Hip-hop has its own Return of the King
Just when you thought Karl Rove let every possible secret slip through his flapping gums, there has been another major outing to the public that it need to know about.
According to allhiphop.com, Kanye West announced during a concert at Illinois State that he is executive producing the new Jay-Z album, saying, “Jay-Z will be out this Christmas.”
This confirmed information makes Sean Carter’s retirement the worst since Michael Jordan gave up his hot hand for a cold Louisville Slugger.
Jay-Z started his life after rap by taking over Def Jam as C.E.O. and signing The Roots to a deal, helping the group put out their new album Game Theory, which happens to be their best work since Things Fall Apart.
Then, after hearing a beat produced for his friend, Memphis Bleek, Hova decided he was going to rhyme over it, and Memph would have nothing to do with the track on his own album, 534. The result was the amazing song, “Dear Summer,” which went on to be the most famous single off that album. I’ll give someone a dollar if they can e-mail me another song off 534 without looking it up.
Just when you thought an un-retired Jay-Z couldn’t make any more news, the hip-hop world explodes when it’s announced that not only did Jay settle his animosity towards Nas, but that Nas signed to Def Jam, with an album due out very shortly.
Currently, Jay-Z is standing by his queen on top of the Billboard Top 200, as Beyoncé’s B’Day is number one, thanks to the first single featuring Jigga, entitled “Déjà Vu.”
Maybe it’s just the title of Beyoncé’s single, but something tells me we’ve seen this before: Jay-Z being on top even though he’s supposedly out of the game.
My theory is that Jay-Z never planned on retiring and just said that to hype up his incredible 2003 release, The Black Album.
Well, it seems to have worked. My only problem is figuring how Hov plans on coming back after airing out his grievances and being more personal with his listeners than any other album he’s ever made.
The Black Album was Jay’s highest-selling album, and turned critics of his, like myself, into such big fans that they write articles about his return in their college newspapers.
Yet it has not been all glamour for Jay-Z since his retirement. His old record label, Roc-a-fella, split down the middle and forced Roc fans to choose between Jay-Z and Kanye West, or Cam’ron and Dipset, who are starting to take over hip-hop in Jay’s absence.
One thing that I am expecting off the new album is a response to Cam’s lyrically weak diss song, entitled “You Gotta Love It,” but Jay has said that there is no need to respond. I still hope he does, though.
As he is arguably the king of New York, the title of Jay-Z’s new album, Kingdom Come, seems to fit. It will be released in November, and will include producers like Kanye West, Timbaland, Pharrell and Dr. Dre.
Jay also told Entertainment Weekly he’d been experimenting with different types of music. Early reports about merging styles on Kingdom Come mention the song “Beach Chair,” featuring Chris Martin of Coldplay.
If Kingdom Come is not bigger than The Black Album, it might be seen as a failure. But, I think that for Jay-Z, it’s more about just being in the game and making music after already being one of the wealthiest emcees of all time.
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