One of my problems with the last Jay-Z album, Kingdom Come, is that his favorite subject — himself — gets a bit tiresome. But I think Jay-Z has an incredible amount of talent, so I can't wait to hear how this turns out: According to an article in today's New York Times, the CEO of hip-hop plans to release another album in early November, inspired by the upcoming Ridley Scott/Denzel Washington movie American Gangster.
That's less than a year after Kingdom Come's release, but apparently Jay was so moved after viewing the film that he simply had to head into the studio. But Jay-Z, who says his drug-dealing past helped him identify with the '70s-set tale of a Harlem heroin kingpin, isn't writing the soundtrack. His album will merely be released around the same time. For more details, read more
According to the article:
Following the underwhelming critical and commercial reception for his Kingdom Come CD late last year — and as Jay-Z grapples with whether to stay on in his post at Def Jam — the tie-in to a major motion picture gives him a chance to rebound strong and extend his reach to a wider audience.
At the same time, it could help Universal Pictures excite younger moviegoers, whom it will need to make money on a costly film with a troubled history. Though it’s not uncommon for films to be released alongside “inspired by” albums, it is rare for them to be recorded by a single artist, let alone by a major star who had no role in the movie.
I feel like "inspired by" gets slapped on a lot of mediocre soundtracks, but in this case, the phrase is truly an apt description and makes me especially excited to hear it. Apparently, Jay-Z has already recorded nine songs, each one related to a different scene in the movie. Maybe this unusual partnership will prompt the return to glory that Jay-Z fans have been waiting for since The Black Album. What do you guys think?