Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. The long-awaited Blueprint 3 doesn't disappoint. In fact, the album may just be the blueprint for hip-hop music to come.
  2. Blueprint is hip-hop as big business, and Jay retains his CEO throne.
  3. It’s Jay-Z’s world, but on The Blueprint 3 he’s considerate enough to let listeners perambulate about for a most enjoyable visit.
  4. Despite bringing in all these names to make it an event album, The Blueprint 3 delivers because of hefty beats and quality rapsmanship, nothing else.
  5. The Blueprint 3 isn't a one-man tour de force like the first. Jay is upstaged once or twice by his guests, and while the productions are stellar throughout--Timbaland appears three times, and No I.D. gets multiple credits also--it's clear there's less on Jay's mind this time.
  6. While not as groundbreaking as the first Blueprint was, this is nonetheless a strong record, its A-list guests and production tempered nicely by the inclusion of in-the-now collaborators of the order of Young Jeezy and Empire Of The Sun front man Luke Steele.
  7. The Blueprint's vaunted resuscitation of sample-based boom-bap rap production is replaced here by big corny synth wipes, a sometimes-fascinating corollary to Jay’s corporate sense of purpose.
  8. The album is a hip-hop feast, for sure, filled to the brim with elite production and elite rapping, but it lacks the hungriness, the spirit, and the craziness that mark a classic album.
  9. The music doesn’t disappoint.... [But] The flaws are obvious. The three Timbaland songs feel out of place. Lyrically, Jay-Z works only as hard as he has to.
  10. The Blueprint 3 starts well enough. Its first half is good to great....But around the time we get to the Timbaland-produced, Limbaugh-dissing, Drake-featuring 'Off That,' a song about how far ahead of the curve Jay is, the album's quality falls off considerably.
  11. The Blueprint 3 splits the difference between its two predecessors, with Jay-Z sounding hungrier than he has in years on about half the tracks, while sharing time with guest stars or grappling with undercooked production on the rest.
  12. By all indications, he'll continue to make good but not great music, replicating the form of his finest records minus the electric charge.
  13. Jay overreaches, leaning too heavily on by-the-numbers production from Kanye West and Timbaland, and muffling his own voice in favor of a guest-heavy tracklist.
  14. He still sounds temperamentally incapable of making a bad album, but he's made his first boring one.
  15. "American Gangster" was the last time we saw the real Jay-Z--soulful, lyrically adept, his narrative streak reborn with a newfound alter ego--but here he is back to treading water.
  16. Just as The Blueprint 3 seems to have pulled it off, it peters out in a mass of indistinct tracks.
  17. Without its filler, this album could have been at least good, if not great. But, for better or for worse, this is what Jay wanted us to hear right now. It’s just a shame that it’s not entirely worth hearing.
  18. Jay-Z is trying to come across as brand new, but he only succeeds in looking like an old brand in need of a revamp.
  19. Blueprint 3 is the kind of stuck-on-stupid, event-driven money pit that proves while Jay-Z's at a point where he's got no one to answer to but himself, he's still capable of an entire hour of failing to take his own advice.
  20. The real inexcusable thing about The Blueprint 3 is how boring and sterile it all sounds.
  21. On The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z, for arguably the first time in his career, sounds tired and old; too tired and too old to create a new blueprint, but not to create a third copy; too tired and too old to create new styles and ideas, but not to regurgitate them; too tired and too old to tell a new story, but not to tell an old story of a time when swagga belonged to the gods, one in particular.
  22. The pitch-correction software is alive and well even on this record.... This glaring inconsistency is the least of BP3’s missteps.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 150 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 46
  2. Negative: 7 out of 46
  1. Nov 14, 2011
    "Empire State of Mind" was a great song describing new york and Jay Z's life beautifully with rythmic raps and great support from Alicia Keys. Must listen!!! Full Review »
  2. Apr 13, 2014
    I very much enjoyed The Blueprint 3. Jay Z produces an album that even someone who isn't the biggest rap fan will enjoy. A lack of shallow lyrics for the most part and catchy beats and tracks makes this a success. Full Review »
  3. Nov 25, 2013
    Over Jay-Z’s career, there’ve been a lot of fluctuations concerning the quality of his music and after listening to the first singles, I began hoping that the senior would be able to top the rap game once again. However, this is again not the case and while The Blueprint 3 is a slight step-up from the first two albums after his short musical break, it doesn’t nearly come close to Reasonable Doubt, the original The Blueprint, or The Black Album. What Mr. Carter did do on his 11th solo album was make his music more appealing to the mass after the album’s predecessor American Gangster didn’t include one really radio-friendly song. Besides the six singles in total, The Blueprint 3 serves a couple of other catchy tunes as well in my opinion, those were Off That, Already Home, and Real as It Gets. But as I’ve experienced so often over the course of time, just because a hip hop song is catchy, it doesn’t instantly have to be good. This album is a prime example for just that and once you’ve heard the aforementioned songs a handful of times, you’ll lose interest. Granted, there are some exceptions, namely D.O.A. (one of the best beats in hip history, seriously!), A Star Is Born (J. Cole takes Eminem’s part in the unofficial sequel to Renegade), Run the World (Jay and Kanye did good on their verses and Rihanna impressed me on the hook), Young Forever (well, mostly because of the Alphaville song that’s sampled), and Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z is so great on this one, I can even endure Alicia Keys on it). I’ve just listed a third of the songs on The Blueprint 3 and that isn’t nearly enough for an album to be good. Thus, I’m giving Jay-Z a negative rating once again, which absolutely wouldn’t have been necessary, if you just listen to the five really good tracks I’ve pointed out. For the rest though, it’s (while quoting another mediocre song on the album) On to the Next One. Full Review »