Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 3” is only a few short weeks away from release. Will it be an artistry-affirming masterpiece like the first “Blueprint” was? Or will it be an overambitious, ego-driven mess like “Blueprint 2”? Two singles in, I’m not so sure of the answer.

Joined by proteges Kanye West and Rihanna (whose presence almost automatically predicts chart success), “Run This Town” is one of Jay’s most commercial efforts to date. The song itself? It’s okay. Rihanna’s chorus (though catchy) is way too long, and Hov continues to rate lower and lower on the lyrical achievement scale with each passing album. I actually like Kanye’s verse better than either of Jay’s. The post-apocalyptic video is an obviously big-budget production designed to win a ton of MTV Video Music Awards, but it’s hard to tell what’s really going on in the clip. It looks good, but what kind of statement is Jay trying to make?

I’m pretty undecided on both the song and video, and even though I’ll be one of the first folks at the record store to cop “Blueprint 3”, I’ll admit that neither of the songs or videos released thus far give me confidence that Jay is anything other than content to rest on his laurels. Thanks to pitchfork.com.