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AHH YEAR IN REVIEW 2007: American Gangster All-Star Review

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When you look at Jay-Z’s body of work, you notice there are a few slight blemishes. Even though Blueprint 2 and Kingdom Come might have fallen below his impeccable standard, his ten album catalog is matched by few. From his classic debut Reasonable Doubt to his stellar pseudo retirement effort The Black Album; the God MC has continually displayed his excellence through flawless flows and incredible wordplay, bundled within captivating accounts of his previous life on the streets. His recent release American Gangster proved to be no different.

 

Based on the Denzel Washington-featured film of the same name, Jay constructed a powerful concept piece drawing from specific scenes for inspiration. While Carter didn’t live through the actual time period depicted in the movie; he was still able to skillfully craft songs that gave the listener a modern look into Frank Lucas’ infamous run as Harlem’s number one drug kingpin. Also intertwined are some of his previously buried memories, often making the album feel like an open book to his soul. While many view this effort as one of Jigga’s best and a strong candidate for album of the year, we put it to the test with commentary from his Rap peer group.

 

 

 

 

9th Wonder:

 

I wanted the beats to be better on American Gangster. I wanted it to be a situation where it was more fitting the era more. I don’t it was necessarily the soul vibes. I just think it could have been a little bit better than it was. –

 

 

Beanie Sigel:

 

It was cool. It was a good album -

 

 

Chingy:

 

American Gangster, I like the joint “I Know.” I like the joint “Hello” too. It’s a lot of joints I like on there. I can just let that album ride. -

 

 

 

ALCHEMIST:

I haven’t heard the entire album. I hear a lot of talk about it’s just okay, not a classic, etc. I think Jay has raised the bar so high over the years as an MC that people’s expectations are unrealistic. He’s not going to reinvent the wheel! Everything I heard was dope. He’s still light years ahead of 99% of these rappers out [with] Em [being] the 1% exception. [Jay] still packing wit and street smarts into these little clever phrases that make you run the song back mad times, trying to figure out how the hell his brain came up with that!

 

I like that he didn’t give a f*** about what’s hot right now and just made a straight Hip-Hop album with no obvious radio/video jugular attempts, but with an underlying theme. Kind of like what me and Prodigy tried to do with the Return of the Mac album. It’s more like a work of art, a fresh plate of music, rather than a new Jay-z record. I think people forget how nice he is, and how powerful his presence is on a record sometimes until they hear him on someone else’s song.

 

Take any one verse off the new album and put it on anyone else’s record as a Jigga cameo and I guarantee people [would] be saying, “Wow he bodied it!” Good sh*t Jay. My only issue is that I didn’t get to lace the album!!   –

 

 

N.O.R.E.:

I believe Jay-Z made another great album.  [I] can’t tell if it’s a soundtrack or a album yet! But I bought it and I think if you’re an 80’s baby this album is made for you and your soul! Without any need for asking my favorite track is with out a doubt “Hello Brooklyn.” You know the story she on the run eating but she isn’t NORE. –

 

RED CAFÉ:

 

With all the success of putting out albums about his own life; to be able to create a way to put out an album as a visual or based on something else’s life & a time in N.Y. history, I think it’s another great accomplishment. Hov has continued to push the envelope for the culture. –

Big Tigger:

It’s hard to pick my favorite tracks. I don’t want to say the same ones everyone else is picking but I think “American Deaming” is amazing. The Marvin Gaye sample and Jay’s lyrics blend perfectly together. “Hello Brooklyn” is crazy and “Success” is a classic! –

 

 

Swizz Beatz:

I like the record a lot. My #1 song is “Roc Boys,” that sh*t is so crazy! I feel that song is Jay-Z at his best; the swag, the tone, the vibe, etc. I also like the Bad Guy[Say Hello] track, he is talking real shit but f*** that. The “Roc Boys” sh*t is my #1. I wish I did that beat but it’s cool my ni**as did it and I hope it takes them to next level. Hov is a stone in the game that ni**as can’t move. –

 

 

 

DJ Drama:

 

Classic from beginning to end!! I’m on “Party Life” heavy right now!!!! -

Dolla Boi Of Playaz Circle:

 

It’s a crowning achievement that any artist is able to consistently sell records in this day and age. For Jay to go gold off [the] rip is amazing. I’ve been down since the Reasonable Doubt days and I still support him to this day. There may never be another one like him.  –

 

Titty Boi of Playaz Circle:

It’s some of Jay’s best work to date. Just the concept behind everything and the way he put it all together; only Jay could pull that off. What I love even more is that on one of his tracks he uses a similar sample that we have on our song with Ludacris called “U Can Believe It.” Being that we have one of the hottest if not the hottest album in the South right now and he got it in the north, it goes to show you great minds think alike. -

 

 

Scram Jones:

 

I like the Jay-Z album. I wish the beats were little more gangsta but [it] definitely got some jewels on there. -

 

 

Hi-Tek:

 

Jay-Z is a true artist. Most rappers can’t even understand what it takes to do a concept album! To be able to capture a moment in time is what music is all about! Thumbs up! I got to say with Jay, I just like his focus on the music and how he is able to capture a moment in time and really bring it out. A lot of people don’t really understand concept albums. It’s really who you are as an artist in this music industry, a lot of people just caught up in personal [stuff] and the drama. I think Jay just being a talented person and where he came from and what he did with the album is just beautiful. It teaches other artists how to make a dope concept album and still keep it Hip-Hop and music at the same time. –

 

 

DJ Whoo Kid:

 

1) “PRAY” 

 

I like this joint. Very hard -beat is crazy and I like what Jay is spiting on this. 

 

2) “Roc Boys”

 

This is the Jay Z I knew from before. I think this is the hardest joint on the album and Kanye is unstoppable with the track on this one. 

 

3) “Blue Magic” 

 

[I] didn’t like this at first but it grew on me, sorry Jay Z for doubting you. 

 

4) “Fallin” 

 

This is off the hook. [It] will make the gangsters and wannabe gangsters happy; definitely a car system banger. 

 

5) “American Dreamin” 

 

[A] hot Marvin Gay Sample; simply hot.-

 

 

Nelly:

 

Jay-Z at his best; another reason of true talent any period of time in any year!! -

 

 

Styles P.:

 

I only heard the album once. I don’t know if it’s a classic off the rip, I got to go back and analyze it. I definitely like it better than Kingdom Come. I like the joint with him and Nas a lot (“Success”) though. -

 

 

Cormega:

 

I don’t think I heard the whole album. I think “Success” was pretty good. -

 

 

Dirty Swift of Midi Mafia:

 

American Gangster, I kind of look at it from a whole album perspective. It was kind of cool to see a concept album and it being Jay-z not worrying about doing hooks and making it commercial. It was a concept from beginning to end and not one particular song. It’s cool to see that. Most people are not willing to take a chance like that and do something creative and the average rapper wouldn’t do something like that because it couldn’t sell. It didn’t follow the formula of what’s going on right now so it’s kind refreshing. It is still a good possibility that people can do different things and still be accepted commercially as well. I think that was a highlight for me. It’s hard to tell if this is a classic, classics are defined by time. I don’t know if it has that quality to it. I think for me it was more a refreshing kind of change of what was going with all the ringtone rapping. -

 

 

 

JR Writer:

 

No comment. -

 

 

Mr. Collipark:

 

Can I be honest with you? I didn’t buy it. I tried to buy it once on I-Tunes (laughs). Quite honestly I don’t go to the store that much. From what I heard so far though, I like it better compared to what I heard on the last album (Kingdome Come). That’s why I probably didn’t make a point to just go get that record feel me? I feel like music is going through something right now and for me I’m playing my old music. I’ve been playing Amerikkkaz Most Wanted for the longest right now. -

 

 

Joel Ortiz:

 

The Jay-Z grew on me. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, I don’t know. I’m like that with music; sometimes it takes me a while to get it. But usually those turn out to be the better albums for me and that’s what this American Gangster album did for me. I liked it, I didn’t love it. Now I’m starting to really really like it now. I don’t know about loving it. -

 

 

Method Man

 

No comment. –

 

 

 

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