I would have to say my respect for him went up a notch.
But not enough to excuse the half-ass effort that is "Kingdom Come."
I could go on about how utterly disappointing the album is and how it could very well be one of his three worst albums, including the Linkin Park abortion and his R. Kelly collabos.
But it seems the market has spoken already.
Although everyone was going crazy over the fact that Jay-Z had the highest rap debut of 2006 (2nd of the year after Rascall Flats, a shitty country band) the real news was the fact that his second week sales dropped 80%.
After doing 680,000 in his first week, Jay did about 140K in his second week.
It seems people in a George Bush economy don't want to hear about a rapper who can actually afford the things most rappers lie about and constantly takes about it. It's interesting to note that another $100 million rapper,Puffy, also flopped and was outsold by his proteges Danity Kane and Yung Joc.
Kingdom Come boasts a kind of immature sophistication that seems to have been very off-putting to many listeners.
It's childish for Jay to boast about having good credit and hanging out with Gwyneth Paltrow. Who does that speak to?
C'mon Jay. Remember your audience.
Although the promotional push was interesting, it was good to hear Jay-Z likes the Cowboys on Monday Night Football and see him reach out to the Nascar people, no one wants to hear about Jay-Z's Experian Credit Score or his current stock portfolio for 2007.
I wish he had executed his idea of a mature rap album better, because Lord knows rap needs maturity.
But the way it ended up turning out may very well set back the 40 year-old rapper movement for the rest of decade.
Jay's frightening drop along with a number of other factors conveys the reality that music is cannibalizing itself.
Critically no one is in agreement anymore, shit people can't even agree on what to think of the rap critics out there.
DallasPenn has the greatest dissection of Tom Breihan (a white hipster who appropriates and misspeaks about black culture like no one ever) that anyone could ask for.
This is rap critic who said this about a recent rap show,
- “Rap shows like this one are always sort of stressful in practice. You’re jammed into an extremely full room with a whole lot of dudes in hoodies, and it’s always somewhere in the back of your mind that you might jostle someone wrong or spill someone’s drink and start a fight; I see that happen constantly at these shows. The enormous BB King’s bouncer staff keeps kicking people out for smoking, and then the performers onstage tell everyone to smoke; you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen with that. And there’s never any place to sit or any vantage point where you’re not in someone else’s way. It takes a truly inspired performance to turn all that free-floating tension into catharsis. We didn’t get any inspired performances last night, but we did get some good ones, so that’s something.”
Translation from conflated hipster speak into English:
"I really hope these niggers don't beat me up because of my tight jeans."
Even the rappers who are trying to make cultural statements about the genre are confused.
Nas, whose new album "Hip-Hop Is Dead," could be a powerful statement about the status of rap music today sounds like his normal contradictory and pseudo-intellectual self when discussing what the album means.
In interviews he says he wants "to inspire one motherfucker to reach beyond a beef or going platinum" with Hip Hop Is Dead but always say that hip-hop "is over, so fuck it, exploit it and piss on it."
The whole confusing interview is over at Pitchfork.
Not to mention that because of CEO Carter, we have a whole slew of rap releases being crammed into December that will all probably eat each other's sales.
Between the Ghostface, Jeezy and Nas it's going to be a rough winter.
And Rap Top Ten lists are going to be a mess this year.