FEATURE: Jay-Z, ‘Bout Me

Photography Michael Lavine

Photography Michael Lavine

Working with Jay-Z keeps you on your toes. You’ve gotta be prepared to roll at a moment’s notice. And once things are in motion, plans change, then get rearranged. Start times for photo shoots and interviews are moved around, then locked down, then moved again. But if you want to work with arguably the greatest rapper of all time, you deal with it. It’s not like you don’t know how busy he is.

Over the past 13 years in hip-hop, Jay-Z has gone from an on-the-come-up lyricist (1996’s Reasonable Doubt), to a label owner (Roc-A-Fella Records), to a multiplatinum-selling rapper (1998’s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life), to a classic-album-recording artist (2001’s The Blueprint), to a major-record-label executive (Def Jam president), to the builder of a sprawling empire, with a successful clothing line (Rocawear), stakes in an NBA team (New Jersey Nets), a chain of trendy sports bars (40/40 Club), his own fragrances (9IX and X) and a creative new venture (Roc Nation). That’s not even delving into his smaller, lesser-known, unconfirmed, secret or on-hold business dealings.

But most recently, Jay’s time has been dedicated to The Blueprint 3, his 11th solo album and 14th overall including three collaboration LPs. It’s the second follow-up to the Brooklyn MC’s classic, The Blueprint, released on the eight year anniversary of the reverred disc, which is also the eighth anniversary of 9/11. But unlike any of Hov’s previous LPs, BP3 doesn’t have a Def Jam or Roc-A-Fella logo on the back. After 12 years signed to Def Jam—three of those as pres—Jay split ways with the powerhouse label, after buying back his last remaining album from the company for a reported $5 million. He’s since been focused on Roc Nation, an entertainment, publishing and management company he has in an unprecedented partnership with mega concert promoters, Live Nation. The Blueprint 3 is the first release off of Roc Nation and is distributed by Atlantic Records for this one project.

Jigga’s new effort has stirred up several meaty issues of discussion since its existence became reality about three months ago. Despite Hov’s possible living-legend status (that depends on whom you’re talking to, of course), the hip-hop audience has been a bit underwhelmed by the constant trendsetter’s last two efforts (2006’s Kingdom Come and 2007’s American Gangster). So some topics have been: What will Jay have to offer on an album so closely tied to a classic? And after all his wealth and success, can he still relate to rap and its audience?

On June 5 of this year, Jay addressed the issues with defiance. That evening saw New York’s Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex introduce the initial single off The Blueprint 3, “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” a semiautomatic attack against those who’ve overdosed on T-Pain’s famed vocal-assistance technology. Yet, as polarizing as it was provocative—“D.O.A.” was celebrated in some parts for its brashness and No ID’s rugged, bluesy production—some critics found a reason to accuse Jay of being out of touch or, even worse, a bullying elder statesman. Mr. Carter considers the criticism ludicrous. In his eyes, his attack wasn’t on the youth, but instead on the lack of originality. A veteran with a reputation for quality, he sees hip-hop as a genre coming awfully close to the danger zone. For Hov, it’s simple addition by subtraction: To save the culture, the artists that routinely damage it by simply following trends (Auto-Tune, for instance) must perish.

If it’s an indisputable success, The Blueprint 3 could cement Jay as the first 40-year-old rapper (or almost 40) to truly dominate the music globe—a major feat in a time when hip-hop seems to skew younger than ever. Still, even in that potential triumph lies another interesting question: Will Jay-Z become bigger than hip-hop? Scratch that. Considering his staggering résumé as it stands before the release of BP3, is Jay already above rap’s clouds? And, if so, does it make a difference?

After weeks of waiting patiently, and some tennis-match-like back-and-forth scheduling, XXL’s Bonsu Thompson sat down with the tireless businessman and self-proclaimed God MC to talk about the one thing that matters most to his truest fans, the foundation of his entire kingdom: hip-hop. —Matt Barone

Because you had so much time to live with this new album, do you think it’s your most thoughtful body of work?

No, it’s just the approach. I don’t think it changed the music any. You can look at it both ways. The Blueprint was all natural. You could tell the rawness of the spontaneous thoughts. Or you can have someone who plans and plots and makes sure everything is the same. Lyor [Cohen, CEO of Warner Music Group] asked me, after he listened to the [new] album, “Did you mess up by putting an album out every year? Should you have taken your time and done it like this one?” And I was like, “No, it’s just process.” I don’t think The Blueprint was bad. But this album has to come out. It’s just really cohesive. It feels really good.

What would you say is The Blueprint 3’s grand statement?

I keep using this phrase “new classic,” because it has classic sounds and instrumentation, like how music was recorded before. That’s why the whole album cover [features] white instruments just left in the corner, no color. It’s all about the instruments. It feels classic in that approach, but it’s new subject matter, new flows. It’s not like an Amy Winehouse thing: a take on what was already done. I mean, if you listen to “D.O.A.” just the sax alone, those type of sounds. The subject matter is right now. It’s a hot-button issue right now.

It’s funny that you stress the subject matter being current. One criticism of “D.O.A.” has been that the topic is a year old.

A year past or a year early?

A year too old. Music was being saturated by Auto-Tune the most last year. So were you thinking business first, like, Kanye’s coming out with this 808s & Heartbreak album, so I’m going to hold off on the criticism ’til he’s in the clear?

No, that’s not how it happened. It really just happened in the studio. We were just having a discussion about the game and music and where everything is going. So No ID plays this track, and Kanye jumps up. Actually, Kanye gave me the idea. He jumps up and is like, “Man, this is hard. This is against everything.” I don’t know if he knew where I was going to take it, but he sparked the idea. I came back the next day and did the record.

What’s puzzling is that your own buddies, like Kanye and Pharrell, wear the brightest shirts and tightest jeans, but you’re clearly not going at them. You’re going after the cats that are trying to be like them, and not themselves. Correct?

Yeah, once it becomes… A trend is a trend. I follow trends. I set trends. Now, when a trend becomes a gimmick, it’s time to get rid of it. As far as hip-hop. Like, when they were saying “bling bling” on CNN, it’s time to never say that word again. It was just about the aggression of everything. I saw everyone, ’cause it was successful, following one path. You turn on the radio, and that’s all you hear. I’m not saying I hate T-Pain. What I’m talking about is a trend that’s becoming a gimmick. And if we continue down this path, we’re going to open the door for another genre of music. Same way when rock was doing hair metal it opened the door even wider for hip-hop to come through and put rock music in trouble for 10 years and more. Right now, there are a lot of indie bands coming out, which is making rock more exciting: the MGMTs and the Kings of Leons. You keep messing around, making generic music, people are going to start turning off one at a time. And if these guys [keep] making great music, guess what? [Fans are] gonna go to them. If you look back in the history of music, that’s what happens all the time. I’m just saying, Stay up. Be aware. Be innovative. Let’s keep making this shit interesting. I love Drake. I’m not hating on young people. Like, when people say that, I’m like, What are you talking about? It’s just stupid. I’m not hating on young people. I love Drake. I worked with him on the album. Every time they ask me what I’m listening to, it’s So Far Gone and Kings of Leon. Them two [acts] owe me money. I’m not Bill Russell, [saying] Michael Jordan ain’t shit. I’m saying Lil Wayne and Kanye are like LeBron and Kobe. My job as someone at the forefront of the game is to leave it in a better position than when I came in. Same way that Russell [Simmons] left it to me. ’Cause this thing saved my life. Literally. So I have a responsibility to it karmically. And after that it’s on you. I did my part. I made “D.O.A.” I said it. I made the statement. I made the push. Here, y’all take it from here.

You’ve been getting a lot of heat about your second single “Run This Town,” featuring Kanye and Rihanna. Critics and the blog world have said ’Ye out rapped you.

I think that thing has gone a little too far. I think it’s more about that than the song now. What I’m saying is that’s just life. If [whose verse was better] was the thing, and we based [song quality] on that, after I’ve done 400 songs, I’m sure once the average of who was better on the song weighs out, I’m pretty high. Some nights [L.A. Lakers player] Pau Gasol can score more points than Kobe Bryant—not saying that Kanye is Pau Gasol, ’cause you have to be really clear with that—[but] as long as I’ve been in the game, that’s going to happen, once or twice or even three times.

With a successful Blueprint 3, you could really make it cool to be a 40-year-old rapper. But, playing devil’s advocate, success could also encourage 40-year-old rappers who should hang it up to continue rhyming professionally, because Jay did it. Ever consider that possibility?

No matter what I do, any person that gets to this stage of their life is going to do whatever is in their heart. I think people should make music as long as their heart is in it. As long as they’re pushing past the deadline four times and they’re still making more records. Like, there are thousands of boxers that could have retired before they had that fight, Muhammad Ali for one. But you never stop— because of one, your passion or greed, your financial situation, there may be a need, you know? The thing that I can do is stretch the subject matter. Whether Kingdom Come was your favorite album or not, “30 Something,” you have to deal with that subject matter [in that song]. If [the target audience is] 15 to 25, that’s too narrow. What am I going to listen to at 26 and beyond? That’s a quarter of my life. That’s such a small slice of the pie. We have to expand the genre. I would love to listen to hip-hop all day. Of course, now there are other things making their way into my CD changer or iPod, because of the lack of material. It doesn’t speak to me. Everyone is speaking to the kids, thinking that’s the key to success. The sad part of it is that all these [rappers] saying it are 30 years old, at least. Sometimes 35. It’s misleading. It’s that lack of growth that will keep us in a certain place.

Understood, but you’re one of the few rappers whose movement is still followed by artists old and young. How conscious are you of that position?

I think that, as long as the heart is in it. Because even if you miss it, it’s art. Like, Kool Keith, he may not sell any records, ever. But I think his type of art is needed, and there are people who follow his music. I think, when it’s done… Larry Holmes in the ring for money, that type of thing, then I don’t want to see that. But, like I said, if the genre needs the game to be stretched out, ’cause you have those guys who are 35 years old trying to make the smiley face or whatever, competing with Soulja Boy.

Ha! That’s a Trey Songz record with Soulja Boy on it. It’s hot. They’re clearly aiming at the young kids with that track.

It’s not funny, though. [Laughs] I mean, like, Jim Jones, for example. And I don’t mean this because we never see eye to eye–. He made “Na Na Nana Na.” [Laughs] What’s the difference between “Smiley Face” and “Na Na Nana Na”? “Na Na Nana Na Na” could’ve been called “Smiley Face.” [Sings] I got the smiley face, na na nana na na.

[Editor’s note: Jay-Z is not criticizing Trey Songz’s “LOL (Smiley Face)” record, but rather, taking issue with veteran rappers who make music targeted to 15-year-old rap fans.]

For more of the ‘Bout Me interview, make sure to pick up XXL‘s October issue on newsstands September 15.

  • Dominiking

    Even though I considered Pac and Big as the greatest rappers, I think Jigga takes the crown now. He has the type of career that many rappers envy.

    • SbuJah

      Jay-Z is the most commercially accomplished rapper (sales&endorsements)… to blur the line and push him into the best rapper crown shit is just ignorant… dude cant even touch the mcees he came up with

    • valdez

      saying jay takes the crown now ain’t saying much considering big and pac have been dead all these years and jay has been able to still create.

      the real question is, would jay be considered the greatest if they were still alive?? i think we all know the answer to that is a definite NO!

      pac wasn’t having that. and big was better than jay anyway.

      anyway, there’s no way the illuminati woulda let pac live. his ties to the black panthers and as defiant as he was, coupled with the following and influence he had over the masses. they knew he woulda been a major problem for their new world order that today’s jay z’s and kanye’s and beyonce’s and rhianna’s and HELPING to bring in.

      • Sincere

        “the real question is, would jay be considered the greatest if they were still alive?? i think we all know the answer to that is a definite NO!”

        That might be one of the stupidest things i ever heard. Noone knows that. Those dudes are DEAD. Your speculation is just that speculation. BIG was evolving and wasn’t focusing on the same shit as RTD on LAD. Who’s to say that he wouldn’t of made a Kingdomcome or BP3 that you claim you don’t like. For all we know if these guys were still alive you niggas would be hating on them right now. Like you hear that new Pac that nigga fell off yo.

        If you want that old sound listen to the old shit. It’s 2009 and this nigga isn’t selling drugs anymore and he’s worth half a mil. GET OVER IT.

        • valdez

          ^^^LOL! ur obviously a stan if that “might be one of stupidest things u ever heard.” so u got it bruh. no need wasting my time even talking to u. LMAO!!

        • Sincere

          It has nothing to do with being a stan (i am a jay-z fan though big, jay, nas, em and reggie my top five)it has everything to do with people like you that just say outlandish shit like it’s actual fact. Honestly how are you going to predict what 2 dead guys would of done? And I didn’t post for your response, so there is no need for you to wast your time even talking to me.

        • GregSIDE

          Valdez “illuminati”. Really. I bet your one of those people that just because they watched The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons they know some big secret now. Yeah and the Boogyman would have killed B.I.G. Get the fuck outta here

      • matty21

        dat is a pretty stupid question in my opinion too, u can’t say “if so n so was still alive den….their not alive, dey past too soon n dats just how it is, after dat its all speculation…n don’t 4get valdez n sincere….sht completely changes wen u pass away…every piece of art u created to dat point den becomes legendary….when u pass away young like b.i.g. n pac did, u instantly become a legend…dats not taking nething away from either of dem, but dats just how it is…think if jay would have past early too(shouldn’t think about dat, but it’s just vica versa), u could probaly have dat argument too, his art to dat point would of had more meaning….same goes for kurt kobain n nirvana too….in all 3 cases, when dey passed away, their shit instantly blew up n became more popular den it ever was b4 n has been blown up, studied, n looked into to dis day….its just how it goes, a superstar artist in their height is worth more money dead den alive…n being in the height of your stardom when u pass is a big part too…….michael jackson, elvis, heath ledger…u start talking legend, n greatest of all time after a person passes away and their art turns to gold……there are living legends also, but for da most part dats how it is, and da living legends become even more after dey pass too

    • matty21

      if wayne n kayne r kobe n lebron…where dat put t.i.? he don’t get enough credit around da game, but dats jus how it goes…his shit timeless 4real and has been from day 1, its never been about just being hot wit him or just making music bout whats current like jay does a lot, everythng he’s ever released has been well thought out, game changing, n timeless… and i guess u gotta die to be famous n really get da props u deserve?? na, he’ll get it…da king ant on none of dat auto-tune bs, and i think most wuld agree definately ain’t on no gimmicks, never been much of a trend follower, he did HIS thing over nething and has more raw talent n intelligence den ANYONE….if nething, t.i. has been da trend setter from day 1, he changed da game in ways most can’t compare, open doors for for cats to follow his trends, and set a new path for cats to follow after J….he brought trap to da game lol, how much u hear dat now in da past 4/5 years? it really blew up after him, a song on da radio gettin da most airplay over nething else not too long ago, has a chorus dat went: “quarter brick, half a brick, whole brick, AYE!” who u think opened dat door n where did dat come from? (Jeezy went platinum, it has every1 now all da sudden CLAIMING dey trapped in da past(talk bout gimmicks lol), n t.i. brought dat sht to da mainstream, it’s been talked bout b4 yea, but he really brought it to da mainstream n pop charts 4REAL!) n da shts everywhere….he brought being a man n being smart about every aspect of sht on top of being a rapper to it n it set dat trend too, be yourself no matter what and be a man first! n don’t ever forget dat over money n all da other bs…. he’s brought nothing but greatness to da game of rap and speaks bout nothing but real life in his art on da mic…u can see how A LOT of rappers, even older, bite him in dat fact too, dat dey get back to talking about THEIR real life, i see it a lot and i’m just making points to cats n pointing dis sht out in case cats 4got or just don’t know….a real man don’t need his props neway, dat ain’t da reason u do real art neway so it don’t matter…dats y da artists got me(da fan) to point dis sht out i gues ha… not too mention da artists he’s produced recently young dro n LA da sht lol n grand hustle like nothin else….he’s changed da game in so many ways, if wayne n kayne r kobe n lebron, i guess he muhammed ali….

      • makaveli1671

        No TINY Tell us how you really feel!….lol TI Is hella underrated though…..Now all we need to hear is how great & underrated TOYA thinks Wayne is! Bloggers…. wowwwwwwwwwwwwww

        • matty21

          lol makaveli, dat was a lil’ much, where TOYA at? ha i culda went in wit more too really….another reason y he don’t get props too is becuz he lets every1 know dat hes da best n he’s da shit every chance he gets, jus how he feels, n in his case it’s da truth lol, n cats don’t wanna give him props…dey HATE to say he’s da best, da real 1s know tho n don’t mind sayin it…..n Oneofthemyo’s: D wade? dats a good thought…but i think da cases(injuries) n sht, n everything he’s been through actually help him n make him better…as an artist n as a person….n make his word hold more weight, n shows hes livin what he’s talkin bout 4real, n has been from day 1…its jus harsh proof…

      • Oneofthemyo’s

        if wayne and kanye is lebron and kobe then TIP is D.wade. That nigga better than both of em but cant stop having injuries or in ti’s case stay his ass outta trouble

  • Stuey

    Yeaaaah right Jay-z this album sucks, and you’ve become a lazy emcee just fuckin hang it up already

    • Pee scholar

      You say that about this album, but i bet you loved american gangster.(his worst album to date!! Check the sound scan!) I swear y’all generation is like the twilight zone!!!!

  • Apollo Moses

    Should be a good read…good question on the verse and year old topic…Jay still walks on egg shells…will be checking for B3.

  • RR

    Underwhelmed by American Gangster??? What is this writer talking about? That album was universally critically acclaimed!

    • RDS

      Co-sign. Except for “Brooklyn 2.0″. The song didn’t fit at all sonically, but the rest of the album was straight coke.

  • Silly Chilly Willy

    “Some nights [L.A. Lakers player] Pau Gasol can score more points than Kobe Bryant—not saying that Kanye is Pau Gasol, ’cause you have to be really clear with that—[but] as long as I’ve been in the game, that’s going to happen, once or twice or even three times.”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Preach, Hov !!!

    By the way, American Gangster is pure fire, except for the track Brooklyn 2.0, the gremlin fucked it up. And BP3 is like another Black Album, yes, THAT good !!!

  • Avenger XL

    Jay-Z is far from sloppy Stuey the flows on BP3 are much better than 95% of the cats rapping today. Like I keep saying the vibe of the album is different and cats who dig soul spead up soul samples over lifted drums may have a hard time with this. Because he is using more moderen sounds. I wish he went in more personal on songs and offered more perspective but like I said Jay was never that dude. He is always lyrically vague.

  • Enlightened

    LOL “I love Drake” has turned into the new white people saying “I’m not racist, I have Black friends”

    Seriously, I’m one of the few people I know that thought the Black Album was suspect and Kingdom Come was tight.

    But hey, that’s why they call ‘em opinions.

    I was never a Jay-Z fan. Always liked Nas much better. Always.
    These days I’m finding myself rooting for the nigga more than ever before.
    He’s representing hip-hop very well right about now

    • Pee scholar

      I fux wit u enlightend, i thought i was the only nigga on this planet that would reach for kingdom over black album.

  • http://antwonomous.blogspot.com Antwonomous

    As far as Kanye outrapping him on “Run This Town,” I think that’s just the fad now, for people to say that a star rapper got outclassed by another star rapper on his own song. Nothing to it, really. People are simple.

  • The Southern Comfort

    400 songs – how many of them involve jay just talking about himself?

    dude is so talented but even admits he’d rather sell a few mill than be straight dope. I’m with Enlightened re Nas, Jay needs to retire gracefully ‘cos deserved or not he seems to be burning through fans’ goodwill.

    • DevoG

      I keep hearing ppl saying Jay needs to retire, but why? What is that going to accomplish in terms of other rappers? Is your favorite rapper going to sell more with Jay retired? I doubt it! Following that logic it can be said that when he stepped down as president of def jam, other rappers #’s should have went up! Didn’t see that happen outside of wayne! As far as the GOAT crown goes, at some point in time you have to respect the living, and accomplished. Jay has enough lyrical credibility to hang in elite circles; enough street, and commercial credibilty to be able to make profit. Like the man said on Lyrical Exercise “I’m leading the league in at least 6 statistical categories right now”, and that was 8 yrs ago!

      • Pee scholar

        To address the priesdent of def jam issue, when jay was priez, def jam was the hottest label period!!!! at that time no other record label could fuck wit def jam. You peep the game now, the hottest artist all came from under Jay’s wing. He leaves def jam, the label isnt even talked about anymore. I dont understand how guys say he wasnt a good priesdent…..

  • RDS

    Honestly looks to be a good interview. Some dudes will hate whatever he says just because it’s him saying it, much like they do 50, but if you ever listen to them speak or read an interview, but 50 and Jay drop ridiculous knowledge. It’s funny, people are like “he doesn’t like the young cats”, but I’ve never once heard him say that. Go through his body of work; he’s worked with Tearra Mari when she was debuting. She and Rihanna came out at the same time and had the same backing and the same potential. Rihanna crossed over and became a mainstream hit ON HER OWN (they came to Jay with “Pon De Replay” and he thought it was too big for her, and she took that risk and was rewarded for it). Tearra Mari failed to do anything but become dropped from the label. Then she pops up some years later and she’s like “Jay did me dirty.” How? You had a club song talking about you didn’t have a daddy. You seriously blame dude for your own failure? For nobody liking or buying your album?

    Jay worked with Freeway and everybody in State Prop. The dude puts you in the door, but it’s up to you to make something of yourself. No grown man should have to carry another grown man. That’s the one thing about 50 Cent I’m starting to see now. His approach with G-Unit was the exact opposite from Jay and Roc-a-fella or whoever. 50 put G-Unit on his back and everytime something happens, 50′s the one saving the day. 50 does this, 50 does that. I think eventually 50 realized–much like Jay in, say, the Jaz-O situation–you’re your own man. It’s like my pops used to say “I can teach you how to be a man, but it’s up to you to actually become that man.” You can’t force someone to be successful if they’re not willing to work hard to get there. I think so many people were just waiting for dude to help them out, he’s looking around like “wtf? Hell no.” I don’t blame either of them in most cases, but I can’t speak for either of them dudes. I’m just trying to call it the way I’ve observed it.

    It just seems very few people can actually say with a genuine article of fact that Jay doesn’t like this or did this to that person because nobody really knows. But if history shows anybody anything it’s really Jay doesn’t like to work with lazy people.

    On another note, why does he keep having to explain the point of D.O.A. and the message of the song? Dudes is mad emotional thinking he’s targeting young people and not auto-tune specifically. There-in lies the other problem with this new “Hip-Hop”–this is “RAP”…people need to stop confusing it with genuine Hip-Hop–but that’s another soap box for another day.

    Don’t hate my opinion. I’m just sayin’ and I invite any genuine discussion for or against, so long as somebody actually has something intelligent to say in rebuttable.

    • Silly Chilly Willy

      “I can teach you how to be a man, but it’s up to you to actually become that man.”
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      I 2nd that.
      In the words of Ben Harper:
      “You can bring a horse to the water but cannot make him drink
      You can bring a man to school but cannot make him think”

    • Enlightened

      Like you say, we don’t know for sure what happened between him and any of these people – such as the situation with Dame

      But one thing we know for sure that Dame Dash is not – is lazy. So whatever their situation was, it definitely wasn’t that.

  • MIZZLE

    I think BP3 is great. It just proves that Jay makes grown man music. I cannot understand why people who listen to rap music cannot expand their brains. I mean it is not gonna sound just like the Blueprint its been 8 years and rap is wack right now. People are getting a buzz because of the internet when they suck. Jay Rock sucks, Kid Cudi sucks Drake sucks Lil Wayne sucks now. The old guys are winning right now Ye, Jay, Ross, amd Jeezy. None of the upcoming acts are original except Lupe, B.O.B., and Willie the Kid everyone else needs to die.

  • Pingback: JAY-Z ON HIS XXL BIG HIP HOP LIFE « Horiwood’s Blog

  • che

    check out the Blueprint 3 album on FaceZook .com, there’s some crazy stuff on there.

  • thaFace

    keep on Jigga…keep coming with the records that everybody will still listen to…ppl talking ish about “kingdom come” is garbage…shit 90% of hip hop is garbage…”american gangster” is trash…shit, better than 95% of rap that came out that year…3 classic albums under your belt…the GOAT!!!

    • SbuJah

      “3 classic albums under your belt…the GOAT!!!”

      wow, I guess you think the carter 3 is a classic as well…

  • AZ40

    He’s one of the most SUCCESSFUL rappers of all time…aren’t the Drakes,Kid Cudi,B.O.B,etc just a knock off of Kayne West, the new genre of music he was talkin’ bout, that emo rap stuff.

    • zayzkidd

      Kanye actually is a knock-off Jigga but I can’t knock him because Jigga stole the young guns style.

      • Pee scholar

        yea right!!!! gnr

  • DetroitDraper

    Jay just said he listens to Kings of Leon?…I had to look that shit up and SMH. I lost alot of respect for Jay after that rock fusion album/song or whatever it was and now your listening to Kings of Leon…that=FAIL

    MAYN HOL’UP

    • render

      this why hiphop stay losing…close minded cats who can’t see beyond the genre leads to stagnation…whether its new niggas tryin to recreate the same shit that was done 10-15 years ago without adding anything fresh or autotune, follow the leader bullshit…its the same damn thing

      the difference between artists in the early 90′s generation of mc’s and this one is that those dudes grew up listening to all types of music…stylistics, mayfield, george clinton, rick james..whatever

      mc’s now only listen to hiphop…they might listen to “backpack” or boombap shit but its all the same damn genre. What made hiphop unique in the first place is that it could be soul, rnb, jazz, electro and rock n roll all at the same time

      and that ‘fail’ shit is corny as hell

      • http://myspace.com/marlonmiles62 Monstarr.

        CO- MUHFUCKIN’ SIGN.

  • willshady

    fuck jay-z

  • Rashaan

    Couldn’t have said it better enlightened even though im really looking forward to OB4CL2 more than BP3.

  • TEXAS DOPE BOY

    MESSAGE TO JAY-Z……..FUCK TIMBALAND, GO HOLLA AT THE TRACKMASTERS, DJ SKEE, The Buchannans AND JUST BLAZE FOR BEATS.

  • zayzkidd

    Well, I was depending on Jigga to bring the game back to higher levels but I guess he failed. I hope that Dr. Dre’s Detox could do it….Hey Dre!!! Don’t try to be what the game is today, the game needs you to guide it at the moment.

  • Prince Caesar

    I’ve always been a Jay fan, but, I seen the decline in Jay’s music. I can’t front, his wack shit is even hard…he’s just not as thorough as he was back in the late 90′s. I’m still gonna cop the BP3 cuz Jay is one of the greatest to do it and I know he’s still gonna drop some heat. I gotta say I always thought that Nas was better than him, shit, he’s better than any rapper in the game…in my opinion. I’ll always be checking for real hip-hop…I really want New York to bring the game back to the forefront..like in the late 90′s. I miss that real shit.

  • Mrs.Jonez’s

    The Blueprint 3 Is the best album of the year!! Even though the whole album has leaked he will still be number one with record sells on the charts.This is the real Jay-Z we got him back!!!! Hovi Baby!!

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    Cumon mrs did ya really listened 2 the whole album or did u just played ur favourite tracks.

    That thing is whack as hell compared 2 his Reseanable doubt & the 1st Blueprint which i proudly own.

    Timbaland 1nce said that he’s scared Jay will tarnish his own legacy if he keeps the pace he had been on since kingdom Come.

  • Decker

    Jay-Z’s was aiming 4 a different audience with this album.It’s clear that he’s preety strung out on Rock these days.That fact,had a huge influence on the beats he picked 4 d album.His flow & delivery r still crazy but d beats on BP3 r preety strange 2 d average hiphop ear.4 those saying OB4CL2′s better than BP3,that’s not necessarily true.Both albums were made 2 attend 2 appeal 2 different set of ears.OB4CL2 is meant 2 cater 2 d hood,it’s gritty.Jay is going 4 that European,Global feel.

    • SbuJah

      OB4CL>BP
      OB4CL2>BP3

      whether the target market is martians… OB4CL (both) is straight artistic shit (a well fleshed out story with layers and cenematic twists) not some bubble gum sh*t that dont add anything to the genre…

  • stoneyisland

    i didnt expect Jay to still be kicking the same kinda raps he was spitting at 18, the dude is 40 now, he would sound silly and pathetic if he was still rapping about shit from the early 90′s. However any real hip hop fan can tell that Jay no longer has that hunger that he once had. I mean he has 500 millions reasons that he aint hungry:) but his music has been on the decline for the last 3 albums. I have been banging an advance copy of BP3 for the last 4 weeks and I just cannot get into it. I will not be buying this shitbrick of an album.

    • kenny

      AMERICAN GANGSTER WAS A GREAT ALBUM

  • Nehemiah

    Yo I cosign with Enlightened cuz ive always liked Nas better just because Nas is Nas all the time. Yo I like when rappers just tell stories cuz that is how i can view the world being stuck on this rock. LOL I think all this commercial rap has made it difficult for the real lyricist to just say what he wants to say and perform like a lyricist supposed to. Im starting to like Jay again because after Ether I was like Fuck Jay-Z! LOL Black Republican is my shit! LOL I like the Kingdom come album cuz we all know that Jay aint a criminal so I thought he kept it real and was introspective with his rhymes. Drug dealin aint shit it only kills and gets u killed or worse in jail for a long time! Real Talk

  • http://www.myspace.com/megasonicbeats MEGASONIC BEATS

    RDS you have snatched words out of my fingers…great post…don’t just hate someone with no reason.

  • Ryu

    Jay you made a hell of an album! Keep doing tne damn thing. Most of these bloggers dont know what the hell they be talking about. They the type to listen to the beats and not the lyrics and say the album is trash. Well Fuck them. Blueprint 3 is in instant Classic. Welcome Back my nigga.

  • http://-- gaddic

    @Mrs. Jonez’s
    U R A F*ckin RETARD TO MAKE AN IGNORANT STUPID STAEMENT LIKE THAT
    “Bp3 is the best album of the year?”
    Half of Relapse has better lyrics than this whole album combined
    Sh*t the slaughterhouse lp is light years better than bp3
    let’s go down real simple

    Relapse lyrics= 9/10
    Bp3 lyrics =6.5/10
    Relapse flow = 8.5/10
    BP3 flow = 8/10
    Relapse beats = 8/10
    Bp3 beats = 8/10
    Relapse buzz = 9/10
    BP3 buzz = 7/10
    Relapse sales =8.5/10
    Bp3 sales = 7/10 (this album will not sell more than Relapse in your dreams!)
    The best albums of the year is Slaughterhouse and Relapse in the opinion of a hardcore knowlegdeable unbiased hiphop fan of true lyricsm!
    Not hating Bp3 ain’t bad just nowhere near classic

  • http://twitter.com/sthamogul S Tha Mogul

    This is a grown man making grown man music. After reading these comments and the ‘fuck jay-z’ dudes who are all over the net. They must’ve never been in the club rockin to ‘give it to me’ or ‘somebodys girl’ or the countless jay-z classic tracks that he’s put out. He is the GOAT and beyond rap at this time and will always be. Maybe he’s lost a step in his flow but I don’t think thats lyrically because his metaphors are still sharp, its just the aggression thats gone. But he even said ‘niggas want me to be on my old shit, go buy my old albums’. The real hip hop heads will love this album as I do, the ones who want that gun bustin, coke selling shit will go for OB4CL2 (which i’m sure is dope). As you grow, you evolve as Jay-Z has.

  • the G

    PEACE

    You know, like most people raised on this music, I do not or have ever cared to OWN OR LISTEN to an Emlvis album-to me he is more like (a white)Biz Markie than a Kane-so people need to stop comparing him or his album to people like Jay-Z, Nas, Big or Pac.-they were not white men pretending to be black.

    Peace

  • http://www.dirtysouthhiphopradio.com Mr.Nat Turner

    It really disturbs me that so many purists of what we called hiphop are so full of shit. When I listen to Hov from Reasonable Doubt to now the present, BP3, I hear and I see his own personal evolution and I then look at my own life which has grown with him and I can’t measure my success by his spoon but I understand him. I came from the streets as a hustler and a striving rap artist, left the city for greater horizons, explore different cultures and people, gain knowledge of self through travel, had some triumps and failures with love and career but in all that, there’s a market for Jay because I still want to hear his perspective and see if we still riding. He kept it real to me because I understand we’re not in the same tax bracket but he’s still from the block where we sipped on quarter waters and watch shorties from the corner. He can’t go back to Reasonable Doubt no more than I can go back to my block because that’s done now. he can’t go back to BP1 no more than I can get back the woman that I loved at that time because now I’m here in 2009 with a new wife, a new life, new children and my President is black. I think what i heard was honest and he’s still the illest to me and yes I’m a fan but i’m a fan to many. If this was his last album that he offered and he left us(God forbid), the criticism would be so different just like when BIG left us Life After Death. Alot of you fake ass purists were not riding with Big when he was alive and I remember your criticism. They compared Big’s work with his earliest and some even hated the second offering but death save us from hearing all the bullshit because you knew at that point it would fall on deaf ears. If you don’t get BP3 then you just don’t. Your spoon too small or maybe you don’t have a spoon at all.
    If ever in life you get the opportunity to say something, then say something…Stop being sheep. Mister Nat Turner

  • frow

    who ever wrote this is in love with jay-z bigger then hip hop give me a break. he hasnt been in hip hop since the black album.and these releases are jokes just messing up his career hes the bret farve of rapping just go the fuck away.
    No doubt hes on of the best top ten but the goat yea righhtt!
    New classic lmao jay-zs career after BP3 na na na hey ye good bye!
    OB4CL2>>>>>>>>>>>>>>BP3

  • the G

    PEACE

    You know, like most people raised on this music, I do not or have ever cared to OWN OR LISTEN to an Emlvis album-to me he is more like (a white)Biz Markie than a Kane-so people need to stop comparing him or his album to people like Jay-Z, Nas, Big or Pac.-they are (were) not white men pretending to be black.

    Peace

  • alderman j

    and i thought jay said he was “TAKING IT BACK TO OLD SCHOOL HARDCORE RAP, this is ok music, but it definitely doesnt remind me of old school hardcare, like gangstarr, public enemy, nwa, its very musical, but i dont think it is anything like old school, he failed in doing what he said he was doing?? Also he is a hypocrite, only KANYE AND PHARREL can wear bright colors and only KANYE AND WAYNE can use autotune, who made this nigga the governor of hip hop, i dont agree with none of that!! Ron browz suck by himself, but pop champagne and arab money was my joints, he just dont have a lane and he is TRYING to make one!!! He looks like michael jordan 20 pounds heavier, with no hops getting his fade away blocked by paul pierce!!!!!

  • ededdneddie

    I’m a Jay-Z, Nas, Pac, Big you name it fan but let the truth be told..

    People can hate all they want but the man in not only good for hip hop, he’s smarter than hip hop. While everyone talks bout who’s better and other rappers continue to hate. Jay is being interviewed by Oprah, having lunch with mayors, selling out Madison Square, etc. Nas as good as he is, and trust me the man can rap his ass off, he’s got legal & financial issues, baby mama drama…Nas would kill to be in Jay’s place and so would every other rapper out now. So you say he sucks but relevance is the art of being relevant…NOW..not yesterday. I’ve listened to the entire BP3 and I’ll tell you that the beats are crazy, his lyrics are crazy…it’s a good album and will probably do well. So if you don’t like the man or his music. Don’t buy it. Shit..if I’m watching TV and a show I hate comes on..I change the f’n channel…Le’t all grow up people.

    -E-

  • ededdneddy

    I’m a Jay-Z, Nas, Pac, Big you name it fan but let the truth be told..

    People can hate all they want but the man in not only good for hip hop, he’s smarter than hip hop. While everyone talks bout who’s better and other rappers continue to hate. Jay is being interviewed by Oprah, having lunch with mayors, selling out Madison Square, etc. Nas as good as he is, and trust me the man can rap his ass off, he’s got legal & financial issues, baby mama drama…Nas would kill to be in Jay’s place and so would every other rapper out now. So you say he sucks but relevance is the art of being relevant…NOW..not yesterday. I’ve listened to the entire BP3 and I’ll tell you that the beats are crazy, his lyrics are crazy…it’s a good album and will probably do well. So if you don’t like the man or his music. Don’t buy it. Shit..if I’m watching TV and a show I hate comes on..I change the f’n channel…Le’t all grow up people.

    -E-

  • http://Blaquekatinc.com xlrg

    Some of you guys take this ish 2 serious! The man is just puttin out another album, if u dont like it dont support it, if itz the shit bang the hell out of it. The reason hip hop is getting boring is b cause these major labels r putting out garbage acts. The radio and video stations r programmed to brainwash us.. Why didnt saigon come out with his album ( it had positive messages ) but def jam put out swag surfin by some group i never knew existed and itz more labels puttin out garbage.. My thing is what ever happend to the element of surprise , i remember hearing redman on epmd’s hardcore and was like who
    n the fuc is that nigga , when what thee album came out it was a instant classic! Im not feeling drake , i get wayne sometimes but itz all slick metaphors , listen to organized konfusion’s equinox album that is a clinic on lyrics and concepts plus beats…. Jigga cant rap 4 eva, dr. Dre takes too long , my thing is whoever it is, put out classics so there cant b a debate….. Demand better music!!!!

  • Pingback: JAY-Z TALK BLUEPRINT3 D.O.A AND KANYE’S VERSE ON “RUN THIS TOWN” « TheSoundBuzz

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    yo! anybody see Jay on Bill Maher (however the fuck u spell his last name) the other night? Jay is a cool ass nigga.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Some good ass comments here.

    Expand your horizons, think out the box, don’t be afraid to grow.

    Real talk for anyone striving for perfection.

    PEACE

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    ya, i saw him on bill maher. see how big that is for hip hop? I can’t wait to see him on oprah or youtube it. Pac was just as commerical but went around acting like a thug. Biggie just as commerical, and biggie said jayz was his favorite rapper. Jayz in my opinion is the best rapper not because i’m a fan of jayz but i’m a fan of hip hop. I listen to it all. Is he bigger than hip hop, never, but he is a great ambassodor of hip hop. Where is Rakim. Rakim career is a fraction of jayz. Dude has timeless classics, but where is he? Where is KRS. Where is redman. Where is ghostface. Where is Andre 3000. Its tons of great rappers who have spit a hot verse mad a decent album, but these dudes ain’t did it as good as jayz did for as many as years. BP3 is a new classic. Anybody who thinks otherwise is till lost in the 90′s and/or to narrow minded to want to grow. Save hip hop.

  • http://ANORMOUS.com ANORMOUS

    Kool Keith is the God MC!!

  • Decker

    Blueprint 3,comes out 2moro.Go out & support it.

  • Joe

    Underwhelmed by Amercan Gangster??!!, way to lose all credibility.

  • Kenny

    2Pac and Eminem =75+ Million each!(Pac only recorded music till he was 26)

    Jay Z= 50 Million – (took him 40 years)