Jay-Z’s got to watch it when he calls himself “the new Sinatra,” as he does several times on his return-to-form new album, The Blueprint 3. While I’m sure Hova’s referring to the Frank Sinatra of his 1950s heyday, there’s also the Sinatra of the 1970s: out of touch and struggling for relevancy. After a couple of lackluster albums, Jay-Z has made a statement on The Blueprint 3 that he’s no lounge act yet. Wisely, he stays pretty close to the Kanye West-inspired brassy sound that has done so well for him since the first Blueprint record, especially on “Thank You,” “A Star Is Born,” and the slamming single “Run This Town.” And he passes the production hat around, with decent, if not remarkable tracks from Timbaland, Swizz Beats and Pharrell. And that’s part of Jay-Z’s Sinatra-styled dilemma: he might be the rap Chairman of the Board, but Ol’ Blue Eyes didn’t have to compete with his own production team. You get the sense Kanye, Pharrell, et. al save their best beats for themselves. B+
Jay-Z: Death Of Autotune + 99 Problems (Wallpaper. Remix) (from RCRD LBL)
from the album The Blueprint 3
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