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Jay-Z - Kingdom Come
|Jay-Z came back to the rap life with haters immediately dismissing his efforts before he even wrote them. Critics of his catalogue and luminary position in the hip-hop universe called him out on his brief “retirement” and rival artists continued churning out attacks harping on the thievery of lyrics and other such frowned upon habits of Hova’s. Many likened his reemergence to that of Jordan with the Wizards. Correlations ranged from the short nature of their departures to the ownerships of their respective institutions. Hovi’s fans, however, made another connection between the two; they were both often referred to as the greatest their professions have ever seen.|
The album starts out with a surprising introductory piece. “The Prelude” not only crawls along at a shockingly relaxed pace, but Shawn Carter also seems to struggle to wrap his trademark warm, malleable flow around the beat the way he used to. Rather than nimbly pouncing about the canvas like the Hova of old, he returns to the ring a step slower and a few years less sharp. But apparently Jay only needs one track to warm up from a multiple year hiatus, for the emcee regains his aggressive bounce on the following “Oh My God,” a song whose horns boldly announce his arrival with their emphatic bursts. Said horns give way to more synthetic samples on the ensuing track, also produced by Just Blaze. Smith for the second consecutive track keeps the elderly Carter scrambling to keep up with intermittently frantic verses and soothing choruses. Hovi, an artist who made a name for himself largely with his speedy spits, manages quite masterfully. Unfortunately he sometimes fails to execute. The first single, “Show Me What You Got,” also proves the album’s initial overwhelming flop. Although Blaze yields an infectious drum line to support Jay’s lines, the rapper’s lyrics mesh poorly with the track. Here equally respectable beats and rhymes somehow present an infinitely less impressive overall product. Hova hits his stride again and pulses easily through tracks until struggling through a rough spot with “Anything.” Here Usher infiltrates the track somewhat obnoxiously, and Jay-Z tries endlessly to salvage the tune. His more accelerated fragments far outshine his more chill fractions, and thus the track offers rapidly swaying enjoyability. His collaboration with Beyoncé also dives. Dre’s funky background work swings Shawn back on the right course. He even delivers a few singsong styled lines to a great deal of success. Although still a chill, relaxed track, “Trouble” enthuses listeners at all turns.
So much of Hova’s legacy sprouted from his lyrical impression. He thrived on a borderline freestyle delivery, helped bring drug-dealing lingo to the game, and claimed to write The Blueprint in only two days due to his prolific imagination and efficient memory. His writing turns its back from the drug orientation almost entirely here as Jay emerges a more corporate individual. He still has his struggles, but long gone are the days when Hova needed to push just to get by. Carter returns to form lyrically, but now brings a much different spin. “What you call money, I pay more in taxes,” he brags early on, and later he rhymes about rapping at over thirty. His lyrics may play out marginally less exciting, but they are still every bit as interesting and impressive as they’ve been since day one.
People everywhere cried “sellout” at Jay-Z for simply returning to the game he once mastered. Critics lined up and sharpened their pencils, licking their lips at the opportunity to tear apart his upcoming efforts. Hova gave many people a reason to discredit his latest body of work by ignoring the hottest trend in music by avoiding club bangers altogether. But such a point seems irrelevant, for he yet again put out a great album with some of the hottest beats accompanying his legendary voice. Haters step back: Kingdom Come delivers. How could we ever doubt him?
06:57 AM on 12/08/06
i like the new nas so much more
07:19 AM on 12/08/06
then apparently you have no taste in music
07:30 AM on 12/08/06
better than your boyfriend
this review picks the album apart...talks about every single shortcoming it has...and then ends by saying it's good.
i don't get it.
08:06 AM on 12/08/06
Seriously, this album was a huge letdown to me. that's just me though. Best album was Blueprint, can't top it. He went downhill with Black Album and even more so with Kingdom Come
08:23 AM on 12/08/06
Don't know about how I feel about the review, but Kingdom Come is def. one of my album's of the year. I completely disagree about saying it went way down hill, this album is beyond incredible. Nas is incredible as well, seeing that I am playing it right now. It is def. a must buy. I dont think you can compare Jay-Z and Nas though, because they both their different feels. It's good to here HOVA on the Nas album though.
09:18 AM on 12/08/06
I know that no matter how big a let down this album is, its still gotta be pretty good, but I just can't get myself to actually buy it. I've heard three songs on the Hype Machine, and each one has been passable, but kind of boring. Maybe I just like my rappers sounding hungrier- I sort of wonder if that's the missing ingredient here. I still think Clipse's album is the most interesting hip-hop album of the year.
09:33 AM on 12/08/06
Loves shittyass pop music
He's not going to top the Blueprint, sadly.
10:53 AM on 12/08/06
nowhere near as good as the blueprint or the black album, but new jay z is better than no jay z (or worse yet, reduced to nothing but bit parts on beyonce albums and linkin park mashups blah!)
oh, and Nas does not suck, although I do prefer the more lighthearted Jigga.
10:55 AM on 12/08/06
oh and 'minority report' and 'trouble' are as good as anything he's ever done. and '30 something' is fun as hell. 'oh my god' and 'kingdom come' are solid. the rest is average to mediocre, especially by Jay's usual standards, and its not just him, a lot of the blame has to do with the beats. some of them are atroctious, and many of the hooks just kinda suck, compared to the stellar hooks on the black album, like 'dirt off your shoulder'...nothing on here comes close to that, or even 'encore'.
10:56 AM on 12/08/06
oh my god
you know nothing about rap, so please stop trying
11:00 AM on 12/08/06
The last paragraph is exactly how I feel about this. Just because there are no club bangers doesn't mean it's any less of an album.
Great review...great album.
11:12 AM on 12/08/06
I like this album a lot. I don't need "club bangers" from Jay-Z. I'll settle for clever lyrical content and nice beats.
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