American Gangster
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2007
Great cd deff better than kingdom come. however he bites off rakim on blue magic way to much. still ill though.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2013
My son is a fan and this is the one CD that he didn't have in his collection. I was a hit for his birthday.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2008
Its a okay cd. Not jay's best by any means. I think it was rushed. I wouldnt buy this over again.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2007
Not long after his "comeback" album Kingdom Come, Jay-Z hits us with a newer album American Gangster. This album has more lively production than his previous LP, making it a plus. Although Jay-Z's lyrics are really nothing to write home about, he still drop something great from time to time.

A few of my favorites on this album would be "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)", before BET played it into the ground. "Ignorant ****" is a classic track that features Beanie Sigel, with a nice sped up Ronald Isley sample. "Success" featuring Nas is another great track. "Fallin'" has some great production, which I enjoy as well. Some of the songs I'm not feeling is "Hello Brooklyn" with Lil' Wayne's phoned in verse. "No Hook" is another forgettable song in my opinion.

Overall American Gangster, is an excellent album. It does exceed Kingdom Come (which was a good album as well). With producers like Kanye West, Sean "Diddy" Combs, No I.D., and Pharrell, you have an excellent produced album. If you like Jay-Z, more than likely you'll find this as one of his better albums throughout his career. Peace.

Lyrics: B
Production: A-
Guest Appearances: B-
Musical Vibes: B+

Top 5 Songs:
1. Ignorant **** (featuring Beanie Sigel)
2. Fallin'
3. Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)
4. Success (featuring Nas)
5. American Gangster

Honorable Mention:
1. Say Hello
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2007
Kingdom Come was over your head so you call it garbage. No, you just aren't intelligent enough to interpret.

When I buy an album where an artist speaks on a subject manner that gives me goosebumps (Fallin track #13), you have to give kudos or you are just a hater

People are gonna hate but in reality this is one of Jay's best albums
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2007
Since 1996, when he released his debut CD Reasonable Doubt, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, has been putting it down pretty much every year. My favorite tracks from "Reasonable Doubt" ended up being "Can I Live", "Can't Knock The Hustle" w/Mary J. Blige, "D'Evils" which was produced by DJ Premier, and "Brooklyn's Finest", a memorable collaboration between Jay-Z and the late, great Notorious BIG. 1997's "In My Lifetime Volume 1" was definitely influenced by Sean "Puffy" Combs with tracks like "Sunshine" and "I Know What Girls Like" w/Lil Kim, however, Jay-Z still managed to bring us some of the flavor from "Reasonable Doubt" with tracks like "Where I'm From", "Imaginary Player", "You Must Love Me", "Streets Is Watching" and "A Million & One Questions/Rhyme No More". Jay-Z clearly was affected by the passing of his friend Notorious BIG, but he still managed to put out a well rounded CD. A year later, Jay-Z was back again with Vol. 2, Hard Knock Life. The 1st official single, "Hard Knock Life" created a heavy buzz for this CD, as well as, the fact that "Money Ain't A Thing", which was on Jermaine Dupri's "Life In 1472" CD, "Can I Get A..." w/Ja Rule, was featured on the Rush Hour soundtrack and "It's Alright" was featured on the Streets Is Watching soundtrack, were also featured on this CD. My personal favorites included "If I Should Die" w/Da Ranjahz, "Jigga What, Jigga Who" w/Jaz and "Reservoir Dogs" w/The LOX, Sauce Money & Beanie Sigel. In 1999, Jay-Z returned with "Volume 3: Life & Times Of Shawn Carter". My favorites included the 1st single, "Do It Again" w/Beanie Sigel, "So Ghetto" and the 4 tracks that Timbaland produced on this CD: "It's Hot", "Big Pimpin' w/UGK, "Come & Get Me" and "Snoopy Track" which featured Juvenile on the hook. In 2000, Jay-Z released, what ended up being more of a collaborative CD between Jay, Beanie Sigel & Memphis Bleek, "The Dynasty: Roc La Familia". My favorite tracks were "This Can't Be Life" w/Jay, Beanie & Scarface, "Soon You'll Understand", "1-900-Hustler" w/Freeway, "Change The Game" and the 1st single, "I Just Wanna Love U". 2001 brought us The Blueprint, which clearly should be in most people's Top 3 Jay-Z albums. My favorite tracks were "Takeover", which lyrically challenged Mobb Deep's longevity and the fact that Jay-Z thought that "Illmatic" was the only CD of Nas with any relevance, which wasn't true, "Renagade" w/Eminem, "U Don't Know", "Song Cry" and "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)". 2002 brought us the double CD, "Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse". There were many good songs on this release, but they were clearly overshadowed by the filler tracks that were on both CDs. Some of them being unbearable at times. My favorite tracks were "The Watcher 2" w/Dr. Dre, Rakim & Truth Hurts, "Poppin' Tags" w/Big Boi, Killer Mike & Twista, "Excuse Me Miss", "Hovi Baby", "Meet The Parents", "Some How, Some Way" w/Beanie Sigel & Scarface, and the remix to "U Don't Know" w/MOP. 2003 brought us what was supposed to be Jay-Z's last CD in The Black Album. I figured that Jay-Z would just take a break and come back, which he did of course, but "The Black Album" is definitely one of my favorite Jay-Z CDs of all time. My favorites included "What More Can I Say?", "Allure", "Lucifer", "Moment Of Clarity" and "My 1st Song". 3 years later, Jay-Z returned with Kingdom Come. I personally liked the CD because at the time, it seemed that was the place where Jay-Z saw himself at that point of his career. Fans expected to get another "Reasonable Doubt" 10 years later and he wasn't ready to release that type of CD at that moment.

Well ladies and gentlemen, less than a year later, that moment has arrived with "American Gangster". Jay-Z either did his research on Frank Lucas or he was able to get a very advanced copy of the movie. The reason why I say this is that Jay-Z does an A+ job of merging "Reasonable Doubt", which were the true life and times of Shawn Carter before he started rapping, the life and times of Frank Lucas and several events that happened throughout the movie "American Gangster". Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) from The Wire, who is also a DJ by the way, gets things started along with Angel Wood by providing the intro and Jay-Z takes over from there. As reviewer "Josephll" stated, "Pray" gives you a clear indication of what to expect from this release. Beyonce provides the spoken words, the lovely Cheri Dennis, along with Shannon Jones provide the haunting "Pray For Me" on the background vocals and Jay-Z gives you various moments that happened when he was a hustler and he manages to capture the moment of various scenes in the movie "American Gangster". This is definitely my favorite song on this CD. He also shows you that he was listening to Kanye's "Graduation" CD as he points out that "Everything I seen, made me Everything I Am". "American Dreamin'" clearly has an old school feel to it as the production of Diddy, yes Diddy, LV & Sean C (Grind Music) make excellent use of an oldie but goodie with Marvin Gaye's "Soon I'll Be Loving You Again". The track doesn't do as good of a job of storytelling as "Pray" did but it's still a track worth listening to. I was surprised that Jay-Z featured Lil Wayne on "Hello Brooklyn 2.0" but the more I listen to the track, the more that I like the song. It probably would have been better if Lil Wayne hadn't had 26 mixtapes and 175 guest appearances this year..lol "No Hook" has Jay-Z bringing up several events that led to the fact of why he was hustlin' in the streets in the first place. His father basically played no role in his life at all and the streets kept callin' until he finally answered. He does his best to characterize this as a street anthem as he says this is not for commercial usage and to not call it music. "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is...) is the 2nd single from "American Gangster" and features a "sick" horn sample that Grind Music used from "Make The Road By Walking" by The Menahan Street Band. Even your great uncle will be doing a 2 step to this track as Jay-Z celebrates all of the success from the benefits of being a hustler. "Sweet" continues where "Roc Boys" left off at a slower place as you may blink and think you're actually listening to a rap version of the "Superfly" soundtrack instead of "Amercian Gangster". This is another stellar production from Grind Music. The Neptunes stop by to bring us "I Know". Hopefully, you won't think this song is actually about a female. Jay-Z does a good job of disguising what the real meaning of the song is, which in my opinion, is about how much people actually need "blue magic" and the affects on them if they don't have it at the current time or if they are fighting the addiction of it. I hate to keep bringing this up but Grind Music clearly have outdone themselves with the production on "Party Life". Jay-Z goes back to his "Imaginary Player" days as he officially shuts things down with "Ya Boy is Off The Wall, These other n______ is Tito". "Ignorant S____" features Beanie Sigel as Just Blaze, who has produced several Jay-Z classics and one of my all time favorite Jay-Z collaborations with Freeway & Beanie Sigel, "What We Do", samples The Isley Brothers' "Between The Sheets" for one of my favorite tracks on this CD. One reason why I like this track so much is that when you hear this sample you are use to hearing Biggie and his anthem for the ladies "Big Poppa". Just Blaze samples a different part of "Between The Sheets" to create a track that would pass for being a street anthem, especially with Jay's and Beanie's lyrics on the track. "Say Hello" is another nice track that is produced by DJ Toomp, who produced TI's "What You Know" and Kanye West's "Big Brother" from Kanye's "Graduation" CD. "Success" is produced by NO ID and Jermaine Dupri and features another track that has Jay-Z and Nas on the track. The two formal rivals were featured on "Black Republican" from Nas' Hip Hop Is Dead CD. Both of these tracks are stellar collaborations, in my opinion, but some fans expected better results from songs that featured Jay-Z & Nas. "Fallin'" is also produced by NO ID and Jermaine Dupri as Bilal joinis in to deliver some nice vocals this time around. "Fallin"" would have been perfect in the movie when Frank decided to leave the officer the turkey at his doorstep and then all of a sudden the officer's car blows up shortly thereafter. Frank Lucas knew that would come back to get him in the end. "Blue Magic" is the 1st single but oddly it appears as a bonus track. Regardless, when you hear the Neptunes track thumping in your speakers and Jay's slick slang on the track, the last thing you will worry about is whether it's a single or a bonus track. The title track closes thing out, however, Just Blaze shouldn't have came up with a track that sounds too much like "Show 'Em What You Got".

Overall, as I stated before, Jay-Z does an A+ job of merging "Reasonable Doubt", the real life and times of Frank Lucas and the events that happened during the course of the movie "American Gangster". I personally feel that "American Gangster" is right up there with "Reasonable Doubt", "The Blueprint" and "The Black Album", which are my 3 favorite Jay-Z CDs. Lyrically, Jay-Z shows that he is still deserved to be in the conversation with the best rappers today. I am not talking about the MTV list that had Jim Jones and other non lyrical rappers that find their ways up the popularity charts these days. I am talking about legitimate lyricists in 2007 like Jay-Z, Nas, Common, Phonte from Little Brother, Talib Kweli, etc. If you have been a fan of the majority of Jay-Z's releases, you should also add "American Gangster" to your collection.

James' Top 5

1) Pray
2) Ignorant S____ w/Beanie Sigel
3) Sweet
4) Success w/Nas
5) Party Life

Honorable Mention:

Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)
No Hook
Say Hello
Blue Magic
Fallin' w/Bilal
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2007
Even listening to the album once you know that it's not another Kingdome Come!!!! Jay-Z is clearly going in a totally new direction after his comeback, so comparing with previous works is difficult... The album has some good tunes and a chill tone to it! New flows and a variety of beats... Definitely worth buying!!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Jay-Z has now retired 3 times and he still keeps coming out with CD's. I love Jay-Z but this album is very sub-par. The Bass is too much and the syntheisizer is used to often. His music is way to simple and his flow just doesn't. There is no method to his flow like Kanye and Eminem's There is on hit in Roc Boys. It all just sounds the same. I would like to hear Jay-Z slow it down a bit. I think he makes these songs while bored and throws them on a CD and puts it out. Jay either take more time with tracks or stay retired. The time of LOUD BASS and suppar FLOW is gone. Don't listen to me listen to the numbers because you won't come close to the Junior Albums of 50 and Kanye Not even close.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2007
Jay-Z's latest album, American Gangster, is a great addition to his already impressive catalogue. To me, there are two kinds of Jay-Z:

1. The lyrical assassin

2. The lackadaisical lyricist

With American Gangster, we find that hunger that he had when creating Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. Although this CD may not feature the signature party tracks every Jay-Z CD is used to, it does have many entertaining songs that feature some of Jay-Z's best lyrics to date. Here is a track breakdown:

1 . Intro: 3/5 Standard intro that sets the tone for the album, showing the true meaning of a gangster.

2. Pray: 5.5 Produced by Diddy and his cohorts, this track is crazy. Not only is the beat amazing, but Jay-Z's lyrics are on point. "Turned crack rock into a chain of 40/40s." This song shows his transition from gangster to entrepreneur, and asks for you to pray for his sins.

3. American Dreamin': 4.3/5 A very soulful track talking about selling crack and trying to get out of the ghetto, dreaming of something better. "We need a place to pitch/we need a mound". Not as catchy as Pray, but still a good track nonetheless.

4. Hello Brooklyn 2.0: 3.8/5 This song doesn't really fit on the album, but it still isn't half bad. Lil' Wayne's flow and verse could be much better, especially judging from some of the great stuff he has put out the past couple years. Jay's verse is better, and saves the song from being a complete mess.

5. No Hook: 4.7/5 Great track. Jay talks about his father and how the streets were his second home. "Hustle hard in any hustle that you pick". This song is about hustling by any means necessary, no matter what you are doing.

6. Roc Boys (And The Winner Is....): 5/5 Jay's 2nd single the closest thing to a club song you'll find on this album. The beat sounds like it comes from a cop show from the 70's, and it totally works. It's a celebration song, and works great in the context of the album.

7. Sweet: 4/5 This song feels like filler. It still has good lyrics, but the chorus is boring and makes the song worse than it could be.

8. I Know: 4.3/5 Another Neptunes track, this is a pretty chill track. "She wants those heroine tracks". It's a song for the ladies, but still has a gangster feel to it.

9. Party Life: 4.5/5 "Papa was a rolling stone/it's in my ancestry". This is another laid back song with Jay letting in some of that lazy flow. His lyrics are still on point, but it's another track for the ladies.

10. Ignorant S***: 4.6/5 This was originally going to be on The Black Album, and Jay switched up the lyrics to address Imus and annoying celebrities. Along with Beanie Sigel, Jay lets go some vicious lyrics "Scarface the movie did more than Scarface the rapper to me/so that ain't to blame for all the s***'s that happened to me".

11. Say Hello: 5/5 Another one of my favorite tracks. It has a great chorus and the lyrics flow perfectly with the beat. "They say I'm a menace/that's the picture they paint/ they say a lot about me/let me tell you what I ain't." Great wordplay.

12. Success: 5/5 What can I say about a Jay track with Nas? It's great. My favorite line is spit by Nas: "Google Earth Nas/I got flats in other continents".

13. Fallin': 5/5 The inevitable fall of his empire, Jay channels Frank Lucas in this track. It talks about his obsession with selling drugs and how he can't stop until they catch him. "Can't blow too hard, life's a deck of cards". The whole track is great.

Bonus Tracks:

14. Blue Magic: 5/5 I don't know why Jay didn't think this track fit on the album. The beat is great and Jay flows over it really well. "Can't you tell that I came from the dope game?"

15. American Gangster: 4.2/5 Solid track, but a little too upbeat for the last track of an album about the rise and fall of a drug dealer.

Overall, this CD is very impressive. It shows Jay at his lyrical best, painting vivid imagery while still making the music entertaining to listen too. I highly recommend it to anyone that likes Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. This CD solidifies Jay's presence as a legend in the game. Even after 9 number 1 albums, he can still show the tenacity that he exhibited on his first record.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2007
Just buy the album and support real Hip-Hop! With all the nonsense that is currently flooding MTV and BET it's refreshing that Jay-Z isn't swayed by the snappin' and all the corny dances coming out(Crank Dat Superman anyone?) The album is another stellar effort by Jay. The production has a definite theme throughout the album and it makes everything "feel" like it belongs. The only stumble on the disc is the horrible rap-singing that Lil' Wayne does on Hello Brooklyn. Besides that every song has lyrics that will have you rewinding the tracks for another listen!! Support the real!
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