SYNDICATE
Posted by: Dave on November 12, 2007 at 9:37 am

Jay-ZAmericanGangsterNote: This is not the soundtrack to the Ridley Scott film, but it does contain several audio clips from the movie. After seeing an advanced screening back in August, Jay-Z was reminded of his days as a drug hustler on the streets of Brooklyn and inspired to write and record this album in about a month.
Production: Six of the album’s tracks were produced Diddy and his associates LV and Sean C. It’s the first time Jay-Z and Diddy have collaborated in a decade.
Sound: Mostly a cinematic, ‘70s blaxploitation vibe that’s either laid back and soulful, tense and orchestrated or brassy and funky. It detours into stripped down, ‘80s-style, synth and drum machine productions, as well.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is…)” (Top 20 Songs of 2007 Candidate); “Fallin’” featuring Bilal
Medium Rotation tracks: “Blue Magic” featuring Pharrell; “Party Life”; “Hello Brooklyn 2.0” featuring Lil’ Wayne
Recommended: Lyrically it’s more satisfying to hear Jay-Z rap about life on the streets (as he does here) as opposed to life as a mogul (as he did on last year’s disappointing Kingdom Come). But the fact is that he rushed this album to put it out in time for the theatrical release of the movie, and it shows. There are certainly a couple great tracks on here…and plenty of songs that could have benefited from more time and attention. American Gangster is not the classic some would like you to think it is, and as an album, it’s not on par with Jay-Z’s best work.
Grade: B

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