Saturday, November 10, 2007
Jay-Z American Gangster
Jay-Z has made the best hip hop album of his career. As a huge fan of his latest works, The Black Album and Kingdom Come, I was quite surprised that he was going to be dropping another album so soon.
Jay-Z has been growing up before our very eyes, from a Roc Boy to the CEO of Def Jam, SCCEO has been doing his damn thang for a long time. Reasonable Doubt was my first introduction to Hova. Actually, I wasn't even a big fan of his, I mean I liked him but I didn't buy cd's or anything. But, when I heard Can't Knock the hustle...
My older sister was a bigger fan than I was.
She was the one who schooled me on the ways of Jay Z, actually my sister is the one who got me into hip hop in the first place. I remember when she had two pairs of the Jordan 13's the all black with red and the blue joints, definately the freshest kid out of the 3 of us. So, as Hov kept dropping hit after hit, he grew on me. And now I am hoping that I can see him in a live show because the amount of quality material he has put out over the years is upper echelon in the hip hop game. Show respect to Jay-Z, The American Gangster.
So to the album!
1. Intro: The definition of Gangster and Gangsterism. If you don't know now you know. Learn something youngin'.
2. Pray: This song features Beyonce. Hov and B are a great team when it comes to tracks. They obviously have some chemistry. The set up. The introduction. The beat is cinematic and definately sounds like it belongs in a movie. This would make for a great video. The lyrical storytelling is flexin' the mental muscle on this track.
3. Amercican Dreamin': This song has live instruments on it, big up to Diddy and the Hitmen and Mario W. I want to see this song performed live. This is on some unplugged shit. Lights low on this one. All of us have dreamed before and that is what this track sounds like. Deep.
4. Hello Brooklyn 2.0: Lil' Wayne is on this one and now this shit is about to jump off! Bump this at your next house party. The Beastie Boys sample is classic. Weezey is on everything these days! His verse is innovative, I don't know if he is rhyming or singing or just Weezin'. But that cat is bad and Jay brings Brooklyn to the spotlight. If I was from BK this would be my theme song. I think this is one of those songs that will never go away. The way the track bumps reminds me of '89. Knock this one loud.
5. No Hook: Denzel's voice is at the begining of this track. Hov came thru on this one without a hook. Not about being catchy on this one. Just rhymin'. Got a nice Barry White sample on this one too. A track for cats who ain't about dancing to the hop they bump. That lyrical niceness that is good for a night ride on the iron horse. "Please don't categorize this as music"
6. Roc Boys (And The Winner Is...): "WE IN DA HOUSE!" says Kanye. You know he had to have a K.West beat on the album. The video for this track is great. Mariah, NAS, Diddy, UGK, Beans, and others make an appearence in the video. The youth who plays the young Jay in the video is the spitting image of him. I think it is his nephew but I could be wrong. I got this track leaked of the internet and when I heard the horns, I was so excited. I always loved his rhymes but I usually questioned the majority of his production. Imagine him on some RZA shit or some Pete Rock shit? But, when I got this and bumped it for my brother. We both knew that Hovito was bringin' it.
7. Sweet: This is one of the ultimate hip hop songs. You can not stop this track! The production is by Diddy's camp. They have been getting their act together, and you knew that they'd be together again. Puffy, Playboy Jay-Z, and B.I.G. were running things back in the day and now after a breif separation they are back together on this one. "Best thing about it is my niggas eating together"
8. I Know: A Skateboard P beat. You know that P. Williams is about the ladies, and this track is no different. Play this for your girl, because you got to know what SHE likes. Ya dig? This is on some in the apartment slow dance shit. I likey.
9. Party Life: Serioulsy, I can't convey in words how big Diddy and them are on this ablum. These cats are digging out the soulful beats. A sample from Get Into the Party Life by little beaver. Live instrumentation and super retro sound on this. One of the best Jay-Z songs ever created. This track outclasses much of the new music that is produced these days. Live drums, vocals, trumpet, and bass.
10. Ignorant Shit: Looks like Just Blaze grew up too. Got an Isley Brothers sample that was made famous by B.I.G.'s "I love it when you call me big poppa, throw ya hands in the air, if you a true player. The masses love that ignorant shit. "Nigga fuck, shit, ass, bitch trick plus weed". You have to hear this. Only Hova can make a string of curse words sound sick. "It's only entertainment!"
"Are you saying what I'm spittin' is worse than 'celebutantes' showing they kitten, you kidding, let's stop the bullshitting, till we all without sin let's quit the pulpting"
11. Say Hello: Okay, so just when you thought he might drop a mediocre track next, Say Hello comes on. The strings are extra prolific. Shit sounds like something Ghostface would rhyme over. Seriously. GFK should get up on this remix! The cadence is something that will be copied. "And if Al Sharpton is speakin' for me, somebody get him the word, and tell him i don't approve, tell him i remove the curses if he can tell me our school gon' be perfect when jena six don't exist tell him that's when I'll stop sayin bitch, BIYAAATCH!" Hova's commentary on the state of the Black American population.
12. Success: Never in your life did you think that NAS and Jay-Z would combine to make a team that rivals Ghost and Rae. If these two did an album together they'd be iller than RUN DMC, that is my word! NO-ID is on this beat and this shit bumps so hard. Some true head nod shit. "Google earth NAS I got flats in other continents" The organ sample comes from Funky Thing Pt.1 by Larry Ellis. You have no idea how big this is, I know I keep saying that but you best be getting this album. Like cop that wax, or that cd. Hip Hop history in the making right here. Big things could come from this track. "Let that bitch breathe!"
13. Fallin': Jermaine Dupri? Bilal? When you are the CEO of DEF JAM you got connects. This is not Money Ain't a Thang, trust me. When Truth And Rights busts out a track for track analysis you know it is on some seriousness. I really think that a lot of the producers on here are catching up to what RZA was doing on Wu-Tang Forever. They are understanding the vision he had on that album in the production department. The breakdowns and usage of classical instruments over a serious boom-bap. And not to mention Jay storytellin' about a fall from grace. I'd imagine that this has something to do with Frank Lucas' story. Ha!
14. Blue Magic: 1987!!!!! Skateboard P doin' big. This is probably the video that you be seein' all the time. I was in NYC when they shut down times square for them to shoot this video. Mad cops out there. Minimalist on the beat, this is just a knocker, a speaker buster. And if you are listening in your iPod, bust out the good headphones, not those white ones. Top down, roof back, and stunnas on. "Blame Reagan for making me into a monster blame Oliver North when and I ran contra I ran contraband to they sponsors"
15. American Gangster: JUST BLZAAAAAZE! Whoa. Talk about finishing strong. Blue Magic is minimalist, this is the maximum amount of sounds you can put together in a track before it just becomes noise. The drums are CRRAAAAAAAAAAAAZE! I can listen to this song each and everyday for the rest of my life. That's my word. This makes me dance on the realness, a little Diddy Bop, maybe a shoulder shake. This is a track I want to play for X8 and watch his face change when he hears this track. He'll close his eyes and go DAAAAAAMN, Spanish grease might break his neck head boppin to this one. Beats will play this so loud he'll break the glass in his sunroof! And I "bid you Freddy Adu"
4.99999 out of 5 Conquering Lions. Go buy this, and I got to get my hands on the instrumentals. THE ROC IS IN THE BUILDING!!!