Filed under: Reviews | Tags: A Star is Born, Alicia Keys, Billboard, Blueprint 3, BP3, D.O.A., Death of Auto-Tune, Drake, Elvis Presley, Empire State of Mind, Hip-, J. Cole, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Luke Steele, Mr. Hudson, MTV, No I.D., On to the Next One, Pharrell, rap, Rihanna, Rolling Stone, Rolling Stones, Run This Town, Swizz Beats, Thank You, The Blueprint 3, Timbaland, Young Jeezy
As one of the most influential rappers of his time Jay-Z seeks to make what he told MTV was “a new classic,” in the The Blueprint 3. With The Blueprint 3 being his 11th number one album, according to Rolling Stone, Jay-Z exceeds music legend Elvis Presley to become the solo artist with the most number one albums of all time.
There are many elements that have contributed to the success of The Blueprint 3. Jay-Z’s extensive list of collaborators for The Blueprint 3 includes Luke Steele, Rihanna, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Young Jeezy, Drake, J. Cole, Kid Cudi, Pharrell, and Mr. Hudson. Jay-Z also utilizes a wide range of producers such as Swizz Beatz, Kanye West, Timbaland, and No I.D. The great diversity of this album assists Jay-Z significantly in capturing the essence of the “new classic” sound that he was attempting to grasp.
In a recent interview with Billboard Jay-Z talks about his track “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” as an attempt to stir things up. Jay-Z states that the track was intended to go against the grain and challenge the rapid evolution of hip-hop. Ironically enough the track was not only produced but also encouraged by rapper Kanye West, who not too long ago developed an album completely dependent on the voice enhancing software. As the first single released from The Blueprint 3, “D.O.A” set the tone for the album as one that opposed the nature of contemporary hip-hop.
Not only is The Blueprint 3 appealing to the ears, but it also carries significant potential to progress hip-hop into a genre where established artists can propel their incipient colleagues into successful careers. In “A Star is Born” Jay-Z promulgates his hip-hop colleagues and gives panegyrics to those who he sees as nascent.
The Blueprint 3 is a diverse album that varies in subject matter, music, and style. There are jazzy tracks such as “Thank You”, “ poppy tracks such as “Empire State of Mind”, hip-hoppy tracks such as “One To The Next One”, and tracks that have their own unique style such as “D.O.A.”
The amalgamation of what Jay-Z calls “the forgotten pieces of hip-hop” are what has made The Blueprint 3 such a great success. As he told MTV, he attempts to deviate from the newly developed superficial standards that listeners have for hip-hop. He wants his music to reflect that, “It’s not about radio, it’s not about making gimmicks, it’s still about making music.”
Filed under: Discoveries | Tags: Canada, classified, halifax, hip-hop, Luke Boyd, nova scotia, rap
Though most would consider a majority of modern music to originate from the US and England, I thought that for my first post on Creatively Boundless I would observe the credo and look outside of these regions. Hailing from the East coast of Canada, the one man rap group “Classified” is slowly removing the social stigmas associated with the region.
DJ Classified, born Luke Boyd, is one of many up and coming rappers from Halifax, and is now a rising star in the Canadian industry. Classified is a rarity in America, and even if you’ve had the off chance of hearing him, it was not until his ninth album, Trial and Error (2003) that he began to gain notoriety, meaning that you’re unlikely to have heard his earlier work. A quick listen to “It’s Sickening” off the aforementioned album will have most hooked, and his most recent LP, Hitch Hikin’ Music (2006) is well worth a few iTunes™ downloads.
Classified mentions his only musical influence on iTunes™ as Redman from the mega group “The Wu-Tang Clan,” though even the average listener can observe traces of Eminem in his lyrical presentation, and a 90’s old-school influence in his viral beats (not to be missed.) The product is a well rounded artist, able to write bar anthems such as “The Maritimes,” as well as soulful rhymes, as with “All About U.” His most common themes include parodies of the Canadian stereotype, the destruction of the music industry, life in poverty, and his life-long love, sweet Mary Jane. The mix brings out a few laughs, and its originality is a welcome departure from mainstream rap.
I’m currently at odds with mainstream rap myself, but for even the most lukewarm hip-hop fans, Boyd’s highly original hooks are well worth a play. Be sure to give a listen to all the previously mentioned songs on YouTube™ as well as any others you come across. Recommended also are his tracks Heavy Artillery, 5th Element, Gossip, and Hard to Be Hip-Hop Feel free to post your opinions. Included is his unofficial anthem, “The Maritimes.”