Uristocrat.com is proud to introduce the addition of our new Columnist, James Mason. Here is his first editorial, and its only appropriate that he review Jay-z’s latest Album, The Blueprint 3.
When it comes to Hov, it seems as if there are only two categories for listeners: Jay-Z stans who follow his every move and haters who won’t admit that the gawd is, well, God.
In reality, Jay-Z is more like MJ than God. Like Jordan, you really can’t make an argument against Jay as the greatest or at least the most important rapper of all-time. True, there are some better lyricists than Jay (Lupe, Eminem, etc.) and he has dropped some dud albums (Vol. 2, Dynasty, Kingdom Come), but when you look at how much he’s meant to rap no one comes close.
Like Jordan, Hov entered the game on top. Like Jordan, Hov has been the target of as much criticism as praise (remember people who said Jordan was a ball hog, Jordan left basketball because of his gambling problems, Jordan doesn’t do enough for the community, etc.). And like Jordan, Hov just can’t walk away.
He dropped The Black Album in 2003, which was the MJ jumper at the top of the key to win the championship, one of his best albums to close out a stellar career. He then tried his hand at management, ala Jordan with the Wizards, only to come back a few years later and tarnish the image a little bit.
Fortunately for MJ, he was physically unable to play ball anymore and was forced into retirement by bad knees. If he had the ability to play, he’d still be out there for sure. With Jigga, had American Gangster flopped, he probably would’ve hung it up too. Instead, it was met with critical success and all Jay-Z stans and even some critics thought it was dope (I thought it was average personally).
Now here we are, the Blueprint 3, Jordan suiting up with the Bobcats. Before we get into the review a few notes: 1. Just Blaze not being on this album was a huge mistake. 2. If this joint flops, Hov should steal on Timbo because he gave him some of the most miserable beats I’ve heard in a while. Seriously, he could’ve got better beats on soundclick.
The album starts off strong with “What We Talkin’ About,” produced by Kanye West. Perhaps he should’ve leaked this joint instead of Ghetto Techno. Right after that is another Kanye track “Thank You.” Decent beat, decent lyrics, not anything special – actually this track is kind of boring.
Next up is “Death of Autotune,” which is a track that can be used as a litmus test if you’re curious if someone is a Jay-Z stan or a Jay-Z hater. Hov’s followers will tell you this is the sickest shit they’ve heard in a minute, haters will tell you its hot garbage. Reality is, its somewhere in the middle. I’m not sure if this will kill autotune either, although it would be great if it did.
“Run This Town” is another song in that category. Hov drops two lackluster verses over a sick Yeezy track (Rihanna kills the hook too), fortunately ‘Ye saves the song with his verse. If the Hov stans think this makes me a Jay hater so be it, but the only reason I listen to this song is to hear Kanye’s verse.
“Empire State of Mind” is one of those songs that will grow on you. The first time I heard it, I was like ehhh, but I like it more every time I hear it. “Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game, shit I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can” – real talk. If I had a dollar for ever time I had to tell a random white person “I’m not a _____ fan, I just like the hat.”
Young Jeezy makes an appearance on “Real As It Gets.” If you like Jeezy, you’ll like this song. If not then you should probably skip it. This track has one of those beats that you’ll listen to this song the first 3 or 4 times and not even pay attention to what they’re saying.
The next song is the Swizz Beats produced “On To The Next One.” The sample is annoying as hell, but the beat knocks if you can ignore all the noise. Hov uses the “Beach Chair” flow on this track, which doesn’t help drown out all the confusion in the background provided by Swizz. This track would’ve been one of the better ones on the albums without the sample. With it, it’s unlistenable. Were it not for the review, I would’ve skipped it after the first 5 seconds. (I need to take a drink after this one, brb)
As the album continues to take a turn for the worst, the next song is “Off That,” a horrible Timbaland produced song with a wasted Drake appearance. Imagine Jay and Drake trading bars over a Just Blaze or Kanye Track. Well this is the opposite; another beat so bad that I want to punch Tim in the face myself and probably would if I saw him if he wasn’t on steroids. Additionally, I don’t understand the point of putting Drake on your album just for the hook. Did Drake drop a verse that outshined Hov and get himself booted from the album? We’ll never know, but besides the Bill O’Reilly/Rush Limbaugh bars, it wouldn’t have been hard for Drake to “Renegade” him on this joint.
I guess when Jay declared “Death of Autotune,” hooks were exempt, as whoever sings the hook on “A Star is Born” is definitely using that joint. Jay does his best Game impression, dropping names for a few verses before he passes the baton to J. Cole. By the way, this might be the worst beat Kanye has ever produced. I’m just saying.
“Venus vs. Mars” is another song that Jay’s fans will love, his haters will hate and everyone in the middle will probably say is decent. I can’t help but feel Jay’s idea for this song would’ve came off better over a Just Blaze beat. Did they have a falling out or something? His absence is inexcusable at this point. 10 songs in, this joint is giving me a Kingdom Come vibe, take that as you will.
Kanye laces him with “Already Home” with Cudi on the track. Thank God, after four or five bad songs, something I’d want to listen to more than once. Lyrically this isn’t one of Hov’s better efforts but the beat is dope and Cudi doesn’t ruin it with a horrible verse, he just sings the hook and keeps it moving.
Kanye giveth and he taketh away with “Hate.” Another one that brings pain to my ears. So far, there haven’t been many tracks where the beat is hot and Hov spits. “Reminder” is another awful Timbaland track. I’m already trying to figure out how many times I’m going to listen to this album. Five to ten times tops.
The Neptunes make their usual appearance on “So Ambitious.” Average track all-around. I actually have nothing else to say about this song.
Finally the album comes to a close with “Forever Young,” produced by Kanye featuring that Mr. Hudson dude. Honestly, at this point I just want this album to come to an end.
Remember the Jordan analogy? Yeah, this album is a 46 year old Jordan trying to hack it on the Bobcats. He should have called this “Kingdom Comes Again” instead of “Blueprint 3.” I know his devoted followers are going to rip this review to shreds, but if you can’t listen to this objectively and say it was a good album. Its right at the bottom of Hov’s catalog with Kingdom Come.
The big problem is Hov just doesn’t have anything to rap about anymore. He was always best rapping about his life before rap and what he was doing as he was rising up the ranks as one of music’s most influential icons. Now? He goes on vacation with Beyonce, hangs out with Barack, has a lot of money and evidently has a lot of haters too. Who cares?
Out of 15 tracks there are five tracks I’d like to hear again, five tracks that are lackluster at best and five tracks I hope to never hear again. At the end of the day, he’s still the G.O.A.T., but its time that we look at him realistically. He’s no longer good.
We’ve seen Jordan embarrass himself missing dunks in the all-star game, Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson have been knocked out a bunch of times, Jerry Rice was cut by Denver, Emmitt Smith put up something like 1.2 yards per carry with the Cardinals and Ken Griffey Jr. is a part-time DH hitting .220.
This isn’t any different. Rappers are like athletes in the sense that when they get old they start to decline. The difference is there aren’t any achy knees or bad backs forcing you out. Apparently you keep putting out albums, shit I think LL Cool J might be back in the booth. But with Jay, you actually care about his legacy and want him to go out on top.
One of the reasons Hova continues to put out music, I’m sure, are the reactions of the fans. The same fans who talked about how good Kingdom Come was a few years ago and probably can’t tell you where their copy of the album is. If you’re a fan of Jay-Z, please, listen to this objectively and admit this was a FAIL on his part. Don’t make it harder for him to walk way.