"Blue Magic" entered the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at number 35 this week, and since its release your favorite bloggers and everyone else has put their two cents in concerning Jay-Z's American Gangster album. But Def Jam has been relatively quiet on the subject. In an interview with Billboard, Def Jam's Senior VP of Marketing Tracey Waples confirmed reports that Denzel Washington, who stars in American Gangster, lobbied unsuccessfully for Jay-Z to create an official motion picture soundtrack, before being shot down by Brian Grazer. Waples also explained how the label plans to promote the project.
"We're in talks to be a part of the future movie trailers," said Waples. "But we're going to do a very aggressive street campaign promoting the album and the soundtrack in and around the movie theaters the week of release. American Gangster is akin to Streets Is Watching with a modern-day balance through the online component. We're expecting to reach both a new younger and older demographic, along with the loyal 30-plus crowd through the American Gangster film association."
Waples also explained that Def Jam plans to release a mini-film for each song. Depending on the initial responses the first short could be aired in theaters, with others following online, in an effort to create a dialogue with fans. Should the formula succeed, it wouldn't be the first time Def Jam/Roc-a-Fella used a film tie-in to boost an album's sales. According to Nielson Soundscan, the Streets Is Watching compilation sold 348,000 copies when paired with the direct video release, while Beanie Sigel's The B. Coming sold 292,000 copies in 2005 when it was released in conjunction with State Property.
For those who haven't already seen it, Jay-Z gives his explanation of the album in a call to DJ Clue at Power 105 in the clip below from ClueTV.