Music Review: Kingdom Come

HOVA is back. The 36-year-old self-proclaimed, “Mike Jordan of recordin’” recently released his newest installment to the Roc-a-fella dynasty, ‘Kingdom Come.’ At first glance, this album falls obscenely short of it’s slam-dunk expectations. Yet how could this be? I expected something more, something better, from the undisputed King of New York. So I listened to the album again and discovered that ‘Kingdom Come’ shines a new light of depth, maturity, and rhetorical genius into the artist formerly known as Shawn Carter. Sure, some of the album stinks. Therefore, I felt it only fair to explore the more notable tracks on their own terms. In the words of E-40, “put ya stunna shades on” while I break this thing down. THE PRELUDE: 4 Stars Surprisingly, the exposition track proves itself as one of my favorites on the album. It defines the heart and soul of Hip-Hop. It has a top-notch beat with sheer lyrical cunning. Here, Jay reminisces on life before his fame, and how he came to be the massive star he is today. OH MY GOD: 2 Stars This song can be summarized using two words – absolute chaos. I rest my case. KINGDOM COME: 3 Stars SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT: 5 Stars Now, here is the Jay-Z we know and love! This song has graced my ears via iPod since the day of its release. HOVA demonstrates his irrefutable ability to not simply be on music’s cutting edge, but to redefine the phrase. This track uses a combination of a pulsating bass rhythm and a tasteful horn section to accomplish this lofty feat. According to the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Charts, I’m not alone in my infatuation with this tune. “Show Me What You Got” peaked at spot 3 on the chart. Mad Brick. LOST ONE: 5 Stars Jay’s collaboration with Dr. Dre generates the best track ‘Kingdom Come’ has to offer. Jay confesses the pains of fame and the struggles of losing his beloved nephew to a car accident. He also touches upon the subject of his relationship with Beyonce. This “Mike Jordan of recordin’” does not just hit a three pointer here, this track is a half court shot in overtime. DO YOU WANNA RIDE: 4 Stars Kanye West’s distinguishable beat is reminiscent of his career-shaping work for Jay on the Blueprint album (2001). Even John Legend drops by for the chorus. I love the beat, but the lyrics are simply unimpressive. 30 SOMETHING: 4 Stars In 30 Something, Jay-Z emphasizes his life experiences, acknowledges his mistakes – and yes, reaffirms that 30 years old is the new 20. I MADE IT: 3 Stars ANYTHING: 2 Stars Acclaimed producer Pharrell Williams really delivers a solid beat on this one. Sadly, the praise ends there. Jay’s below-par rhymes and Usher’s overpowering presence turn this track into a dud. Frankly, I feel the tune is entirely incongruous with the overall vibe of the album. HOLLYWOOD: 3 Stars TROUBLE: 3 Stars Under recent criticism by rappers who claim that he’s no longer “hood,” Jay offers this despondent attempt to preserve his ghetto status. In the world of Hip-Hop, which survives on street rep, I wonder – does he really care for his roots, or is this just an act to sell more records? DIG A HOLE: 1 Star Again Jay represents his hood status. Swizz-Beatz tries to come through, though fails – miserably. Advice: Dig a hole and bury this song for good. MINORITY REPORT: 4 Stars BEACH CHAIR: 5 Stars From start to finish, Jay’s lyrics are astonishingly prodigious. Hottest: Prelude, Show Me What You Got, Lost One, Beach Chair Coldest: Oh My God, Anything, Dig A Hole