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Kingdom Come

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Album Review

Jay-Z's retirement from making albums was more like a working holiday. After he announced his retirement, released The Black Album, and threw the Fade to Black party, he collaborated with Linkin Park on Collision Course, teamed with R. Kelly for the abysmal Unfinished Business, and appeared on tracks by Beanie Sigel, Bun B, Memphis Bleek, Kanye West, Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco, and Beyoncé. He kept busy behind the scenes as Def Jam's CEO and president, and he also stepped up as a major philanthropist, donating a million dollars to the Katrina cause and actively addressing the global water crisis in Turkey and South Africa. In the midst of these and other well-publicized activities, Jay-Z recorded Kingdom Come, his eighth and weakest studio album. When placed in the context of his prolific discography, the greater part of the album wilts, and it's not a good indicator that Jay-Z continues to lean on a familiar cast of producers rather than actively seek up-and-comers. (The fresh talent here is limited to Syience and Gwyneth Paltrow's Chris Martin; they contribute one track each.) There's only a small handful of highlights. On the title track, Just Blaze's masterful contortion job on Rick James' "Superfreak" backs Jay's nearly top-form, Black Album/Blueprint-worthy boasts: "I been up in the office, you might know him as Clark/Just when you thought the whole world fell apart/I take off the blazer, loosen up the tie/Step inside the booth, Superman is alive." Two of the four Dr. Dre productions feature assistance from Mark Batson (Anthony Hamilton), and they both strike a fine balance between maturity and ferocity — much more so than the clumsy "30 Something," where Jay proclaims that "30 is the new 20," which would actually make him 27 and a fourth-grader a zygote. (He might as well say, "You wear Huggies, I wear Depends/You drink from a sippy cup/I sip my solids.") Apart from the above-mentioned bright spots and a poignant, somber track about the Katrina disaster ("Minority Report"), the album is a display of complacency and retreads — a gratuitous, easily resistible victory lap — that slightly upgrades the relative worth of The Blueprint².

Customer Reviews

Perhaps Expectations Were Too High

Ever since Jay-Z announced his intent to retire from the rap game we as fans wondered when or if we would ever get a new Jay-Z album. His announcement to come out of retirement had fans of hip-hop worldwide anticipating his new album. Unfortunately Jay-Z has managed to gravely disappoint. Only the single "Show Me What You Got" is worth listening to repeatedly. There are a couple songs that tease with hard beats but are followed by soft, whispering lyrics and horrible choruses. This album is no where near the quality of the Black Album. Hopefully this is just HOVA shaking off the rust before we are treated to another classic hip hop album.

Damn!

Jay-Z! This album is your best! People of the world! Buy this! Its deadly...the beats he drops are that of a true master! and thats why he's back! and hopefully 2 stay!

Hova's Back but not his best effort

I am a huge Jay-Z fan, and just like many others I have been anxiously waiting for this album to drop. I have to say I am a little dissapointed. The beats are pretty hot, Just Blaze does his thing yet again. Lost Ones, and Do U wannna Ride are amazing tracks and are reminders of Hova's Best rapper alive title. But there is quite a few sub par tracks (Hollywood, show me what you got) still a sub par Jay album is better than many MC's best efforts.

Biography

Born: December 04, 1969 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Embodying the rags-to-riches rap dream, Jay-Z pulled himself up by his bootstraps as a youth to eventually become the reigning rapper of New York City and, in turn, a major-label executive following his short-lived retirement from music-making. In the wake of his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z's albums sold millions upon millions with each release, and his endless parade of hits made him omnipresent on urban radio and video television. He retained a strongly devoted fan base and challenged whatever...
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