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FEATURE ARTICLE

 
JAY-Z: Kingdom Come

 

The worst kept secret in hip-hop?  Let me guess....Jay-Z’s return to the rap game.  After an elaborate retirement announcement with The Black Album, who really thought that Hov could stay away?  The lower hip-hop sank with snap and booty shake music, the more alluring and powerful the pull became for Hov’s return.  Still, the big question remains – is this the 23 Hov or the 45?

 

At the onset, Kingdom Come gives hungry heads the lyrical 'hit' they need:

 

N*gga ya hooks did it
Ya lyrics didn't
Ya gangsta look did it
So i would write it if yall could get it
Being intricate'll get ya wood critics
…..

 

Ten year veteran

I been said i been through with this bullsh*t game
But i never can
I used to think rappin at 38 was ill
When last year alone i grossed about 38 mill
I know i aint quite 38 but still
The flow so special got a .38 feel
The real is back

 

The first release, “Show Me What You Got,” follows and maintains Jay’s strategy of releasing that radio-friendly track to get the masses on board. All form and little substance, this track proves to be one for the ladies.  “Lost Ones” finds a more introspective Jay.  Exploring the relationship between Dame Dash, Beyoncé and the pain experienced after losing his nephew, this is the realest track on the album: 

 

“I heard motherf*ckers saying they made Hov
Made Hov say, "Ok so, make another Hov"
N*ggas wasn't playing they day role
So we parted ways like Ben and J-Lo”

 

While I’ve grown slightly bored with the duo of Jay and Beyoncé, I must admit these two make good music together.  The dramatic, radio-ready “Hollywood” explores the dangerous allure of fame:  Without the fame how you gonna survive, It’s like living on heroin, you so high.” Other standouts include “30 Something.” As a recent inductee into the 30 Something club, this track is dear to heart.  Like Hov and most grown ups, my concerns revolve around credit and assets as the 20 Somethings blow their checks getting the freshest outfits:

 

“I don't got the bright watch, I got the right watch
I don't buy out the bar, I bought the nightspot
I got the right stock, I-- got--
Stockbrokers that's movin' it like white tops”

 

Love that track.

 

While Sean Carter takes great pride in referring to himself as J Hova, not everything he creates is God-sent.  A great example of such is “Minority Report.” At first glance this is what hip-hop needs – a song with content that actually is positive, means something.  “Minority Report” finds Hov ponder the Katrina disaster.  My problem with the song is his delivery.  Really, must he whisper?  Perhaps this signifies his sincerity.  I just find it annoying.  Meanwhile, while the track on “Oh My God” proves to be a sick backdrop, Hov just fails to deliver.  The lyrical delivery just doesn’t give the punch that the track requires or deserves.  Finally "Made It" is simply a repeat of The Black Album's "December 4th."  Enough of these tracks dedicated to momma.

 

I must confess…I’m a Jigga fan.  In fact, I’ve been a bit removed from hip-hop since his departure.  The airwaves are flooded with booty-shaking and “snap” songs (ie., D4L, Dem Franchize Boyz). So, when I learned of Hov’s return to the throne, I was relieved that heads such as myself were going to receive a 'hit' fairly soon.  Kingdom Come was that 'hit.'  And while that 'hit' took away the shakes, it wasn’t quite at the level I was expecting.  I hate to join the bandwagon, but the project fell below my expectations – not because it was bad or because in comparison to the current songs in rotation it was worse.  To be perfectly honest, I almost didn’t know what to make of several of the tracks – did I like them, did I not like them.  After several listens – and even now – I still find myself searching for a verdict for a handful of songs.  The tracks – and even the artwork – is different from anything that’s out now and honestly my ears and taste buds are still adjusting.

 

In the meantime – while I’m still in a quandary – I advise true heads to cop this one.  Although Kingdom Come didn’t meet the expectations I set for it, it was far beyond anything – and I mean anything – that is in rotation.



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