Jay-Z, Kingdom Come (Roc-A-Fella, 2006)
Jay-Z's new "comeback" album Kingdom Come is one of the most highly anticipated rap albums since the days of Doggystyle and Wu-Tang Forevar, but is it any good? Not to tip my hand too early in the review, but no, it isn't.
Jay rambling about how tough it is to be a rapper/CEO, what with people talking shit about him on the Internets. Oh, and has he mentioned he used to be a crack dealer - back before it was all cute, even?
OH MY GOD
The first of three Just Blaze records in a row. You've already heard the other two. This one is more in the vein of "Show Me What You Got," but with a less recognizable sample. Whatever it is, I'm not too crazy about it. Goofy though it may be, I do kinda like the chorus though.
Just Blaze's brilliant (sorta) flip of Rick James' "Superfreak" i.e. the beat from "U Can't Touch This," for those of you old enough to remember the most popular rapper evar. For what it's worth, this is also one of Jay's better raps here.
SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT
The less than triumphant lead single/product placement vehicle. It marks the third time in the past month or so a rapper has flipped this same sample, which isn't very good anyway.
Jay's whiny-sounding kiss-off to Dame Dash, Beyonce, and his nephew, who had the nerve to die in a car Jay bought. The nerve. This Dre beat is nothing special and the chorus is downright grating.
DO U WANNA RIDE
No homo Juelz Santana, but I find myself enjoying Kanye West's beat here as well as John Legend's chorus. Jay's verses don't seem to fit very well though, and like most of his raps here, they aren't that good anyway.
Still, "Do U Wanna Ride" and this form more or less the peak of the album for me. This is paint by numbers 2001-era Dre, but it still sounds good, and Jay sounds inspired rapping about something he should obviously know about, i.e. being old as dirt.
I MADE IT
Self-congratulatory claptrap about how successful he is in the form of a letter to his mother a la Kanye's "Hey Mama" or some such. He sure has come a long way since the days when he used to sell her rocks (albeit at a discount).
Pharrell Williams' latest shit sandwich of a beat. "Change Clothes" is nails by comparison. And hopefully Jay didn't spend too much on this Urrsher chorus.
Sounds like a Beyonce song, but with Jay rapping all over it. Why? Jay shouts out Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow and rattles off a list of dead celebrities, including Jimi Hendrix and River Phoenix. LOL.
Sounds like Dr. Dre's take on something Timbaland might do, but in the most boring way possible. Sounds like Jay might be rapping about how he doesn't screw around on Beyonce. If so, that's pretty disappointing, if you ask me.
DIG A HOLE
Is this Jay going at Cam'ron? If so, it makes his comments on Cam'ron's own wack-ass dis record seem especially ironic in the true Alanis Morissette sense of the term. It's like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife. Nullus?
What's this, a rap song about Hurricane Katrina? 2005 called. . .
The one the guy from Coldplay did. It's Asian hand job music meets "In the Air Tonight"-era Phil Collins. The whole thing seems mixed funny.
COMMENTS: Well, I'm disappointed except for the fact that I wasn't crazy about the last several Jay albums either. This one sounds especially sloppy though, as if he didn't spend very much time at all coming up with song ideas or lyrics or even finding good beats to rap over to begin with. It's got its moments, but it's mostly a huge shit sandwich.
BEST TRACKS: "Kingdom Come" "Do U Wanna Ride" "30 Something"