People like this album. A lot. I for one, don't understand the fanfare. Word on the street is, "He's done it. Finally giving the fans what they want. He's actually gonna tell the story of him this time, and not all that 'blinging' mess."
Those weary of Shawn Carter's vivid descriptions of money, cars, and sexual exploits (in that order), seem to be eternally satiated with this, his 6th album. But I refuse to see this album as anything special, especially for Jay-Z.
They would have us believe that Jay-Z, like Picasso, has entered what can only be termed his Blue Period. We're to believe that he's undergone a period of tremendous growth, of fundamental change. Something, perhaps some tragedy, or financial setback (read: yeah right) has motivated him, they say, to create this stunning body of work, which is cohesive in quality, mood and motif.
They're amazed at the heartfelt honesty displayed on the soul-tinged tracks "Song Cry" and "Blueprint". I, with puzzled face, shall point out 1997's "Lucky Me" or 1996's "Regrets" They'll direct my attention to the aptly named "Lyrical Exercise" or "Girls, Girls, Girls". Exhibitions of his supreme lyrical facility. But what about "22 Two's" or "Friend or Foe"? Did I miss something? Or did they?
The Blue Periods of these visionaries don't represent them at their most abstract or "artistic" (Cubism/ Vol. 3), nor their most technically perfect (Neoclassical work/ Reasonable Doubt). But these works have and will come to signify the artists' soulful and bluesy zeniths. I can't figure why. You'd think that none of Picasso's other work dealt with a sobering realism.
On "Renegades", Jigga ponders, "Motherf****** say that I'm foolish/ I only talk about jewels/ do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?". Unfortunately, sometimes you have bathe your work in a monochrome blue, or name your album "The Blueprint" for people to get the point; for them to stand and take notice. They can say what they will about his supposed lack of versatility or depth. It just seems so obvious to me that Jay-Z has never been the type to paint with just one color.