Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 about himself

After 11 studio albums, 13 years, dozens of hits and untold millions of records sold, there’s not much left to debate about Jay-Z. He has either outlasted, outsold or outsmarted all the competition.

Jay-Z feels able to dictate trends — and likes it that way.

The Blueprint 3


Roc Nation

After 11 studio albums, 13 years, dozens of hits and untold millions of records sold, there’s not much left to debate about Jay-Z. He has either outlasted, outsold or outsmarted all the competition.

You either like his music or you don’t. So the only comparisons that can be made are to himself.

That said, Jay’s new The Blueprint 3 is on par with his past work. The beats are the best money can buy, from Kanye West, Timbaland, Pharrell, Swizz Beats and others. The lyrics are creative, imperial and evocative — “the audio equivalent of Braille,” in Jay’s words.

Overall, it’s a state-of-the-art performance by arguably the greatest to ever speak ghetto poems over music.

Then why does it feel like something’s missing?

More than any other modern genre, rap is built on struggle. On Blueprint 3, it seems that Jay’s only problem, other than where to land his private jet, is those pesky haters.

And since he spends so much time reminding us that “my track record speaks for itself / I’m so instrumental,” even the naysayers seem like leftover specks from the 2003 Dirt Off Your Shoulder video (which launched a trend so pervasive, then-candidate Barack Obama mimicked the move when talking about Hillary Clinton.)

Wealth and status shouldn’t erase the struggle from Jay’s lyrics. Jay has often mined emotional depths, like on 2003’s Lost Ones and Minority Report, and classics like Song Cry and Never Change from the first Blueprint album dealt with immaturity, costly loyalties and hard life lessons.

But the original Blueprint came out in 2001, the day the World Trade Center fell, followed soon after by the music industry.

Now Jay stands atop rap’s ruins, chilling with Oprah, living not in Brooklyn but Robert De Niro’s TriBeCa “with my highbrow art and my high-yellow broad” (the album’s only reference to wife Beyonce).

The musical distillation of this high life remains potent. Empire State of Mind with Alicia Keys is an instant New York City anthem, and Venus vs. Mars spins a cleverly told tale of twisted lust.

Jay laughs at trends in Off That and the icy On To The Next One. And the dissonant D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune) remains a genius dismissal of rap’s Auto-Tunes addiction, comparable to Jay’s murder of throwback jerseys in 2003.

But the majority of Jay’s Blueprint 3 lyrics are dedicated to the prowess of Jay. Just imagine if the man who sets trends as easily as he sets the time on his six-figure watches chose to dig deeper for subject matter.

Perhaps that’s what rap needs to reinvigorate itself — someone to pull the genre out of its money-clothes-cars-and-girls sinkhole.

Hopefully that will one day prove easy for a legend who envisions being on stage with Michael Jordan and “Obama on the Techs / y’all should be afraid of what I’m gon’ do next.”

Just Posted

Castor man dies in crash

Thursday morning collision on Hwy 12

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Study of U.S. hospital figures links pot use with increased risk of stroke

MONTREAL — New research is being presented at a conference in Montreal… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

Most Read