Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3 [The Null Corporation, 2009]
For a record consisting almost entirely of boasts about being the best, the ex-prexy's official comeback--and also, let it be noted, his inaugural project with or is it for his new corporate partner--is fairly superb. He brings it off because he is the best, because he's documented more achievements than most bigmouths, and because he holds chits for miles. Not only are chief beatmakers Timbaland and Kanye West co-equals, he's gotten A work out of them--cf. Timbo's sample-free spirals on the atypically unbraggadocious "Venus Vs. Mars" and the atypically staccato clap-for-'em West designs for "A Star Is Born." Both are buried mid-disc, just where you'd think Jay would be sneaking in the weak s---. None of that here--though you have a right to think he's coming on too strong. A-