Jay-Z is old and cranky, but still shows off talent on The Blueprint 3

jay-z blueprint 3

Jay-Z is old! Get the man a pair of too-short shorts and loafers, stat. Maybe a “compact disc player” on which to play “compact discs.” The Best MC Of All Time is on his 11th album in 13 years, making him one of the biggest veterans in the game. It’s easy to gush over Jay-Z’s talent on The Blueprint 3, and without any immediate break-out singles, it’s even easier to be over-critical. Overall, he’s sort of in the middle.

Like a lot of rappers, Jay-Z raps almost exclusively about his own celebrity life, his past and the rap scene. With younger artists, this works well. With Jay-Z it’s kind of annoying. You’re famous. It’s crazy. We get it. But he makes a point to focus on his age, criticizing younger artists and boasting his successful resume.

Most telling is the album’s lead single, “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune).” On it, Jay-Z attacks rappers who use the recently-popular auto-tuning on their songs (see: Kanye West, et al). But as New York’s DJ Webstar so wondefully pointed out:

“Just because you’re rich and you have more money than a lot of new artists coming up, such as myself, doesn’t mean everything you say is right… The biggest records of the year all had Auto-Tune — who are you to say people don’t wanna hear it?”

Too true. Although Jay-Z raps like a true MC on the song, with spit-fire cadence and incredible rhymes, he comes across as out-of-touch and cranky. Nobody likes it when grandpa stubbornly hates the VCR, and nobody likes it when Jay-Z hates on the new generation of rap (ironically, he collaborates on two songs with Kanye, a prolific auto-tune user).

The rest of The Blueprint 3 rolls along fine. Only a few songs stand out (“Run This Town (ft. Rhianna & Kanye),” “A Star Is Born (ft. J. Cole)” and “Already Home (ft. Kid Cudi)”), but nothing really falls flat. What the album proves is both Jay-Z’s incredible talent and increasing irrelevance in the world of hip-hop/rap. “Nice job grandpa! You’re really good at what you do. Just maybe let me take over from here.”

Jay-Z – “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” [MP3]

Jay-Z – “Run This Town (ft. Rhianna & Kanye West)” [MP3]

Buy The Blueprint 3 on Amazon.

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