Four years after announcing his retirement, Def Jam CEO Shawn ”Jay-Z” Carter, 37, is back in the rap game — again — with Nov. 6’s American Gangster , inspired by the film of the same name. (The ’70s-set movie follows the rise and fall of a Harlem heroin kingpin.) Though still recording, Jay debuted some tracks for us.
”Pray” ”[The CD] starts with a kid looking into the game,” Jay explains. That translates into an ominously slamming beat (one of several contributed by Sean ”Diddy” Combs) and street-smart boasts: ”Mindstate of a gangster from the ’40s/Meets the business mind of Motown’s Berry Gordy.”
”Roc Boys” ”It’s a celebration,” he says of this likely second single. Exultant horns erupt as Jay revels in a lifestyle funded by ill-gotten riches: ”Think rosé/think O.J./I get away with murder when I sling yey.”
”Ignorant S—” This provocative track, originally penned for 2003’s The Black Album, features a profanity-filled hook plus an all-new verse addressing the Don Imus controversy. ”Imus is a racist,” Jay says of the song. ”F— him.”
”Success” Kanye West mentor No I.D. produced this cut about growing disillusioned with new wealth. ”Truth be told, I had more fun when I was piss-poor,” Jay reflects over an organ riff. Still to come: a guest verse from former rival Nas.