The Blueprint 3
|The Blueprint 3|
|Studio album by Jay-Z|
|Released||September 8, 2009|
Various recording locations
|Label||Roc Nation, Atlantic|
|Producer||Al Shux, Jeff Bhasker, Jermone Harmon, The Inkredibles, Jay-Z (exec.), Kanye West (also exec.), The Neptunes, No I.D., Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Al Shux|
|Singles from The Blueprint 3|
The Blueprint 3 is the eleventh studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released September 8, 2009, on Roc Nation. It is the final installment in The Blueprint trilogy, preceded by The Blueprint (2001) and The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse (2002). Production for the album took place during 2008 to 2009 at several recording studios and was handled by Kanye West, The Neptunes, Jeff Bhasker, Al Shux, Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon, No I.D., The Inkredibles, Swizz Beatz, and Timbaland.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 476,000 copies in its first week. It became Jay-Z's eleventh US number-one album, breaking the record he had previously shared with Elvis Presley, and produced five singles that achieved chart success. Upon its release, The Blueprint 3 received generally positive reviews from music critics.
The earliest hype over The Blueprint 3 came when DJ Clue released in January 2008 a mixtape song called "Ain't I", produced by Timbaland. In the intro, Clue says, "Off that Blueprint 3 baby!" However, a spokesperson for Jay-Z said that it was an old, unreleased song and that the recording of The Blueprint 3 had not yet started. On July 20, Timbaland, a frequent contributor to previous Jay-Z albums, told MTV News that he would be producing the whole album. But in an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine, Jay-Z called the statement "premature". In July 2009, Jay-Z confirmed The Blueprint 3 as the album's title during an interview with radio station Shade 45.
By November 2008, he had finished the album but with lengthy negotiations with Def Jam, he went onto reworking it. In January 2009, Jay-Z confirmed continued production of the album and admitted the leak of several songs. In a Billboard magazine interview, Jay-Z confirmed "What We Talkin' About", the album's intro, "Thank You", and "Already Home" as song names and collaborations with Australian dance group Empire of the Sun, rappers Drake and Kid Cudi and singer Rihanna. He also mentioned in an interview with DJ Semtex that his favorite song on the album is "Empire State of Mind". The official tracklist for Blueprint 3 was revealed on August 18, confirming the guest appearances from Alicia Keys, Drake, Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Young Jeezy, J. Cole, and more.)
The cover consists of a large amount of all-white instruments and recording tools stacked in a corner, with three red lines across the image. Rather than simply using photoshop, the album's design team carefully stacked all the equipment in a corner then used a projector to create the bars. They then painted red onto the equipment where the projection of the bars was, and replaced the projector with a camera to achieve the correct perspective for the image. Blueprint 3 would be his first album cover that did not feature Jay Z's face on it.
Most of the album's recording sessions took place in Hawaii at Avex Honolulu Studio, in an effort to avoid leakage. West's protégé Mr Hudson explained to The Times that he "won't get bothered there" compared to a major city such as New York or Los Angeles. Sessions for the album took place during 2008 to 2009 at Avex Honolulu Studio and several other recording studios, including Germano Studios, Oven Studios, and Roc The Mic in New York City, Kingdom Studios and Lava Studios in Cleveland, Midnight Blue Studios and South Beach Studios in Miami, The Holy Chateau in Perth, Australia, and Westlake Studio in Los Angeles.
Jay-Z told Rolling Stone his method of selecting producers: "If Timbaland makes ten great tracks then he produces the album, if Kanye West makes ten great tracks then he produces the album; if he makes three, I'll take three. I let the music dictate the direction." However, the final track listing reveals, that West produced the majority of tracks on the album, and three done by Timbaland. West confirmed two songs, "A Star Is Born" and "Young Forever", during an appearance on The Wake Up Show in February 2009. Mr Hudson, who is the featured artist on the latter, described it as a flip on the Alphaville record of a similar name. During a joint interview with Hudson, West confirmed that the pop artist would be featured on three songs. Pharrell stated that he emailed "So Ambitious" to Jay-Z the day he was mastering the album. He loved the track so much that he put off the mastering.
Release and promotion
The album was released September 8, 2009 on Roc Nation in the United States. It was also released digitally on September 11, 2009 in the US, and its United Kingdom and international release followed on September 14 that same year. Prior to its official release, the album leaked in its entirety on August 31, 2009. When asked about the leak, Jay-Z stated "It's a preview. I'm excited for people to hear the album. I'm very proud of the work I've done, so enjoy it".
The album's lead single "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" was premiered on June 5, 2009 via New York radio station Hot 97. On June 7, 2009 Jay-Z made a guest appearance at Hot 97's Summer Jam concert, and performed D.O.A. live on stage, for the first time. On May 20, 2009, Jay-Z confirmed that he bought out the remainder of his contract from Def Jam Records in order to start his contract with Live Nation, as The Blueprint 3 was set to be released under Roc Nation and distributed by Atlantic Records. In August 2008, Jay-Z performed the Kanye West–produced song "Jockin' Jay-Z" during the latter's Glow in the Dark Tour.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 476,000 copies. It serves as the third-highest first-week sales of 2009. It became Jay-Z's eleventh US number-one album, breaking the record he had previously shared with Elvis Presley. In its second week, it remained at number 1, selling another 301,000 units, before dropping to second in its third week. After four weeks sales totaled 1,104,000 units. In the album's fifth week it sold 75,000 copies bringing the total to 1,178,000 it is Jay-Z's 11th solo album to go Platinum. The album in its fifth week is also number 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. In its sixth week the album rose up 2 spots to number 3 on the Billboard 200, despite selling 65,000 copies, 10,000 less than its previous week. 53,000 copies were sold in the US in its seventh week, putting it at number 4 on the charts. In week eight the album sold 51,000 copies. In the next week album sold 48,000 units. In next three weeks album sold over 100,000 copies and, as of May 2010, its sales in the U.S. stand at 1,748,000 units. It is Jay-Z's first album to have 3 Hot 100 Top 10 Hits.
The album was the 9th best selling album of 2009 in the U.S., selling over 1.52 million copies in 4 months, the album is now at over 1.86 million sold and still in the Top 30. The Blueprint 3 was the second highest selling hip-hop album of 2009 domestically. It was the 5th Highest selling Rap Album of 2010 according to Billboard.
On the week ending July 29, 2012, The Blueprint 3 re-entered the Billboard 200 at 28. It has sold 1,933,000 copies in the US to date.
|The Sunday Times|||
The Blueprint 3 received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 65, based on 22 reviews. In his review for MSN Music, Robert Christgau called the album "fairly superb" and gave it an A- rating, indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction". Allmusic writer John Bush compared the album to its predecessors, describing it as "somewhere between the two, closer to the vitality and energy of the original but not without the crossover bids and guest features of the latter (albeit much better this time)". Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly commented that the album succeeds at its goal of "reaching maximum commercial blast radius while maintaining its street bona fides".
The Daily Telegraph gave the album four out of five stars and complimented its modern sound. The A.V. Club gave it a B+ rating and stated, "Jay-Z sounds liberated by his legacy rather than weighed down by expectations". Despite noting inconsistency in Jay-Z's rapping, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times complimented the album's varied musical elements and called it "an unexpected blend of maturity and youth". Pete Cashmore of NME commented that it "delivers because of hefty beats and quality rapsmanship, nothing else. And, ultimately, that’ll do just fine". Kiilian Fox of The Observer commented that Jay-Z is "maturing into a responsible elder statesman". Zach Baron of The Village Voice viewed that "much of Blueprint 3 is about the weird, meta-rap work of redefining what it is to be a boss" and stated "Jay-Z's midlife crisis is over. Which doesn't make The Blueprint 3 a classic. But we'll take it. For now".
In a mixed review, Slant Magazine's William McBee found The Blueprint 3 "predictable", "complacent", and "a hip-hop feast, for sure, filled to the brim with elite production and elite rapping, but it lacks the hungriness, the spirit, and the craziness that marks a classic album". Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen called it "a catchy, pop-friendly record", but viewed that it lacks the "electric charge" of Jay-Z's previous albums and that he is "stuck for a subject [...] But he says it well". Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote that it "peters out in a mass of indistinct tracks" following its first four songs. The Sunday Times criticized the music's "insistent straining for a crossover, pop-coloured sheen", writing that it "mires much of the album in insipidness, coating stale braggadocio (without, mostly, any compensating humour)." Pitchfork Media's Ian Cohen commented that it is "so certainly Jay-Z's weakest solo album, you'll be tempted to wonder if Kingdom Come was somehow underrated". Greg Kot of the Los Angeles Times gave the album two-and-a-half out of four stars and viewed Jay-Z's celebrity and older age as somewhat of a flaw, stating:
It's tough for hip-hop stars to age well. Once they become celebrities living in mansions and starring in family movies, street cred is usually the first thing to go. Just ask Ice Cube. Longevity just wasn't built into the hip-hop lifestyle, with its premium on youthful swagger, street tales and fast turnover [...] 'The Blueprint 3' aims to show everyone he still has wicked skills on the mic. It does, even as it illustrates that sometimes he coasts on his celebrity [...] The message: Don't mess with ol' Gray-Z.
|1.||"What We Talkin' About" (featuring Luke Steele)||Kanye West, No I.D.||4:04|
|2.||"Thank You"||Kanye West, No I.D.||4:10|
|3.||"D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)"||No I.D.||4:15|
|4.||"Run This Town" (featuring Rihanna and Kanye West)||Kanye West, No I.D.||4:27|
|5.||"Empire State of Mind" (featuring Alicia Keys)||Al Shux, Janet Sewell-Ulepic, Angela Hunte (co.)||4:36|
|6.||"Real as It Gets" (featuring Young Jeezy)||The Inkredibles||4:12|
|7.||"On to the Next One" (featuring Swizz Beatz)||Swizz Beatz||4:17|
|8.||"Off That" (featuring Drake)||Timbaland, Jerome Harmon||4:06|
|9.||"A Star Is Born" (featuring J. Cole)||Kanye West, Kenoe, No I.D.||3:48|
|10.||"Venus vs. Mars"||Timbaland, Jerome Harmon||3:10|
|11.||"Already Home" (featuring Kid Cudi)||Kanye West, No I.D., Jeff Bhasker (add.)||4:29|
|12.||"Hate" (featuring Kanye West)||Kanye West||2:31|
|13.||"Reminder"||Timbaland, Jerome Harmon||4:18|
|14.||"So Ambitious" (featuring Pharrell Williams)||The Neptunes||4:12|
|15.||"Young Forever" (featuring Mr Hudson)||Kanye West||4:13|
• (co.) - co-producer
• (add.) - additional producer
|The Blueprint 3||
Executive producer: Kanye West, Shawn Carter
|1||"What We Talkin' About"||
Songwriters: S. Carter, E. Wilson, K. West, K. Randolph, F. Mercier
Songwriters: S. Carter, E. Wilson, K. West
|3||"D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)"|
|4||"Run This Town"|
|5||"Empire State of Mind"|
|6||"Real as It Gets"|
|7||"On to the Next One"|
Songwriters: S. Carter, A. Graham, J. Harmon, T. Mosley
|9||"A Star Is Born"|
|10||"Venus vs. Mars"|
Songwriters: S. Carter, E. Wilson, K. West, S. Mescudi
Songwriters: S. Carter, J. Bhasker, K. West
Songwriters: S. Carter, J. Harmon, N. Briscoe, T. Mosley
I Look to You by Whitney Houston
|Billboard 200 number-one album
September 26, 2009 - October 3, 2009
Backspacer by Pearl Jam
|Canadian Albums Chart number-one album
September 19, 2009
The Resistance by Muse
The E.N.D. by The Black Eyed Peas
|UK R&B Albums number-one album (first run)
September 20, 2009 - September 26, 2009
Tongue N' Cheek by Dizzee Rascal
Tongue N' Cheek by Dizzee Rascal
|UK R&B Albums number-one album (second run)
October 11, 2009 - October 17, 2009
I Am Chipmunk by Chipmunk
- Reid, Shaheem (2008-01-30). "New Jay-Z Song Leaks -- Is Blueprint 3 In The Works?". MTV. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Reid, Shaheem (2008-07-16). "Timbaland On Producing Jay-Z's Next LP: 'It'll Be A Monster'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Van Dril, E. (2008-09-01). "Jay-Z Teaming with Kanye West on Next Album". TheCelebrityCafe. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Reid, Shaheem (2008-09-07). "Jay-Z Announces Blueprint 3, Premieres New Kanye West-Produced Track At Kanye's NYC Show". MTV. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Concepcion, Mariel (2009-07-20). "Jay-Z: He's A Business, Man". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Rodriguez, Jayson; Calloway, Sway J. (2009-01-22). "Jay-Z Taking His Time With Blueprint 3 To Make It 'Beyond And Above'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Reid, Shaheem (2009-02-18). "Jay-Z Explains Blueprint 3 Delays: 'I'll Be Axl Rose Out Here!'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
- Jay-Z Interview w/ DJ Semtex. Nah Right. Retrieved on 2009-07-25.
- Dombal, Ryan (2009-08-19). "Jay-Z's Blueprint 3: The Tracklist". Pitchfork Media. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- The Blueprint 3 liner notes Roc Nation (2009)
- Crerar, Simon (2009-07-08). "Mr Hudson Goes 'Supernova' with Kanye". Times Online. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Jay-Z The Blueprint 3 CD". CD Universe. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
- Reid, Shaheem (2009-02-13). "Kanye West Says 'Best Hip-Hop Beats Of All Time' Will Be On Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3". MTV. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Roberts, Steven (2009-05-18). "Mr Hudson On Working With Jay-Z: 'I'm Pinching Myself'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Rodriguez, Jayson; Kash, Tim (2009-09-16). "Jay-Z's 'So Ambitious' Is 'Ferocious', Pharrell Williams Says". MTV. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- Caulfield, Keith. (2009-09-04). Jay-Z's 'Blueprint 3' Release Date Moved To Sept. 8. Billboard.biz. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Concepcion, Mariel (2009-06-30). "Jay-Z Confirms Roc Nation Deals With Sony, Atlantic". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Lewis, Pete (2009-08-20). "A B&S Classic Interview - Pete Lewis speaks to Jay-Z". Blues & Soul. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
- Langhorne, Cyrus. Jay-Z's 'Blueprint 3' Leaks Online Early, 'I May Be the Most Bootlegged Artist in History'. SOHH.com. Retrieved on 2009-09-11.
- Reid, Shaheem. Rodriguez, Jayson. Jay-Z Looks at Blueprint 3 Leak As 'A Preview'. MTV. Retrieved on 2009-09-11.
- Schwartz, Barry (2009-06-06). "Jay-Z Premieres New Song, 'D.O.A.': 'Death Of Auto-Tune'". MTV. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- Caulfield, Keith. L.A. Herrera, Monica. Jay-Z Still Reigns On Billboard 200, Muse And Kid Cudi Bow High. Billboard. Retrieved on 2009-09-28.
- Access Hollywood. Jay-Z Beats Elvis For No. 1 Albums Record'. MTV. Retrieved on 2009-09-16.
- Paine, Jake (2009-10-14). "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 10/11/2009". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Week Ending Oct. 18, 2009: Taylor Swift's Minor Miracle". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Building Album Sales Chart". HITS Daily Double. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Week Ending May 23, 2010: Direct From 1972, The Rolling Stones - Chart Watch". Yahoo! Music. 2010-05-26. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Taylor Swift Edges Susan Boyle For 2009's Top-Selling Album". Billboard.com. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- Jacobs, Allen (2010-01-27). "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 1/24/2010". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Music Albums, Top 200 Albums & Music Album Charts". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- Grein, Paul (2012-08-01). "Week Ending July 29, 2012. Albums: Dog Days Of Summer | Chart Watch (NEW) - Yahoo! Music". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- Bush, John. Review: The Blueprint 3. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-09-06.
- Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: The Blueprint 3". MSN Music: October 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-10-02.
- Greenblatt, Leah. Review: The Blueprint 3. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-09-05.
- Petridis, Alexis. Review: The Blueprint 3. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-09-11.
- Gill, Andy (September 18, 2009). "Album: Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3 (Atlantic)". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2012-10-19.
- Cashmore, Pete. Review: The Blueprint 3. NME. Retrieved on 2009-09-14.
- Cohen, Ian. Review: The Blueprint 3. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-09-14.
- Rosen, Jody. Review: The Blueprint 3. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-09-14.
- McBee, William. Review: The Blueprint 3. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-09-08.
- "Review: The Blueprint 3". The Sunday Times (London). September 2009. Retrieved 2012-10-19. (subscription required)
- The Blueprint 3 (2009): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-09-11.
- Christgau, Robert (2000-10-15). "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
- Columnist. Review: The Blueprint 3. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2009-09-08.
- Rabin, Nathan. Review: The Blueprint 3. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2009-09-11.
- Caramanica, Jon (September 16, 2009). Music - Jay-Z Confronts the Anxiety of Being Influential. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2011-02-22.
- Fox, Killian. Review: The Blueprint 3. The Observer. Retrieved on 2009-09-19.
- Baron, Zach. Review: The Blueprint 3. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
- Kot, Greg. Review: The Blueprint 3. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-09-08.
- "Billboard Critics' Top 10 Albums of 2009". Billboard.com. 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "The Best Albums Of 2009, In Bigger Than The Sound - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- [dead link]
- "Top 50 Albums Chart - Australian Recording Industry Association". Ariacharts.com.au. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "Music Charts - αCharts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "Ultratop Belgian Charts". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "IRMA Irish Charts - Singles, Albums & Compilations". Irma.ie. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "FIMI - Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana - Classifiche". Fimi.it. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "WCharts - World Charts : Oricon Charts 02/10/09 - Ayaka, Ne-Yo, Muse". Wcharts.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- Steffen Hung. "Jay-Z on Swedish charts". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "Chart - Compilations". BBC. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "End Of Year Charts: 2010". UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- "Best of 2010 - Billboard Top 200". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
- "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2010 Albums". Aria.com.au. 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Gold & Platinum". Cria.ca. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP): Gold and Platinum Certifications". disqueenfrance.com/fr. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Ltd. - http://www.fireballmedia.ie (1962-10-01). "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- Certified Awards Search
- "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. December 18, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- The Blueprint 3 at Discogs
- The Blueprint 3 at Metacritic
- First Listen: The Blueprint 3 at Los Angeles Times
- Jay-Z's New Album: Nothing Old About It at The New York Times
- A Track by Track Review: The Blueprint 3 at Spin