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Friday, November 9, 2007

American Gagster?

posted by on November 9 at 12:18 PM

So I got an e-mail from someone about my election night coverage, wherein I was consulting the lyrics of Jay-Z’s freshly-released American Gangster album, which I referred to as ‘genius.’ Here’s the relevant passage from that e-mail:

The inclusion of Jay-z lyrics was an inspired touch. However, 2 points: 1) American Gangster is a terrible album. If you were being facetious, please disregard. 2) You need to have words with your ipod, or whatever. It neglected to cough up what could have been the most pertinent line relating to that fateful Tuesday night:
Bunch of used to’s, has been’s bragging bad ‘bout all the new dudes Talking tough on the YouTube bout what you used to do But that’s old school to the new crew They’re doing numbers like Sudoku

off of Fallin’, one of the 2 listenable tracks on the album.

That is all.

I responded that I loved American Gangster’s lyrics. I thought the first three songs on AG were really slow and uninspired, but that the album, as a whole, works really well. I did admit that I didn’t think it was genius (I hyperbolize more than literally any other human being on the face of the earth), but I thought that the election day release date was, perhaps, unintentional genius. I think that I might have to make listening to American Gangster an election day tradition, in fact, to go along with my other election day traditions of eating at Catfish Corner and getting stumbling-drunk while posting results on Slog.

Anyway, from there, he and I sent a couple e-mails back and forth (he thought that Jay-Z’s delivery was tired and that he sounded bored, I said that I thought he sounded like he was having more fun than he’d had in years, and blah blah blah,) but it really seems to highlight the reaction to American Gangster.
The critics love it, but most of the commenters on most of the blog posts I’ve seen about the album hate it. It’s interesting, I think, because Jay-Z is really the leading face of aging hip-hop superstardom, and unlike rock’s embarrassing tendency to embrace old age (maybe even as a direct response to it,) mainstream hip-hop culture is having none of this middle-aged rap stuff. I think we can all agree, though, that Kingdom Come was disappointing.

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Kingdom Come was bad. Real bad. And when Jay-Z('the best to ever come around here') makes bad music and looks for validation from Bono, hiphop's self-esteem as a whole takes a dive.
American Gangster is boileplate Hov but it's so well executed and in the pocket, it kills everything else that came out this year- including Kanye's record.
It's a gotdamn swagger infusion for anybody that loves Jay-Z's hiphop. Thank god man, there just hasn't been enough rap to make you wanna lipsync in the mirror lately.

Posted by lar | November 9, 2007 1:15 PM

jay's album is amazing. he's lyically killing everything. it's exactly what fans want: fewer hooks/choruses and zero bullshit, just acrobat flows and great beats.

jay and nas over no ID's organ chop is the best song all year! let that bitch breathe!

Posted by ndrwmtsn | November 9, 2007 3:25 PM

Wait, doesn't Jay-Z always sound bored?

Posted by Paulus | November 9, 2007 5:03 PM

watch yourself young one!

Posted by lar | November 11, 2007 1:59 PM

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