The Internets are going nuts over the news that in November Jay-Z will return with a concept disc of songs inspired by the Denzel Washington flick American Gangster (in theaters Nov. 2). Jigga was granted an early preview of the movie, which chronicles the rise and downfall of reputed '70s Harlem heroin kingpin Frank Lucas, and it had a tremendous affect on Jay and sparked a creative run of songs. "It immediately clicked with me," Jay told the New York Times. "Like Scarface, or any one of those films, you take the good out of it, and you can see it as an inspiring film."
Initially, it was Denzel Washington's idea to have Jay-Z helm the American Gangster soundtrack, but the film's producer Brian Grazer thought it was unrealistic. "I just didn't think there'd be enough for Jay-Z to do," said Mr. Grazer, who felt the film needed more of a '70s-inspired soundtrack. (Def Jam is also releasing a soundtrack featuring classic '70s songs from the Staples Singers, Bobby Womack and others.)
So far, Jay has already recorded nine songs for the collection (due Nov. 6), which he says will reflect the grittier views of the drug life from which he came from before pursuing a career in rap. "Watching [American Gangster], it brought back all these memories,” he states. "It took me back to those emotions."
Jay-Z -- "Blue Magic" (produced by Pharrell Williams)
Meanwhile, up-and-coming filmmaker Rik Cordero has directed an awesome trailer for Jigga's new single. Rik's story on his meeting with Jigga about this trailer is even more compelling. Rik is a very creative director who has helmed such great music videos like Consequence's "Uncle Rahiem" (featuring DMC), Remy Ma's "Jump" and my personal favorite, Joell Ortiz's "Brooklyn Bullshit."
"Blue Magic" (Trailer) -- Directed by Rik Cordero
I have often stated on other hip-hop blogs, that Rik is the next "Hype Williams" -- meaning that you will see Rik's vision on MTV and BET real soon and it's going to be amazing. Rik has a great eye for detail and I'm waiting for him to get the opportunity to blow up to a wider audience. In fact, Hype Williams reportedly is helming the clip for "Blue Magic." This, in my opinion, is a big mistake. I just believe that Jay needs a street-edge video and I think that Rik and his team could give him that "urban-style" imagery he needs to make the single pop. A glossy, highly stylized video may not work for this song.
But who knows? Maybe in the future, we will get to see a Jigga and Rik collaboration.
And when it does happen . . . I'm quite sure it's going to be magic.