Archive for Blueprint 3

Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2009 by letterlbeats

Ladies & Gentlemen of Hip Hop,

With the end of the year quickly approaching and this being  the last 1st Friday of 2009, it’s time for Top 5 Fridays Hip Hop Albums of the year:

5. David Banner Death of a Pop Star

Actually, this album hasn’t even been released yet but thanks to 9th Wonder’s YouTube series called De Blog Jam (Filmed and edited by 9th’s keyboardist E. Jones) I witnessed them create almost the entire album. Even better is the fact that the album is free. Its quality far surpasses many records that you had to pay for this year. By the way, did I mention that 9th Wonder produced it? It features many of 9th’s homegrown N.C. talent plus a smoother more mature flow from Banner. Google it.

4. Slaughterhouse Slaughterhouse

I was having a random Twitter conversation one day and this dude was telling me that he prefers a brand of emcee who spends more time actually rapping than he does talking about how good he is. Slaughterhouse is definitely not that brand of emcee but these guys back up everything they say. They are lyrical beasts that grew tired of the usual bureaucracy of major labels and took their careers in their own hands. Comprised of Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5’9″ & Crooked I, they crafted the blueprint for today’s independent artists. During the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards Show cipher Joe Budden said, “I never needed my A&R my A&R needed me.” I guess he doesn’t need an A&R.

3. Wale Back to the Feature

This wasn’t even an album, it was a mixtape! (See Drake below) Another free venture produced by 9th Wonder and mixed by Nick Catchdubs, its stacked with guest features including Jean Grae & Freeway. This was really something special because it’s not everyday you find quality hip hop like this.

2. Jay-Z Blueprint III

What can I say about this (See archives for song by song review of Blueprint III) except that my grandmother was singing Run This Town. Another classic Jay-Z album with the hottest everything in the game; guest features, beats, verses…everything.

1. Drake So Far Gone

If I need to explain this to you, then just navigate away from the page because you don’t know hip hop.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , on October 7, 2009 by letterlbeats

This is the sixth entry in a series that will review each track on Jay-Z’s new Blueprint 3 album.

Jay-Z Performing

The next song called On To The Next One features and was produced by Swizz Beats. Honestly, on the first few listens, I thought the song was just weird. There is some weird chorus of people singing an inaudible lyric that sounds something like, “on to the next.”

Swizz Beatz

It’s definitely very different but what I do recognize is that there is a relationship between the oddly unique beat and the message of the song. To summarize what Jay was saying; as a trendsetter he might do one particular thing on one particular day that people emulate for years after, yet he moves on to setting the next trend as quickly as he adopted the last. In essence the beat itself is so different from what else is out there in hip hop that he is already setting the next trend. Not a bad song overall but I didn’t care for it very much.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2009 by letterlbeats

This is the fifth entry in a series that will review every track on Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 album.

“And if you listen hard enough I say some things”

As I begin this fifth entry about Jay-Z’s collaboration effort with Young Jeezy entitled Real As It Gets, I can’t help but feel like the album is losing steam. I could definitely be wrong because I don’t listen to the radio that often and I don’t watch 106 & Park because it comes on during the 5pm broadcast of Sportscenter. According to, he has surpassed the 900,000 albums sold mark which is a monumental accomplishment in today’s music market, let alone hip hop. He has gone nearly platinum in less than four weeks.

Roca-Wear Retreat

The song Real As It Gets is another good solid effort. This was a particular point in the album where I felt like they were going for the status quo as opposed reaching for something unique. The beat reminds me of Maybach Music. It’s that “New South” sound that aims for a grand, epic sounding record in the same vein as producers like DJ Toomp and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. The record was done by The Inkredibles, are a production duo from Richmond, Virginia, who have had a taste of almost every new artist from the South in the last 2 years plus credits for Fat Joe, Mary J. Blige, Lloyd, Akon, Trey Songz and everyone else in between.

Producer's Edge

Lyrically the song finds Jeezy saying more with less when usually he’s saying less with less. I like the line that says, “You know I keep that 47, Uday Hussein,” which is a reference to Uday Hussein, son of Saddam, who had a youtube video of himself shooting off an AK-47 assault rifle.

Lyrically the song finds Jay-Z letting Jeezy shine (he’s been known for doing this since Renegade on Blueprint 1 with Eminem) but still tossing out effortless gems like, “Set sail, I used to duck shots but now I eat quail.” Go ahead and marinate on that one for a minute.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2009 by letterlbeats

This is the fourth entry in a series that will review each track on Jay-Z’s new Blueprint 3 album.

“I can make Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can”‘

Blueprint 3

Next up on the record is Empire State of Mind featuring Alicia Keys. I feel bad reviewing the tracks so soon after the release of the album because as I am hearing the songs in different settings and as I hear them more and more, some of them are starting to grow on me. I didn’t watch the original airing of the MTV Music Video Awards when they ended the show with Jay-Z and Alicia Keys doing this song (and that strange incident with Lil Mama). I finally saw it earlier this week and that made me listen to the song with a new set of ears. Lyrically he really captured the essence of NYC. The unique thing about it is that he captured it from all angles and as multicultured as the city is, all New Yorkers should be able to relate to this song in some way.

Sonically the record is very big. It has a big band sound and Alicia Keys has that classic Broadway style voice that puts it over the top. I just found out that there is a sample in it from The Moments’ Love On a Two Way Street. It wasn’t listed in the credits of the album or at least I didn’t see it when I read them. This is definitely top 3 on the album and Jay did his thing as usual.

Lil Mama

I don’t Think Lil Mama was supposed to be up there…wtf?

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by letterlbeats

This is the second in a series that will review each song from Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3.

The second song on the album called Thank You. Ever since American Gangster–maybe even Kingdom Come–Jay has had a more refined style in the tradition of a black Rat Pack; tuxedos, expensive rare drinks and even more rare locales (on wax and in real life).
This second song on the LP finds him in that same mode with lines like, “Now I’m balcony, opera, black Tux, binocula, black luxe, stop it I shouldn’t be so popular.”

Jay-Z Tuxedo

The beat is, in my opinion, the best on the entire album which bumps Pharrell’s Ambitious and Timbaland’s Venus Vs. Mars. This is another Kanye/No ID venture and they murdered it. It sounds like they took a clip of Joe Pesci saying, “You’re a wiseguy,” from Goodfellas and low ended it (flitered out the high frequencies) and looped it in the hook which comes out craaaazy! The horns are loud and bright and sonically crisp. The drums bang. They bang. I don’t know how they are doing these things but I’d love to have access to their engineers.

Overall probably one of the best joints on the record. I listened to it for like two days straight.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by letterlbeats

So I decided that I will review Jay-Z’s new Blueprint 3 album as a song by song series. After listening to it start to finish a few times, I felt that it definitely deserved some careful attention. Lyrically, a quality outing from Jay-Z is a given, however the production is incredible. The sound is unlike anything else that’s out right now; sonically, instrumentally and stylistically.

Jay-Z Kanye No ID

Kanye and No ID collectively share the bulk of production credit. I didn’t read the production credits until I had listened to the album all the way through at least once. Most of the songs I liked were done by them. Despite Kanye’s PR mishaps, I am still a fan of his production.

The first song on the album is not a corny intro…thank God. The song is Called What We Talkin’ Bout feat. Luke Steele. It’s a concept record and Jay is his usual clever but introspective self. The song consists of a litany of questions that begin with , “What we talkin’ bout?”

A small part of the reason/The President is black

I told him I got him/If he hit me on the jack

I’m talkin’ bout progress/I ain’t lookin’ back

You know I run track/Try not to get lapped.

The beat contains no samples. It uses a really bright but hard driving synthesizer and hard drums which seem to be a signature of the album. That along with unexpected melody combos and progressions are what shape the sound that is so rare and unmatched in the majority of hip hop records produced this year.

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P.S. Happy Independence Day Jason!


Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , on September 14, 2009 by letterlbeats

“Respect the game homie/

That should be it/

What you eat don’t make me sh*t”


XXL 09 Oct

Sometimes the aesthetics of hip hop culture are just as important as its products. Big ups to XXL Magazine this month for really delving deep into some issues that are essential to the culture. Check out this video from XXL Magazine:

When I have more time I am going to dig deeper into their issue with Jay-Z on the cover as well as provide an in depth review of The Blueprint III. Stay tuned…

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