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Jay-Z's Kingdom Come: A Joint WIRTB



By @TrueGodImmortal & @SpeedontheBeat 




Tracklist 
1. The Prelude 
2. Oh My God
3. Kingdom Come
4. Show Me What You Got 
5. Lost One
6. Do You Wanna Ride 
7. 30 Something
8. I Made It 
9. Anything
10. Hollywood 
11. Trouble
12. Dig A Hole
13. Minority Report 
14. Beach Chair 

Today, we're taking a different approach to WIRTB, as True and Speed combine to bring you a much more intricate reading experience. With Jay-Z and his official "comeback" album from retirement, many have said this was his worst project and have criticized it as being more about flash and flare, than actual content. With that, True is going to talk about what he felt was good about the team, while Speed will break down the bad. At the conclusion of this, we will render a final verdict on if this album was really THAT bad.

The Good
By @TrueGodImmortal
-You know I didn't really understand the purpose of this album when I first heard it. I respect Jay as an artist, a legend and I see him as one of the greatest, if not the best. I was skeptical upon hearing that Jay was coming back from "retirement", but hopeful considering the output of verses he released during his retirement (Best of Both Worlds 2 never happened). I expected Jay to give us "Dear Summer" glory, combined with the focus and precision that his verses on the remixes of "Go Crazy" and "Diamonds" gave us. When the album released, I went to the store that very day and purchased the deluxe edition CD. I would end up listening to the album instantly and I swore we were in for such a treat just based off the intro.

"The Prelude" is a flawless intro, with Jay speaking directly to hip hop and some of the artists he may be in competition with at the present moment. The production is honestly smooth and might be the best track on the entire album. Jay started off the album right and had all the momentum, but we really don't get a truly great track again until a few songs ahead with the poignant and open "Lost One".

"Lost One" is one of those rare gems from Jay where you get to see a glimpse into his mind, his soul, and essentially his emotions. He addresses the Roc-A-Fella breakup and Dame Dash, has a verse that is directed at Beyonce seemingly, and talks candidly about his nephew dying in the car he bought. As Jay got older and seemed to mature as a businessman and artist, this is the growth I think we needed from him. The superhero aspect of Jigga was always good in his younger years, but this was a more refined and presumably more honest Jay-Z and it was honestly refreshing to see. We had seen him do this on "Song Cry" and a few other scarce tracks, but Jay is more emotional here and it works. He continues that with the ode to his imprisoned friend Emory, who he has referenced for years prior in other songs. John Legend and the knocking production from Kanye carry the song "Do U Wanna Ride", as Jay still managed to drop a few gems here and there on this song.

Admittedly, I enjoyed the soulful and celebratory vibe of "I Made It", and I find "Anything" to be hilarious and fun, despite the majority of listeners disliking this one. The song "Hollywood" honestly could have worked if it was executed better and had better production. It wasn't a terrible concept for a song, it was just executed wrong, though I actually felt like Beyonce was fine on the hook. The first single "Show Me What You Got" was pretty dope to me upon release and the sample was iconic. I think the verses are pretty standard for Jay, but overall this song definitely works and is a fun listen all around. I think the rest of the album suffers from poor production and not necessarily Jay being bad lyrically, as he shows up lyrically on songs like "Minority Report" and "Oh My God", but the production is bland on these tracks.

The final song on the album, "Beach Chair" is one of my favorites and a mark for where Jay likely WANTED to go musically overall, and his introspection on this song is top notch. We had gotten so used to Jay the hustler, the savvy business dude, the battle tested rapper and such that we forget Jay was great at making songs that could either tap into your emotions or tap into your mind. "Beach Chair" is the mark of a man who won at this game and is reflecting on life and everything that comes with it. It finishes off the album perfectly. So, as you see, contrary to belief, there are multiple moments of dopeness on what the average Jay fan calls his "worst album". Speed, you can take it from here.

The Bad 
By @SpeedontheBeat
-So, we're doing things a bit differently for this WIRTB Review. True, that lucky bastard, he got the good of Jay Z's 2006 "return" album Kingdom Come. Meanwhile, I'm Speed on the Beat and I review the crap so you don't have to.

When I first heard the album, I was in my freshman year of college. Drizzle Sez and I were rocking to it. It was a weird album, but ultimately, it was one which served its purpose. Jay was older and he wanted to--kind of--grow up musically. In that maturation, however, we got a lot of "ehhhh" moments. It's going to bounce around a bit since the album itself never really got any real concept going.

For instance, and I'm fully prepared to deal with the Bey Hive, "Hollywood" was just all over the place. It didn't know if it wanted to be a full-on rock-rap-meets-disco-tinged ode to the fuckery of Hollywood, a praising song of the "flashing lights," or just a throwaway Bey-and-Jay duet that attempted to recapture the "Crazy in Love" energy. I got the message and enjoyed the song the first time I heard it. However, there wasn't much to it to bring me back over and over. Perhaps it had to do with some of the cliched waxings Jay had on the track.

Eh.

"Anything," even with Usher and Pharrell, it fell flat for me. It reminded me, in some ways, of that LL Cool J song "Baby" where he was all "I don't care if they're real or fake/Put whipped cream on 'em and they taste like cake" or whatever. There's something about older artists dropping overly sexual, sexually-charged songs that kind of gets me. Like, dudes! Grow up! I don't wanna hear about how you can make a woman squirt or how you eat her fake titties like it's your birthday or whatever. I'm too busy doing that on my own.

Thankfully, Jay didn't go that route, but the song was just straight up "meh" central. It was a paint-by-numbers effort lyrically and sonically (the beat felt like a Neptunes throwaway that Pharrell and Jay were just like "fuck it. Let's call up URRRSHER and fuck around on this one."

Plus, it shares a name with a classic--and slightly underrated--Jay song from 1999, 2000. I know you knew what you were doing. I just wish you didn't do it. Now, every time I hear "Anything," I think "you know you know you know you're hot" versus Jay rapping on the Oliver! sample.

"Kingdom Come," the album's namesake, was powered by the Just Blaze beat. The song, lyrically, was just like "oh, aight. Jay's back." The simple--but powerful--"Super Freak" sample is what keeps this song in my rotation. In fact, I usually just play the instrumental version of the track and try to drop my own bars on it while driving.

There are points on the album where Jay sounds listless and uninspired and the songs reflect that. So, with all this discussed, what's the verdict on this album?

The Verdict
Speed: 
-All in all, though, the album wasn't really bad. It just felt unnecessary as hell. I always consider American Gangster to be his real comeback, to be honest. While both albums were retread central in terms of topics, at least AG did it in a way that was more relevant and it felt a lot more real and fresh. Kingdom Come always has that sort of "Get off my damn lawn" feel to it. But, even though it's not all that great, it's not Blueprint 3. That album was butt cheeks, I don't care what anyone says.

Yes, that even includes Jay. Hov, KC wasn't your worst. That will always go to BP3.

True:  
-I agree with Speed, honestly. I don't think this is Jay's worst album, but I do think in some cases, the album WAS really that bad. Songs like "Trouble" and "Dig A Hole" and even the old man anthem "30 Something"(while Jay was on the cusp of 40) are slightly embarrassing to listen to. Jay could have compiled a collection of 6 "Dear Summers", 3 "Lost Ones", and like 3 "Beach Chairs" and the album would have been quite amazing. Now, when I say that, obviously I'm saying that Jay should have more soulful powerful lyrical songs, more personal tracks that connect with the listener and more introspection on it. I mean the man was nearing 40 years old and I personally didn't want to hear a 40 year old man rapping "ooooo you so nasty" over a Pharrell production. Just no.

Was it really that bad? Yes and no. Was it as terrible as Blueprint 3? No. That sums it up.

-DAR 

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