Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The top 5 reservations a self admitted Hov Stan has about Kingdom Come

I’m as excited as any other Jay-Z worshipper that he’s back, but I’m not heavily anticipating it and here’s why

5) He has no competition – Lil Wayne? His best is as good as Hov’s worst. T.I.? Needs two or three more solid albums to be considered amongst the elite, at the minimum that’s probably another 5 years. Nas (smarten up) is his employee. Jim Jones & Cam are hecklers, and while they have all of the street cred that Jay lost making rap ballads (Change Clothes, Excuse Me Miss, Song Cry) the Dips aren’t big enough to successfully throw rocks at Jigga’s tank. The Clipse would be contenders, except their shitty label won’t put out their highly demanded sophomore release “Hell Hath No Fury” until 3 weeks after Kingdom Come, this is coupled with them only having the respect of internet junkies, hipsters & “real hip-hoppers”. Meanwhile the hood considers them “those niggas who made Grindin”. The inevitable lack of promotion at the hands of those unfair crackers will hurt as well. But I’ll digress, with no one to outdo but himself, he may half ass it (pretty much every guest verse after The Black Album)

“After me there shall be no more”

4) He’s running low on topic material – I used to sell drugs, times were hard coming up in Brooklyn, try me and I’ll kill you, I have more money than your next five generations put together will amass, I’m the best
rapper in the game, I’m lovey-dovey and I treat bitches like ladies now. Your 10th album (counting Blueprint 2 as 2 albums) following a three year hiatus needs to show & prove some type of diversity, unless you’re LL Cool J who stopped caring about his legacy in the mid-late 90s. This ties into my next point.
“What more can I say?”

3) He has nothing left to prove – He’s made big money, he’s (probably) banging the most coveted black woman in America, he’s the chief at the most respected label in rap history. But for some odd reason, he still wants to rap. Anything less than a classic won’t suffice, with this easily being the most anticipated hip-hop LP since The Black Album if not in the history of recorded rap itself. He loves using this Jordan analogy, but Mike came back and the Orlando Magic beat the Bulls in the playoffs. Some would say Jay’s performance as Def Jam’s president is akin to #23 playing Minor League Baseball.

“Nine years later, now you understand us”

2) Is he too big for rap? – A more socially responsible Shawn Carter is knocking on 40’s door, wearing chancletas and saving water in Africa. Gwynneth Paltrow sings backup for him, he’s the partial owner of an NBA franchise, he performed with Paul McCartney at the Grammys, and his songs are loved on a global level (where Dilated Peoples have to travel the globe to survive, Jay-Z plays stadiums worldwide and guarantees a sold out crowd). Are we really supposed to believe this is sincere, rather than an attempt to get Def Jam’s fourth quarter numbers up?

“You can bullshit with rap if you want, muhfuckas”

1) I’m not blown away by the lyrics of the first two songs that have been released – “I am the Mike Jordan of recording, you might wanna fall back from recording” is a far cry from “J-a-y hyphen, controllin’, manipulatin’ I got a good life, man” The lyrics on the title track didn’t make me want to replay it either. He’s always made good songs, but what about the lyrics? For every lethal bar of “Lucifer” (please I’ll leave you in somebody’s cathedral for stuntin’ like Evel Knievel, I’ll let you see where that bright light leads you”) I had to stomach a line like “I was conceived by Gloria Carter and Adenis Reeves who made love under the sycamore tree, which makes me a more sicker MC” I get the Lady Saw reference and the play on words but how did that make him a good mc?

He’s 10 years older than the man who put out Reasonable Doubt, and Nov. 21st will tell the tale of whether or not he still has it. At any rate, it’s better than expecting a miracle from Nas who has been mainly inconsistent since 1998.

(Shortly before publishing this, I heard “Lost Ones” which makes me feel a bit better about this album.)