The weirdest thing has happened this past week in regards to Jay-Z's highly anticipated new album on his new Roc Nation label venture "The Blueprint 3"...a song leaked, then another one, and another one. You might be thinking to yourself "Big deal, songs always leak close to the release date of an album", just one problem..anticipation and expectations for the upcoming project dropped significantly with each leaked song with those who heard them. The original tracks that had people anticipating the project were all well received, including "Swagger Like Us", "Brooklyn Go Hard", "Jockin' Jay-Z" and "History". Then came the lead track & street single "Death Of AutoTune"....
The song "DOA" was mostly well received but by some circles it was not only seen as hypocritical but late considering several artists had previously denounced AutoTune in song way before him. KRS One & Buckshot already had a single out called "Robot" denouncing AutoTune and popular Hip Hop blog "Rappers I Know" had already made a "Death Of AutoTune" project. Other than that, the song banged. Forget that many of Jay-Z's producers and collaborators on the project used AutoTune regularly (ironically enough, including lead producer Kanye West who used it extensively on his "808's and Heartbreak" album. No matter.
The next song from "The Blueprint 3" was the official single "Run This Town" featuring Kanye West & Rihanna. It was moderately well received by the listening public but it was given a pass because it was a single purposely created to get widespread radio play. The early consensus was the Jay-Z got outshined by Kanye West on the track even while some Jay-Z stans refuted those claims pointing out that his bars were so layered with double meanings that it just sounded lazy and flew over people's heads. Even after repeated listens it's evident that Kanye West got him on it. That's neither here nor there, though..."Run This Town" is a single. Jay will get back do straight murdering shit on the album tracks, right? When the album cover and an early tracklisting with partial features and producers credits hit the 'net more than a few eyebrows were raised.
Multiple appearances by Mr. Hudson, an appearance by Luke Steel from Empire Of The Sun a co-production credit by MGMT and the complete omission of any tracks from luminaries like DJ Premier or Just Blaze were red flags considering that the only producer other than Kanye West or No I.D. on the album was Timbaland. Another issue was that Raekwon's upcoming "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2" had just officially released a new single in the J. Dilla produced "House Of Flying Daggers" after "New Wu" had opened up people's eyes earlier that Spring.
It was also revealed that RZA, Pete Rock, J. Dilla, Dr. Dre and Marley Marl would all contribute tracks to the project. Then came the news that in addition to Wu members GZA, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Method Man and Masta Killa guest appearances from Jadakiss, Styles P, Beanie Sigel & Slick Rick would also be included. The heat was officially on Jay's "BP3" project now since anticipation and buzz for "OB4CL2" was going through the roof. It wouldn't be long before more tracks began to leak and the album snippets appeared online. What happened next was odd to say the least. It seemed as if the two upcoming albums both due in the second week of September had some kind of "leak off" going on.
The track "Off That" featuring Drake on the hook and produced by Timbaland was met with a lukewarm reaction by the online community. At the same time Raekwon's J. Dilla produced "10 Bricks" hit the bloggerverse, needless to say people went bananas over it and anticipation for "The Blueprint" began getting met with increased skepticism from not only bloggers, Hip Hop journalists and commentors but the average fan. Not too long afterwards, another Timbaland produced "The Blueprint" offering titled "Reminder" also leaked and listeners liked this song even less than "Off That".
Rumblings began that perhaps they should push back "The Blueprint 3" and retool it due to the unfavorable reactions from listeners. Once the Dr. Dre produced track "Catalina" hit the web followed by the "OB4CL2" album snippets the number of people that were becoming worried about the quality of "The Blueprint 3" increased substantially. It doesn't matter, though...September 11th "The Blueprint 3" is coming and there's nothing we can do about it. Will it be a step down from the Jigga that we've all grown up on and regard as one of the greatest emcees ever? Apparently, yes. No worries, there will be plenty of other albums coming out around the same time.
Around the same time that "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2" and "The Blueprint 3" drop so will Mayer Hawthorne's "A Strange Arrangement", M.O.P's "Foundation", KRS One & Buckshot's "Survival Skills", D. Black's "Ali'yah" and Kid Cudi's new album (provided you're into that kinda thing). There will be plenty of other choices abound so even if Jay-Z's album turns out to be disappointing it's not like it's going to be the end of the world or anything. Let's all try and hold off on the Jay-Z bashing until we at least hear the complete project, OK people? THEN feel free to panic, bitch, moan, whine and complain all over the internet. I know I will!