American Gangster – Jay Z – 8.5

Inspired by the Denzel Washington film of the same title, American Gangster sparked Jay Z’s return to form back in 2007. Influenced by the rags to riches story of real life New York kingpin Frank Lucas, Hov made an album that blew Kingdom Come out of everyone’s minds and delivered a reminder of what a great Jay Z album sounds like, confident and clever rhymes over some fantastic upbeat production. On this album Jay sounds so energised and inspired throughout that listening to this album becomes infectious and joyful. This really is a significant factor for this album because to hear Jay sound so fresh and downright happy throughout an entire album, it’s good to hear. It may not have its classic standout tracks like 99 Problems or Dirt Off Your Shoulder, but the tracklist of American Gangster is just so consistently great and doesn’t lose flow at all. It’s just a shame we went from this to the Blueprint 3. In a 15 track album we only get three guest features, first of which is Lil Wayne on Hello Brooklyn 2.0. It’s 2007 Wayne so it’s obviously great. Jay has a good back and forth with Beanie Sigel just before Nas offers a nice verse on Success. Overall this is a very pleasant and somewhat underrated album in Jay Z’s rollercoaster discography, one that deserves to be listened too.

1. Intro – N/A
2. Pray – 9
3. American Dreamin’ – 8.4
4. Hello Brooklyn 2.0 – 9
5. No Hook – 8.7
6. Roc Boys – 8.5
7. Sweet – 8.2
8. I Know – 8.1
9. Party Life – 8.3
10. Ignorant Shit – 8.5
11. Say Hello – 8.4
12. Success – 8.6
13. Fallin’ – 8.5
14. Blue Magic – 8.7
15. American Gangster – 8.4