Jay-Z, "Blueprint 3"
Out of Jay-Z's 11 releases, his latest album, "Blueprint 3," has taken him the longest to record and deliver. But as expected, the new set is worth the wait. On the synthesizer-heavy track "What We Talking About" (featuring Luke Steele), Jay-Z calls out the Game and former friends Dame Dash and Jaz-O, while instructing news media personalities Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh to "fall back" and "get off my balls," respectively, on the fast-paced cut "Off That" (featuring Drake). With the help of R&B star Alicia Keys, Jay-Z gives a nod to his hometown over a simple piano pattern on "Empire State of Mind." On the J. Cole-assisted, handclap-laden song "A Star Is Born," Jay-Z boasts about his success while giving shout-outs to others who've reached the top of their game. With witty rhymes, pertinent collaborations and stellar production from the likes of Timbaland and No I.D., among others, the long-awaited "Blueprint 3" doesn't disappoint. In fact, the album may just be the blueprint for hip-hop music to come. -Mariel Concepcion