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Review

New Jay-Z album not as good as previous releases

November 16, 2006

The rebirth of hip-hop is here, according to Jay-Z. Only three years after retiring from his former label, the self-proclaimed “King,” and now “Savior of Hip-Hop,” is back with Kingdom Come.

I definitely am not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop. As you can see from most of my reviews, rock is my preference.

But I’ve decided to think outside the guitar and give this “newly” found hip-hop a chance.

As an owner of The Black Album and Hard Knock Life Vol. 2, Jay-Z is a rapper I have found worth my money and time next to Tupac Shakur and Eminem.

Unlike his previous albums, Jay turned to many other producers for this work. With big names like Dr. Dre, Kanye West and The Neptunes, this album is already stacked to be something big.

Many reviews I’ve read state that the album is only average at best. As Blogcritics Magazine puts it, “The album doesn’t sound big and expensive like so many lead singles need to in this day and age. It doesn’t really have club appeal, but it’s not a street burner either. To be honest, it comes across as a little boring.”

Honestly, I agree with that statement.

This album is the first to let go of the “Jigga what” and immature lyrics dealing with drugs, hoes and opponent-bashing words.

That’s about the only good thing about it.

Kingdom Come opens with a prelude displaying Jay’s lyrical mastermind, telling the rap world that his reality only lies parallel with what modern rappers live in music videos and a couple of times during the year.

He never directly bashes another rapper by name, but promotes other artists like Ice Cube and Usher.

The rest of the album has a sort of fluid feel to it —maybe even boring. Every track seems to sound like the other.

There really isn’t a song that stands out to succeed in the world of the “radio single,” though Monday Night Football has featured the first leaked song, “Show Me What You Got.”

Still, it doesn’t really possess the punch needed to be a million-making single.

Kingdom Come is an album that doesn’t really stand out.

Although solid, there is not a song that you can remember even after hearing it. Sure, you can nod your head to the basic beats and melodies provided by the big-name producers, but where are the catchy lyrics and choruses Jay used to provide?

For an album claiming to be the one to save hip-hop, I expected a lot more.

It doesn’t really save hip-hop, it is just a different kind of rap — one repeating the same values and ideas expressed in Jay’s earlier works, only this time, according to Jay himself, maturation has taken place.

Overall, the album sounds rushed with the same message, camouflaged by a new album and different approach.

But in today’s society, we all know it will sell millions and people will listen to it.

The media will continue to build Kingdom Come up and promote Jay’s return. On Nov. 21 when the album drops, I know I won’t be there watching my cash disappear for mediocre music.

Erik Wood is a student at UW-River Falls.

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