Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kingdom Come

Posted on Thu, Nov 30, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Kingdom Come
Label: Def Jam
Length: LP
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Kingdom Come

The rap nation turned its lonely eyes to a retired Jay-Z when a clogged line of hopeful next big things proved fruitless over the last couple of years. Instead of triumphantly reclaiming his throne, however, the God MC has modestly and clumsily taken a number and moved to the middle of the crowd. In the opening of this rushed comeback, Jay sounds understandably rusty but enthusiastic on the boozy, Joplin- sampling 'Oh My God,â?� and the almost-great title track. But Jay and producer Just Blaze stumble by the fourth track, 'Show Me What You Got,â?� and impossibly, the entire album derails before it really begins.

An appallingly bad lead single, 'Show Me� has a Vegas swing that is all wrong for Jay's Blue Note flow. The clunky chorus, 'Show me what you got, purdy lady/Now wave!� should be coming from Will Ferrell's mouth, not from the best rapper alive. That track begins a string of increasingly damaging miscalculations. Three Dr. Dre tracks showcase the master producer's newly revealed bland side, and the remaining songs range from cringe-worthy to embarrassing. Kanye coughs up one C-level beat for his old mentor, and an ice-cold Neptunes team makes Jigga sound exactly like the out-of-touch executive so many claim he's become. Jay's girlfriend, Beyoncé, joins him for a passionless, disingenuous condemnation of 'Hollywood� with a droning chorus that could pass as musical theater for zombies.

It seems implausible that a professional like Jay-Z wouldn't know Kingdom Come is bad, and by album's end he seems to be grasping for the same answers his fans will be seeking: 'I made it possible for niggaz to make history/How is this possible/Please explain this to me/How is it logical?â?�

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