eMusic Review 0
"The fuck you gonna do except hustle?" our old friend Pain In Da Ass snarls at the outset of Jay-Z's ninth album, Kingdom Come, and then the lush strings drop and we are back to 1996, surrounded by cigar smoke and beautiful women and the flagging stress of a life lived on the edge. "Shoebox full of cash/ dealerman hand me keys/ pantries full of Arm & Hammer/ don't take Nancy Drew to see what it do/ I'm a damn G," he raps on "The Prelude," starting Kingdom Come so promisingly. Jay-Z, after a three-year quasi-retirement (never mind that he released two other music-related projects in that time), returns with what at first seems like a dramatic reflection on the surprising similarities between life on the street and his years spent in the boardroom. But he has completely misunderstood his appeal in the process, building something sonically dull and hopelessly out of touch — two things he never was before.
Initially, Jay-Z said he wanted to release the album under his government name, Shawn Carter. Realizing the potential financial pitfalls of such a decision, he relented at the eleventh hour and went with his déclassé rap name. Perhaps Shawn Carter would… read more »