In recent years rappers have been discovering what Hollywood has known for years: Sequels sell. Trouble is, most of them are a mere shadow of the original.
So it goes with Jay-Z's much-hyped The Blueprint 3. Musicians usually have better luck with their recycled titles, which makes sense - unlike a movie, an album's sequel need not be bound by any ties beyond their star. But Jay-Z's third installment of the Blueprint series bears all the marks of a blockbuster extended past its expiration date.
The tracks have big, juicy hooks, but most of them feel either overdone or not quite finished. The writing is lazy and overly egocentric, even for a rap album. ("Now I eat quail/ I'll probably never see jail" is clever and maddening at once; "Now I'm a manimal/ Half man, half mammal" is pre-kindergarten nonsense.) Guest stars appear for phoned-in cameos. The entire enterprise seems like one big money grab.
With Jay-Z set to play the Schottenstein Center on Wednesday, let's look back on the not-so-distinguished history of third sequels.
Jay-Z, Vol. 3 ... Life and Times of S. Carter
The Blueprint 3 wasn't Jigga man's first trilogy-closing album. A decade ago, Vol. 3 yielded the classic "Big Pimpin'" and captured the rapper with some fire still left in his belly. Three cheers!
Strangle me with Peter Parker's emo bangs! There was no way Sam Raimi's third Spider-Man movie could've topped the second, but did No. 3 have to be so miserably mediocre? Three's a crowd.
1993 NBA Finals: Bulls vs. Suns
The Chicago Bulls trademarked the term "Threepeat" after defeating Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns. Then Michael Jordan put a zany punctuation on the series by retiring to pursue a baseball career. Three cheers!
1998 NBA Finals: Bulls vs. Jazz
Jordan's shot to seal the deal is iconic enough to make this the superior of Chicago's two "Threepeats," but the Bulls' total domination was getting kind of ridiculous at this point. Three's a crowd!
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
After months of delays turned into years and Weezy sprayed his mad genius across countless mixtapes, this mega-hit couldn't possibly live up to the hype. But it came close. Three cheers!
Return of the Jedi
This sentimental chapter was undoubtedly the weakest of the original Star Wars trilogy. (Ewoks?) But the galactic saga had to come to an end somehow. Necessary three-vil.
Led Zeppelin III
Zep went soft on their third album, but it holds its own against the first two blues-rock bangers. Three cheers!
Coheed and Cambria, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Even one album by these big-haired, tight-jeaned prog-rockers was one too many. Three's a crowd!
Super Bowl XXVII
The Troy Aikman-Emmitt Smith-Michael Irvin version of the Dallas Cowboys won their first of three Super Bowl titles in 1993 with this blowout. So how is it a sequel? With their third straight losing effort, the Buffalo Bills made life in western New York even bleaker. Three's a crowd.
Back to the Future III
Marty and Doc's trip back to the Old West was really stupid, but who didn't love it as a child? Three cheers!
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28
Where: Schottenstein Center, Campus