The final installment of Jay-Z’s Blueprint trilogy, Blueprint 3 is an album that’s been heavily hyped in the last two years and leaked like crazy online. The good stuff is well-worth the hype. Produced by Kanye West, there’s the usual master-of-ceremonies stuff at the beginning (typical of a Jay-Z record) in “Thank You,” and then a format-busting, radio-ready track in “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune).” Aside from those, the best tracks are the ones with hip-hop elite: Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Pharrell and Young Jeezy. I could listen to Keys and Jay-Z on “Empire State of Mind” over and over.
Roc Nation, Atlantic
West, Keys and Rihanna are perfect stylistic foils to Jay-Z’s staccato delivery. But it’s almost as if the star-studded tracks are too good — the rest of the record feels like filler. Blueprint 3 would have been better if they’d trimmed the fat first.
Download: “Empire State of Mind”