It is surprising that a lot of the major music magazines have not mentioned that this is a really mellow album, especially for a “comeback” record.
To make it clear, there are the club bangers like “Oh My God” and “Kingdom come,” but especially on the latter half on Hova’s return, the tempos are down and the bass lines are accentuated forming a series of relaxed grooves. Kingdom Come is more of a record to sit back with your lady instead of scream the lyrics out from your sunroof.
This is where a lot of the mixed reviews have come from, if you have read anything else regarding this long-awaited release. No, it is not typical Jay-Z. No it, is not another Reasonable Doubt. This album is beyond trying to prove anything to the audience because it was not made for the public — it was made by a man worth $300 million who just loves making music.
Subsequently, the motif that separates this from Shawn Carter‘s previous works is concentrated self-reflection on the events following his retirement three years ago, how he has come up in the world, and other themes which include his relationship with Beyonce, Hurricane Katrina and the recent death of his nephew.
The record was not released because he was under a contract or because his title of being the world’s greatest MC was ever in jeopardy, but because he cannot get away from the music process. The album gives his career an expanded platform to move on, and though I personally hope he does not continue down this path much longer, he is still Jay-z and we are still better off having him in the game.