Russell Crow, Denzel Washington, Ridley Scott. Throw all three of ‘em in a movie, and sure it sounds like bait for a bevy of Oscar nominations. But for Jay-Z, those three artists’ forthcoming film was enough to have him turn in that AARP card one more time and get back into the studio. This November, Russell and Denzel team up on American Gangster, moving Jigga to record an entire LP of “inspired by” tracks.
The album, which his label plans to release in early November, came together over the past few weeks after Jay-Z was shown the film, directed by Ridley Scott, in which Denzel Washington portrays Frank Lucas, a early 1970s Harlem heroin kingpin.
In an hourlong telephone interview, Jay-Z, 37, who has spoken of spending his early years in Brooklyn both rapping and drug dealing, said that the movie had tremendous resonance for him and had sparked a burst of creative activity that even he found surprising. He has already recorded nine tracks, almost every one prompted by a specific scene.
?It was like I was watching the film, and putting it on pause, and giving a back story to the story,? he said.
?It immediately clicked with me,? said Jay-Z, who has made passing references to gangster movies in previous recordings but has never delved so deeply into the genre. ?Like ?Scarface,? or any one of those films, you take the good out of it, and you can see it as an inspiring film.?
It’s not a soundtrack, per se; the filmmakers wanted a more “authentic ’70s feel” to the music. So Jay offered to make a separate album. Trailer looks good! And features “Heart Of The City”…
No cross-promo deals struck just yet, but expect one — if anything, Sean Carter’s a good business man. Common, T.I., and RZA make cameos, too. American Gangster (the movie) is out 11/2, album TBA.