The hype surrounding Jay-Z’s album “Blueprint 3″ was always going to be monumental from the day the news was announced, to the evening when fans are queuing to purchase their copy from the nearest music store. Widely regarded as one of the Hip-Hop legends to ever grace a microphone, I would have thought the Hip-Hop community would have shown a little more respect to H.O.V.A.
DJ Kay Slay recently slammed The Game for his words in the “I’m So Wavy” single. “Slap Your Favorite DJ” felt his desire to vouch for Jay-Z because of his contribution, and accomplishments to the world of Hip-Hop. The same thoughts have been circulating the Internet, with fans, critiques and industry insiders questioning Blueprint 3 leaking very early. The 21st Century has seen a massive decline in album and single sales, with music being readily available after a simple Google search, bringing numerous blogs and links providing free downloads.
The questions have been raised before. How can we stop album leaks? Should we stop album leaks? A number of my personal favourite blogs provide free content to readers, which has become a strategy for labels in the release to a mixtape or album. Not only does it prove successful for the blogs, but also the artists who manage to appear generous, by allowing fans to listen to music without paying. The situation is catch-22, but when it comes to a Hip-Hop great, should we respect the traditional release methods? And those who have access to the music early have a greater responsibility in not sharing the music?
The average Internet user / Hip-Hop music fan will have now heard Blueprint 3, and have formed an opinion one way or another on what they’ve heard. With only two days to the release date, this will most likely have a significant impact on sales figures in the first week (which seems to set the image for the album itself). The consequences are considerable, but is the Hip-Hop online community prepared to change our ways?
Referring back to the title, buying a physical copy of an album, and listening for the first time is part of the experience which constitutes a “classic album”. Blueprint 3 will be the last instalment of the Blueprint series, and obviously intended to complete the series by being a classic. Has the leak affected the “wow factor” that fans will miss out on release date? Or will the album be forgotten in a matter of months when another “anticipated classic” gets leaked too.