Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3 review, meh/10

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What the hell happened to Jay-Z? He is disgracing the first The Blueprint cd hard. It’s like when The Blueprint 2 came out and people were like, “Oh…so that’s what we’re going to expect now. Time to lower the expectations”. 

I think Kanye and Timbaland gave Hova some advice to use more futuristic beats, and it just doesn’t work. Drake is featured on “Off That”, and although it is kinda catchy, the lyrics are pointless. The whole reason why The Blueprint worked so well was because of the introspective lyrics and soulful beats. The attempt at that is “A Star Is Born”, and the lyrics are good, but the beat detracts from the message of the song. This is just a lazy album.

Here’s what to expect. “Run This Town” is one of the better tracks on the album. Bad sign. Young Jeezy injects some much needed life in “Real As It Gets”, but Jay-Z’s verses are meh. “Venus Vs. Mars”, “Thank You” and “Hate” are very tedious and sound like they should have been offered as bonus tracks or left off all together.

I’m getting so tired of the current trend in rap. Ever since Lil’ Wayne got noticed by sorority girls and blew up rap has been in a funk. Hova’s attempt at getting it off of Autotune is pointless, because the direction he’s trying to take it in is a horrible lateral move that serves nobody.

Overall, this cd is a solid meh outta 10. Nothing really hits, and gives me the same feeling the first time I heard Curtis. Jay-Z has nothing left to say, so he really should just stop. I used to be a fan, but this cd is so mediocre it’s sad. 

 

Meh/10

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Lil’ Wayne: Tha Carter III Review, 7/10

After Tha Carter II came out, I officially became a Wayne fan. His lyrics, swagger, and songs were all on point. He was fairly well known in the rap game, but the 3 years after Tha Carter II consisted of numerous guest starring and mixtapes, making the guy the most hyped rapper since 50 Cent. The problem with that time period was that his voice changed, he discovered the vocoder, and his lyrical ability dropped significantly.

I’ve been waiting for Tha Carter III for a long time, and now that it is here, I am fairly disappointed. He has some great songs on the album, but overall, it is just unfocused and sloppy. Lets start with the good:

Mr. Carter ft. Jay-Z: This is the best song on the album. It produced by Just Blaze, and just works well. Lil’ Wayne could have gone a little harder, but I’m not complaining. Jay-Z killed the track. I wish every track on this album was this good.

Tie My Hands ft. Robin Thicke: After a few mediocre songs in a row, this is where the cd picks up and really starts to shine. It’s a Post-Katrina song, and has a great vibe. Lil’ Wayne does great and so does Robin Thicke.

Shoot Me Down: It has a very laid back vibe, with a nice chorus and good lyrics by Wayne.

Playing With Fire: Another great track. It’s energetic and infectious. It has recycled lyrics for some reason, and that’s probably why I like it!

Let The Beat Build: This song is pretty good, despite Lil’ Wayne.

The Bad:

Just about everything else. Lollipop is catchy, but not a great song by any means. Got Money is worse, but it is sorta catchy too. The third vocoder song is Nothing On Me, and it is pretty terrible. Fabolous and Juelz guest star, and Wayne sounds terrible in his verse and on the chorus. Phone Home is ok, but fairly annoying. Dr. Carter is a cool concept, but has a fairly boring execution. Comfortable, ft. Babyface, is pretty bad. A Millie sounds like a mixtape song, and 3 Peat is a solid opener. The rest of the songs are forgettable, with Mrs. Officer being absolutely terrible.

The final verdict is a resounding “meh”. It isn’t as good as Tha Carter I or II, but still has enough good songs to warrant buying.

Jay-Z: American Gangster Review 9.0/10

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Jay-Z’s latest album, American Gangster, is a great addition to his already impressive catalogue. To me, there are two kinds of Jay-Z:

1. The lyrical king

2. The lackadaisical lyricist

With American Gangster, we find that hunger that he had when creating Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. Although this CD may not feature the signature party tracks every Jay-Z CD is used to, it does have many entertaining songs that feature some of Jay-Z’s best lyrics to date. Here is a track breakdown:

1 . Intro: 3/5 Standard intro that sets the tone for the album, showing the true meaning of a gangster.

2. Pray: 5.5 Produced by Diddy and his cohorts, this track is crazy. Not only is the beat amazing, but Jay-Z’s lyrics are on point. “Turned crack rock into a chain of 40/40s.” This song shows his transition from gangster to entrepreneur, and asks for you to pray for his sins.

3. American Dreamin’: 4.3/5 A very soulful track talking about selling crack and trying to get out of the ghetto, dreaming of something better. “We need a place to pitch/we need a mound”. Not as catchy as Pray, but still a good track nonetheless.

4. Hello Brooklyn 2.0: 3.8/5 This song doesn’t really fit on the album, but it still isn’t half bad. Lil’ Wayne’s flow and verse could be much better, especially judging from some of the great stuff he has put out the past couple years. Jay’s verse is better, and saves the song from being a complete mess.

5. No Hook: 4.7/5 Great track. Jay talks about his father and how the streets were his second home. “Hustle hard in any hustle that you pick”. This song is about hustling by any means necessary, no matter what you are doing.

6. Roc Boys (And The Winner Is….): 5/5 Jay’s 2nd single the closest thing to a club song you’ll find on this album. The beat sounds like it comes from a cop show from the 70’s, and it totally works. It’s a celebration song, and works great in the context of the album.

7. Sweet: 4/5 This song feels like filler. It still has good lyrics, but the chorus is boring and makes the song worse than it could be.

8. I Know: 4.3/5 Another Neptunes track, this is a pretty chill track. “She wants those heroine tracks”. It’s a song for the ladies, but still has a gangster feel to it.

9. Party Life: 4.5/5 “Papa was a rolling stone/it’s in my ancestry”. This is another laid back song with Jay letting in some of that lazy flow. His lyrics are still on point, but it’s another track for the ladies.

10. Ignorant Shit: 4.6/5 This was originally going to be on The Black Album, and Jay switched up the lyrics to address Imus and annoying celebrities. Along with Beanie Sigel, Jay lets go some vicious lyrics “Scarface the movie did more than Scarface the rapper to me/so that ain’t to blame for all the shit’s that happened to me”.

11. Say Hello: 5/5 Another one of my favorite tracks. It has a great chorus and the lyrics flow perfectly with the beat. “They say I’m a menace/that’s the picture they paint/ they say a lot about me/let me tell you what I ain’t.” Great wordplay.

12. Success: 5/5 What can I say about a Jay track with Nas? It’s great. My favorite line is spit by Nas: “Google Earth Nas/I got flats in other continents”.

13. Fallin’: 5/5 The inevitable fall of his empire, Jay channels Frank Lucas in this track. It talks about his obsession with selling drugs and how he can’t stop until they catch him. “Can’t blow too hard, life’s a deck of cards”. The whole track is great.

Bonus Tracks:

14. Blue Magic: 5/5 I don’t know why Jay didn’t think this track fit on the album. The beat is great and Jay flows over it really well. “Can’t you tell that I came from the dope game?”

15. American Gangster: 4.2/5 Solid track, but a little too upbeat for the last track of an album about the rise and fall of a drug dealer.

Overall, this CD is very impressive. It shows Jay at his lyrical best, painting vivid imagery while still making the music entertaining to listen too. I highly recommend it to anyone that likes Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. This CD solidifies Jay’s presence as a legend in the game. Even after 9 number 1 albums, he can still show the tenacity that he exhibited on his first record.