After three years in “retirement”, Jay-Z finally comes back with Kingdom Come. Maybe this wasn’t a huge surprise, but it did evoke reactions from the Hip-Hop & entertainment world. Some people hated on the fact that Jigga was returning to music, and also stated that it was unfair to the artists of the label he now presided over, Def Jam (especially unfair to Nas). Others thought it might signal the return of New York to the forefront of the rap scene. While all this is still up in the air, the album finally dropped. While a lot critics gave the album bad reviews (The Source still gave it 4.5 mics…but it’s The Source), the album was a commercial success (680,000 copies sold in the first week). While everyone here at nappyafro.com did not want me to review this album (they think I’m a Jay-Z “Stan”), I fought and finally got it (Hey, I’m going to still keep it real son!). “Let’s go get ‘em!”
1. The Prelude Produced by B-Money When I first heard this intro, I thought it was alright. Later, after to checking out again, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Jay-Z answer The Game question from “It’s Okay (One Blood)” (“I used to think rappin’ at 38 was ill, but last year alone I grossed 38 mill’”). This song has my favorite line: “Back when crack was, what these pills are, I was a real star, complete with real cars, no video ones, you can come and set up a camera, let the video run.” Wow.
2. Oh My God Produced by Just Blaze This song is alright. I think the Just Blaze beat sounds someone trying to impersonate a Just Blaze beat, if you can understand that. Jay-Z raps about his father leaving him, I can relate, but, how many times we gotta hear about this, you 37 Hov! It’s an average song, I sometimes skip it though.
3. Kingdom Come Produced by Just Blaze These was one of the song Jay-Z released to the radio before the album dropped (“Lost Ones” & “Show Me What You Got” was the others). I know a lot of people heard this beat before, I think Just Blaze put it on his MySpace page or something, but of all the variations I heard, Jay-Z does it the best. I think this should have been the first single. “King of New York…New York”
4. Show Me What You Got Produced by Just Blaze I know at lot of people hated this song when it came out (King Jerm, I’m looking at you.) But I didn’t mind this at all. Maybe I was just happy Jay-Z was coming back? Diddy also use the same sample on Press Play (“We Gon’ Make It”), but I like the live drums on this one. “Dynasty continues, y’all die”.
5. Lost Ones Featuring Chrisette Michelle; Produced by Dr. Dre & Mark Baston Dr. Dre produces the first of four on the album (Damn, and The Game couldn’t get one?). On this song he talks about the Roc-A-Fella fallout, gets at Beyonce (kinda), and talks about the death of his nephew. To me, this song is okay, I think his flow is too talky. I don’t know if this kind of song showcases Jay-Z’s talent very well.
6. Do U Wanna Ride Featuring John Legend; Produced by Kanye West Kanye delivers the beat on this one. The song is Jay talking to his boy who’s in jail. Good song, I wish he would of did the song on another subject because it kind of sounds like a love song. Jay-Z says some shit on the song though: “My young’n is LeBron, you know what that makes me baby”.
7. 30 Something Produced by Dr. Dre This is Jay-Z getting he grown man on (With the beat provided by the Dr. Dre.) The beat sound like one they cut from 2001 though. He gets at these young boys and tells them what’s ballin’ and what’s really ballin’. Jay sounds inspired on this: “I’m afraid of the future (why?), y’all respect the one who got shot, I respect the shooter”. One of the stronger tracks on the album.
8. I Made It Produced by DJ Khalil This song could be considered Jay-Z’s “Dear Mama”(“Paid the rent with a light bill”). The beat is good, it kind of inspiring. I guess it’s always cool to give a shot out to your Mother. What’s up Ma!
9. Anything Featuring Usher & Pharrell; Produced by The Neptunes This is by far the weakest song on the album. Why does Jay-Z keep fucking with The Neptunes? They really haven’t given him nothing hot since “Excuse Me Miss (Remix)”. I just hope Hov didn’t pay for that hook with Usher on it. Jigga, you don’t have to rap for the teeny boppers anymore. SKIP!
10. Hollywood Featuring Beyonce; Produced by Ne-Yo & Syience You had to see this one coming, you know “Jayonce” had to do another song together. It’s not as bad as I thought but it’s far from my favorite on the album. This might be a later single. On another note, I think I only know one person who really likes this song (What’s up Slik P).
11. Trouble Produced by Dr. Dre & Mark Baston This is another borderline song for me, I really don’t listen to this one that much again. Jay-Z flow is good, the beat just doesn’t grab me. Another Dr. Dre beat, maybe this is one he should have gave back.
12. Dig a Hole Featuring Sterling Simms; Produced by Swizz Beatz Jay finally gets at Dame, Cam’ron, and anybody I guess, although he doesn’t say names. He does spit some fire though: “I’m just waitin’ ’till you dig a hole big enough to put your whole body in, then I’m gon’ body them”. I guess Swizz Beatz can produce a song without talking on it (Or sampling’ someone’s voice). I like the beat, but what the fuck is up with that hook?
13. Minority Report Featuring Ne-Yo; Produced by Dr. Dre Okay, this song is hard for me to figure out. I like the message of the song, we still need to talk about what happen in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina (What’s up Mos Def?). But the beat sounds like the one Dr. Dre did for his brother on “The Message” from 2001, and the flow sounds like “Meet The Parents” from The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse. Also, when I hear a song like this, I don’t want to hear Ne-Yo on the hook either.
14. Beach Chair Featuring Chris Martin; Produced by Rik Simpson & Chris Martin Now this is my favorite track on the album. To me it’s some epic/movie shit (“Are you happy Hov?”). Jay sounds like Shawn Carter on this one, talking about his past demons and one day dying. When I heard Chris Martin (from Coldplay) had produced this track, I thought it was gonna be some bullshit. But I think the end product shows that neither step out of the zone or compromised.
Did Jay-Z return equal the return of Christ? No, we still have the same problems in Hip-Hop. Did I enjoy the album? Yes. What it his best? Hell no, you still got The Blueprint, The Black Album, & Reasonable Doubt for that you idiot. Like I said it before though, I still think it’s sad that a 37 year old man can come back after three years and drop one of the best albums of the year. I guess Hip-Hop is growing up. I also think the album was a success.
If you a Jay-Z fan, you’ll probably download the whole album, but then again, if you a Jay-Z fan you probably already bought the real thing.