Jay-Z: American Gangster (Universal)

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Text Matt Armitage

Imagine. You’ve retired from rapping to run a hugely successful business empire and your beau is one of the most beautiful and successful artist in the industry. Life as the ghetto Donald Trump inspires you to put pen to paper and the result is Kingdom Come, a masterpiece about the tribulations of life as a mogul. You expect the fans to recognize your deep *ss sh*t and instead they deride it as weak *ss sh*t and hardly anyone buys it. So what do you do? Go back to the tales of life on the street that made you the most successful rapper of your generation. Inspired by the movie American Gangster, Jay-Z recorded this in a flurry of inspiration. The result is some of his best work, gritty tales of seventies street life built around fat, funk and soul samples and raw beats. And with only a couple of guest rap spots, Jay-Z dark tales shine through.

This article first appeared in the January 2008 issue of JUICE