Jay-Z Spins a Gangster Tale

EW enjoys concept album loosely based on Scott's film
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2007 11:23 AM CDT
Jay-Z at the 2007 MTV VMAs   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – ''Believe half of what you see/None of what you hear/Even if it's spat by me,'' declares hip-hop mogul Jay-Z on his new record American Gangster, framing himself and other rappers as "actors." Entertainment Weekly finds the record, titled and themed after the Ridley Scott film, diverse and satisfying.

While not a literal interpretation of the Frank Lucas story, Jay-Z's colorful self-aggrandizement loosely follows the rise and fall of the drug kingpin, with period song samples to flesh out the mood. EW enjoys both standard throwbacks like "We Need it Now," noting "nobody flips a drug-trafficking metaphor better," and tracks featuring the "sparse, programmed beats" of the Neptunes and No I.D.