Friday, November 23, 2007

Review: American Gangster

Sorry that this review is late ... You can blame Alicia Keys and As I Am. I've been listening to that album approximately 3 times a day. I love it! I can't get enough of it. I even changed my ringtone to Track #1. I don't really like music concerts, but if A Keys comes to town, I'm so down.

In fact, that is the theme of tonight's post. Passion and inspiration. Are you passionate about something? Have you ever wanted to put all of your heart and effort into something?

What about inspiration? Have you ever seen or heard or learned something new, and have it take you in a new direction?

Take a lesson from Jay-Z. He's dropped 11 albums in 10 years, a testament to his love for making music. His hard work and entrepreneurial drive have taken him from Rap superstar to President and CEO of Def Jam, founder of Roc-a-wear + Roc-a-fella records, nightclub owner, and stakeholder in the soon-to-be Brooklyn (bye-bye New Jersey) Nets. Gatdamn!

With all of his success, he could've retired a long time ago, but he's still working hard, and that's because of passion. Hard work doesn't feel like hard work when it's something that you love to do. Couple that with inspiration, and you have a formula for creating something special.

Inspiration for Jay-Z came in the form of Ridley Scott's crime epic, American Gangster. I really liked this movie, but apparently not as much as "The gangster Shawn Corey." After watching a rough cut, he records an entire album blending the events of his own life with scenes from the movie. Inspiration and passion: The result is arguably the best Jay-Z album since his very first, Reasonable Doubt. Everything in-between is nice, of course (I mean, this is Jay-Z we're talking about, people!). But his latest album showcases him with such a high level of potency and focus.

The album has a 70s funk feel, which aligns with the timeframe of the movie. His lyrics are honest and introspective, a rarity in today's one-hit wonder/intellectually void hip-hop scene.

I should correct myself, his lyrics are serious at least half of the time. The other half is spent flossing and stunting, coming up with witty and humerous lines like, "Art with no easel, please there's no equal/Your boy's off the wall these other n****s is tito", or "I'm in a whole other league, n****s never catch me/And I sport fly shit I should win an ESPY." Hilarious! I love it! Vintage S-dot-Carter!

The only track I'm not feeling is titled "Ignorant Shit." Beanie Seagal, what do people see in this guy? Other then that, the album is a gem. Two thumbs up. 5 out of 5. What other cliche accolades can I award it? Just fucking listen to it already!

I feel like going out and writing again. Jay Tse, where my beats at?


Shaun said...

Look at him... he loves it...

Rubex Cube said...

Need to upload the cd to my Ipodizzle and see what your talking about!