Jay-Z - American Gangster
- Mark Robertson
- 29 November 2007
American Gangster (Roc-a-Fella)
Retirement plans seem like a long way off as the Jigga Man produces his second album in a little less than 12 months. If Kingdom Come was all bluster and no substance, then Jay-Z redeems himself with this focussed collection, inspired by the Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe crime blockbuster of the same name.
Embracing the greasy, elastic funk of the 70s like Mr Green and Mr Gaye for its sonic backbone and utilising regular cohorts, Kanye West, Diddy, Just Blaze and The Neptunes for all things beatific, this album suggests he’s way more adept when he has a something to focus on. He uses the sprawling rise and fall story of the film’s anti-hero as the starting point for a hypothetical ponder on just how he would have ended up had he kept on at crime instead of rhymes. The result is a resounding success. He may be as big a commodity as Pepsi these days, but with American Gangster Jigga’s found his funk, his fury and his flow again.