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A make or break album...

Published by Warren Dell under on Thursday, July 27, 2006
According to various reports Jay-Z will make an album after all. I'll give you a few moments to get over how much an out of the blue shock this news obviously is for you.

When he announced his retirement I thought he would have managed to refrain from releasing another album for longer than the two and a half years it's been. But I suppose with the artists on Def Jam hardly selling big the CEO is (apart from Kanye) the only A star artist who can go out and match those 50 Cent numbers.

This is a big album that will see Def Jam going for broke. If it doesn't become a critical success then people will question why Jay bothered returning, commercially if Jay doesn't sell big then expect some artists to be released to cover costs of the undoubted marketing bonanza that will be rolled out.

Artists like DMX and Camron voiced their concern when Jay took the hot seat, and I'd expect more discontent from the remaining artists who may have their releases scheduled around the same time. Since Jay retired those artists have been striving to fill the gap with the added pressure of that gap being vacated by their new boss. It could easily be taken as an indirect diss that on being unhappy with sales numbers from Ghostface and the unpredictable forecast of the upcoming Roots and Lupe Fiasco figures, Def Jam's acocunts need a long player from Jay. You can guarantee a big difference in how much these albums have and will be pushed in comparison.

Sadly with all this on the line and the news leaked that Timbaland and The Neptunes are already working on tracks for the album, it looks like the material won't stray too far from the formula of his catalogue. What I'm sure the rap world would want to see in light of the Reasonable Doubt anniversary is material to match that, or at least deliver the album we were promised when he dropped his final for the time being fling, The Black Album.

The hype surrounding the album was building up all year with the promise of 12 solid tracks - one each from 12 of the best producers around. Yet sadly all we got was an album that lacked any cohesion and apart from the singles 99 Problems and Encore was a poor way to bow out.

On Moment Of Clarity he rapped 'truth be told I'd probably be/lyrically like Talib Kweli' well this album should be that one. To come out with another album talking about Cristal (Dom P) cash, clothes and wifey, would be a disjustice to himself and Hip-Hop. Instead make the album deep down he's always wanted and maybe surprise us a bit.

If Premo can make a pop hit for Christina Aguilera, then I'm sure he can ignite the passion to make a classic Hip-Hop record for Jay. Surely Dr. Dre owes Jay a favour for all that ghost writing, Kweli is hardly going to knock going toe to toe and maybe just maybe Memphis Bleek will actually hold the weed and leave the mic alone. Rick Rubin gave Jay his hardest sounding hit for years and would surely welcome working with him again.

Sadly, I expect something more on the lines of TRL crossovers, Beyonce choruses and another 'thanks for letting me spit 16 bars in return for holding your chain' verse from Bleek.

This album has more than a need for getting five mics and platinum plaques surrounding it - it's detrimental to the future of Def Jam. A lot of people in Hip-Hop get lamented for living in the past and craving those golden era's, but maybe a trip to the past will ignite a stale scene and help towards it's future...


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