beats on his records, decides to embrace the music a bit more here, and the results are surprisingly successful.

Digging through his apparently extensive iPod, which we’re told includes Grizzly Bear, amongst other indie darlings, Hova attaches himself not to club beats, but sonic pop adventures. From track to track, synths, piano and brass embark on a crash course the likes of which is rare in the rap game. Especially for such an established act, it’s refreshing to say the least.

With all the applause for such an enterprising undertaking though, there is but one large criticism though. Jay’s subject matter. For years now, the rapper has been telling us how he came from nothing to being a huge success, and honestly, it’s getting a bit stale. We get it. You did it. Please, Jay, with all of your talent, come up with something new to talk about. Besides that, carry on as you were.

— John Cassillo


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