I’ve got this theory that I’m working on. In fact, it’s the basis of my doctorate thesis. I’m pretty sure that it’s sound and it will one day be considered fact, as my Jay-Z Album Cover Theory will be taught in music appreciation classes around the globe.
And by applying the principles of this theory I’ll be able to tell you if The Blueprint 3 is any good just by looking at the album cover.
Sure, it’s a bold statement, but I can back it up…
But first, let’s look at the strikes against The Blueprint 3. The first strike is that it’s called The Blueprint 3. Third chapters are rarely good. The Godfather Part III was severely disappointing. Superman III made children cry. And I could never muster the strength to withstand the borefest that was the third of the Lord of the Rings flicks.
Also, The Blueprint 2 sucked. I mean, it didn’t really suck that much; it was just too long (like most double albums) and it also lacked the heart and soul of the first Blueprint. In fact The Blueprint 2 sullied the entire Blueprint brand, which up to that point had a sterling reputation, despite what Aaron Cameron thinks.
Finally, The Blueprint 3 will be one of Jay-Z’s post-hiatus albums. Kingdom Come had some gems, but sort of disappointed. When Jay takes time off, he can be sort of sluggish by the time he gets back on the mic.
But here’s my Jay-Z Album Cover Theory: if you can’t see Jay-Z’s eyes on the cover, the album will live up to the hype, however if you can see his eyes, the album will be flawed.
It’s a very sound theory; let’s look at it in practice. American Gangster and The Black Album are two of Jay-Z’s best recent albums. Two of his classics are Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. On only one of those album covers (American Gangster) can you see Jay-Z’s eyes, and they’re very obscured due to the dark silhouette image.
In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, The Blueprint 2 and Kingdom Come are all flawed albums and each and every cover features Shawn Carter making eye contact.
Of course, I’m leaving out The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, which doesn’t feature Jay-Z’s eyes on the cover. This singular album is a sort of gray area. It’s not a “classic” but its only real flaws stem from the fact that it was supposed to a Roc-a-Fella label compilation but ended up being released as a Jay-Z solo offering. It’s certainly of Jay’s best non-classic albums and lived up to the hype, which is why it just barely adheres to the theory.
Thus, you have my Jay-Z album cover theory: if you can’t see Jay-Z’s eyes on the cover the album will live up to the hype; however, if you can see his eyes the album will be flawed.
Try it out for yourself, and you’ll see I’m right. But most importantly, use it as your basis for deciding on whether The Blueprint 3 is worth investing in.