Less than a year after Jay-Z’s
“comeback” album Kingdom Come, the
president of Def Jam has hit the
studio to record his first “concept” album. Inspired by the upcoming Denzel Washington / Russell Crowe film with the same title;
American Gangster. A Ridley Scott
directed film that portrays the life of Frank
Lucas, a 1970’s heroin kingpin out of Harlem.
In a recent interview with The New York Times Jay
revealed that the film sparked his creative side; leading to nine recorded
tracks, in which almost everyone was impelled by specific scenes in the movie. “It was like I was watching the film, and
putting it on pause, and giving a back story to the story,” he noted.
After Brian Grazer (the film’s producer) and Scott resisted
grabbing Jay-Z for the film’s
soundtrack, Jay offered to put out
his own album in association with the movie; while Def Jam will take care of the official soundtrack (including songs
from the Staple Singers, Bobby Womack and Sam & Dave).
“Watching that film,
it brought back all these memories … It took me back to those emotions,” Jay said and while stating that American Gangster will be a return to
the gritty, uncensored view of life on the streets.
Throughout the interview Jay was said to be elated about his creative process while
repeatedly interrupting himself to mouth lyrics like the following, from a
track entitled No Hook…
“Poor me, dad was
gone, finally got my dad back/ liver bad, he wouldn’t live long, it snatched my
And the following from another track…
“This is the genesis of a nemesis/ mother America’s not
witnessed since/ the Harlem Renaissance/ birthed black businesses”
Be sure to check out the first single (produced by Pharrell) Blue Magic in HipHopDX's audio section!