A little rap never hurts

Sarah Steimer

If you look at my Creative Zen Mp3 player (I don’t own Apple products – not by choice), there are maybe a handful of artists who could possibly be considered rap artists: The Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest and the Roots.

Most of those I think are considered to be hip-hop, at least according to my Windows Media Player. And the Beastie Boys album I have is actually one of their non-rapping, “instrumental” albums, “The Mix-up.”

But as of this past weekend, I can now add Jay Z’s post-post-post-retirement album “The Blueprint 3” somewhere in between James Brown and Jim Croce.

Let me apologize now if my review is not what you’d expect. I don’t know half of the collaborators on this album. Much of my music is on vinyl, and I’ve been to an Allman Brothers concert. But I still think this album is . “fly?” And maybe someone who isn’t a regular on the rap scene, such as myself, loving this music says more.

The album starts out stronger than it ends. The Hova, what a sweetheart, even thanks his fans on track two with “Thank You,” telling us “You’re far too kind/ Hold your applause/ This is your song not mine.”

The song has a jazz appeal to it, which is carried through to “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune).”

This is by far my favorite song on the album and even the video isn’t bad as Jay goes from gangsta to gangster, playing cards with a few possible mafia men. “D.O.A.” is apparently dissin’ rappers who use Auto-Tune. I don’t listen to much music that involves feuds. Although in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” they do hate on Neil Young a little. I don’t really like that song, though.

Some of the better songs on the album either feature or were produced by Kanye West. I don’t care what Kanye did to Taylor Swift. If I cared about how musicians act in real life I would never listen to Jack White. Musicians can be jerks like anyone else.

This album can honestly stretch over the masses. Not only can someone like myself listen to it, but I think Clevelanders will really appreciate it. The “D.O.A.” video features Jay playing basketball with “The Chosen One” or “Witness” or whatever egotistical name LeBron James has for himself this week. Kid Cudi is featured on the “Already Home” track. Personally, I don’t like basketball or Cudi, but I’m not from Cleveland so I don’t feel obligated.

The final track on the record I love now but will hate as soon as every college punk starts blasting it from his or her front porch. Jay Z samples “Forever Young” by Alphaville (and doesn’t change the name) and gives drunk students lyrics to garble out, “So let’s stay in the moment/ Smoke some weed, drink some wine/ Reminisce, talk some shit/ Forever young is in your mind.”

Sigh. Oh, Hova, you big cuddle bear.

Sarah Steimer is not a rap album reviewer. Contact her at [email protected]