Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna & Kanye West, "Run This Town"

68 Billboard Rating

Jay-Z demands respect for his Roc Nation conglomerate on the militant first single from his anticipated "Blueprint 3." Adding "Caesar" to his arsenal of nicknames, the rapper boasts about his upper-crust hip-hop wealth over a sharp, malevolent beat produced by Kanye West and No I.D.: "And they ain't spending no cake/They should throw they hand in 'cuz they ain't got no spades/My whole team got dough, so my banquet is looking like millionaire's row," he scoffs. Though Jay's unerstated delivery is fitting, at times it threatens to belabor the point. "Babe bro" West picks up the energy with his closing verse but falters midstream with a wayward reference to mood rings. Perhaps the song's saving grace: a slowly re-emerging Rihanna, who floods the hook with a resolute, chilling wail: "I'm addicted to the thrill/It's a dangerous love affair." --Monica Herrera

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