Today is the 10 year anniversary of Jay-Z’s 10th studio album American Gangster. If the title sounds familiar, he dubbed it after the popular 2007 film with the same name.
The release of this album however was interesting. He initially had it pulled from the iTunes store and still debuted at #1 on Billboard, selling over 425,000 in the first week. This was seen as the comeback after his Kingdom Come album.
“It’s a New York City true story, you know. So as soon as the movie came on, it was like familiar, things that my pop seen and my uncles seen and, you know, different things like that, things I’ve seen growing up. So they resonated with me in a way, the story, as well as, I mean, even though everything happens, you know, the way it turns out, you know, it’s one of those movies that where you champion the bad guy, because the bad guy, you know, he don’t seem like a bad guy, and the good guy — I mean the good guys are bad. You know, that complex — the complexity of human beings in this thing was amazing to me. I loved the complexity of the human beings”.
- Jay-Z on American Gangster via The Charlie Rose Show
Production came from Diddy & the Hitmen, Just Blaze, and the Neptunes for the most part. It was an idea at Def Jam Records that every video be almost like a short film telling a story. They felt like it would make sense since this was a concept album.
The main single is one of the more popular Jay-Z songs and one of my favorites, The Roc Boys (And The Winner Is). The video is flooded with big names in the industry and is just all around a good time because after all, it is a celebration.
Happy 10 year anniversary to Hov’s American Gangster!