Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Jay Z Project Part 9: Kingdom Come

"Can't leave rap alone the game needs me"
Izzo (H.O.V.A.), 2001


Think back to the "Blueprint" project when I said remember that line above, because it definitely applies in this case. Although Jay claimed he was retiring after 2003's "The Black Album", with hindsight being 20/20, it was basically a (deserved) hiatus. It was not a matter of if he was going to return with a new album, but when. "Kingdom Come" was one of the most anticipated albums of 2006, so not only was this big at the time, he also managed to have a short, history making stint as CEO of Def Jam Records. So how does this album hold up today? Let's jump right into it!


Release date- November 21, 2006



Featured Guests
 Chrisette Michele
John Legend
Usher
Pharrell Williams
Beyonce
Sterling Sims
Ne-Yo
Chris Martin


Behind The Boards
B-Money
Just Blaze
Dr. Dre
Mark Batson
Kanye West
DJ Khalil
The Neptunes
Syience
Swizz Beatz
Chris Martin
Rick Simpson


THE ALBUM

1. The Prelude

"The real is back"

This is a very good opener, love the beat.
*4 out of 5*

2. Oh My God

I really like Just Blaze's beat and especially the nicely worked "Whipping Post" sample courtesy of Genya Ravan. Jay could've come better lyrically on this one, but it's still good.
*4 out of 5*

3. Kingdom Come

"You breath it, we need it, bring it back for the hustlers/Had to dust off the hammer, dance, can't touch this"

"Flash Gordon when recording, spark a light in the dark/Peter Parks, Spider Man, all I do is climb the charts"

This is another dope song produced by Just Blaze. I'll tell you one thing, looking back at this time in hip hop, Jay was one of its saviors considering where the game was heading.
*4 out of 5*

   4. Show Me What You Got

"This is state of emergency, bitches. What you want me to do I'm sorry, I'm back!" (Laughs)

As a "comeback hit", I recall a lot of people weren't too impressed with this one compared to some, if not all, of his previous hits. In my view, Jay seemed a little inspired over another dope Just Blaze production. I'll also say of all his hits that still receive radio play, this one doesn't, at least in my area. Still very good though.
*4 out of 5*

5. Lost One

Over a nice, piano laced track by Dr. Dre and Mark Batson, Jay returns to his introspective side with Ms. Chrisette Michele on the hook. 
*4 out of 5*

6. Do U Wanna Ride

"You know why they call a project a project/Because it's a project/An experiment, we're in it, only as objects"

After listening to this one again, I like it a little more than I did previously. The second verse along raises the rating a bit. Take this ride.
*4 out of 5*


7. 30 Something

"A nigga been focused since he said hi to 30". Yep, Jay said that at one point, and here he embraces himself as he evolves, during the "30" stages.
*3.5 out of 5*

8. I Made It

I'm sure Jay had to know his mom already knew he made it, but you can never knock a song an artist dedicates to his mom. I also liked how he thanked her for helping him repair his relationship with his dad before he passed in a very nice touch.
*4.5 out of 5*

9. Anything

Oh man, where did this come from? Jay is doing this for the women (hence the Usher feature), and it's something about Neptunes' beat that hit me more than it did before.
*3.5 out of 5*

10. Hollywood

I respect what they were going for here, but a song like this would've been better suited for a Beyonce album instead.
*2.5 out of 5*

11. Trouble

"Fuck that exclamation, comma, quotation/I love drama, period"

I like this one right here, and lyrically Jay is trouble on this thumpin Dr. Dre production.
*4 out of 5*

12. Dig A Hole   
    "Dig a hole, bury yaself!"

 "You sellin little tools, only time you went plat/My chain was on your neck, that's an actual fact/So I’m prayin’ that it spills outside of the booth/That’s when y’all niggas outside of your truth/Outside of your league, that’s not what you do/Niggas throwin Roc signs outside of your Coupe/Don’t look at Hov like he done somethin wrong to ’em/Cause he’s on to 'em, he just took what belonged to him” 

 Jay goes in on Cam'ron (and in a sense Jim Jones) throughout this one, largely stemming from Cam's short "run" with the ROC as an alleged promotion by Dame Dash of Cam to VP while Jay was on vacation. Not a good move Dame.
*4 out of 5*

13. Minority Report

"Sure I ponied up a mil but I didn't give my time/So in reality I didn't give a dime or damn/I just put my monies in the hands of the same people that left my people stranded/Nothing but a bandit, left them folks abandoned"

I could've said the above line sum up this song in a nutshell, but I have to speak more on this. 

I almost cried towards the end of the song. You know, prior to this project, I watched Spike Lee's incredible documentary on Hurricane Katrina ("When The Leeves Broke") and without trying to go into it too much, it still stuns and angers me how our Federal Government all but abandoned those people, during and after the hurricane and it's a shame. One woman said, "it's not about low, middle or high class, it's about people", and I agree 100 percent. Jay essentially feels the same. Although he contributed 1 million dollars of his own money, he could've done more. Everything he said about the people and this entire tragedy/disaster, were right. Ne-Yo said in the hook, "seems like they don't even care", and that's true too. The best song on this album.
*5 out of 5*

14. Beach Chair

"Life is like a beach chair"

Oh man, not because it's complicated (it isn't), but this closer must be heard to be appreciated.
*5 out of 5*


Lukewarm, mediocre, uninspired, forgettable. Those are 4 words I frequently saw around the release of this album, and still do today. For a comeback album, it may not have been the blockbuster most were hoping for, but make no mistake about it, this is a damn good album. With two songs clocking in at a "5 out of 5" rating, nine at "4 out of 5", and two with "3.5 out of 5", that more than jumps my rating up. To those who own it and haven't played it in a long time, I recommend a revisit, you may be surprised. If you shied away from it due to the mixed feedback, I still consider it a recommendation.


4 stars 


Success

*Selling 680,000 units its first week, this was Jay's highest selling album in a one week period

*Certified double platinum (2,510,000 units sold to date)

*It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album (it lost to Kanye West's "Graduation"



Next, we go "gangster" in 2007. 

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