Jay-Z walks the line: the Brooklyn rapper has been the wealthy king of pop-rap since before MTV switched to reality shows, and yet the man who calls himself the black Warren Buffet still has more street cred than a bus full of felons headed to the big house. His resiliency in the short-attention-span world of mainstream rap is a thing of wonder, or perhaps we just fail to see the marketing impetus behind some of his recent endeavors? In 2002, he collaborated with known pervo R. Kelly on a terrible album called The Best of Both Worlds. The tour that followed nearly a year and a half later was a farce, with an emotionally unstable Kelly causing commotion and ultimately bailing out on his contract after alleging one of Jay-Z's people sprayed him with mace. But Jay-Z popped out of the experiment with more publicity than ever, and his next trick was a classic: he announced that his eighth record (The Black Album) would be his last. Turns out rap fans love a retirement (wink, wink) party as much as KISS fans, and the single-heavy album dominated the charts. And not too many rappers of Jay-Z's stature bother releasing a cappella versions of their albums, but Z gave a nod to the DJs and did just that. What followed was a perfect snapshot of how business stifles art, and then tries to manufacture what it suppressed, only to have it turn out like shit. LA-based DJ Danger Mouse took the lyrics-only version of the black album and put it over a patchwork of sounds he reconstructed using music from the Beatles' white album. The resulting Grey Album was an illegal masterpiece.Though its very limited production was quickly stopped by a buncha suits, the popularity of the mash-up had Jay-Z seeing dollar signs. So keeping to the sly pattern of working with artists half as talented as him, Jay-Z chose to do a legal, MTV-sponsored mash-up EP with Linkin Park. Now we know what the bland rock group would sound like if they had a real rapper, and Jay-Z has a whole new market of fans. (Michael Coyle)
JAY-Z AND LINKIN PARK AS PART OF MUSIC FOR RELIEF: REBUILDING SOUTHEAST ASIA WITH BLINK-182, NO DOUBT, OZZY OSBOURNE, STORY OF THE YEAR, CRYSTAL METHOD AND JURASSIC 5 AT THE ARROWHEAD POND OF ANAHEIM, 2695 E. KATELLA AVE., ANAHEIM, (714) 704-2500. FRI. CALL FOR TIME.. $85-$125. ALL AGES.
For the most part, a hip-hop artist from the Midwest is not as exciting as it once was, and Chingy is feeling the changing fad personally. So what happens then? In Chingy's case, you make a dis song with beats that sound like they fell out of FruityLoops and leak it on the Internet. Then you call a press conference and officially throw a dis at Nelly. Finally, you sing at the Lingerie Bowl. With sales of his latest release, Power Ballin, less then spectacular compared to his first album, Jack Pot(which was carried by hit singles "Right Thurr" and "Holidae In") Chingy's entourage should be looking for day jobs. Much like the clothes that clog your closet, Chingy's Power Ballinoffers nothing exciting and nothing so old it's cool. Instead, it's just stuff, a product of the computer generation in which anybody with a CD burner can make an album. And not even that cool stuff your little brother might make, like mixing the Beat Junkies over George Carlin. Just something deep-pocketed record labels put out in hopes of getting at least one hot song on the radio. But nothing has managed to grab listeners yet. Remember when rap songs had a story, and when MC Shan would rhyme more than one verse before Marley Marl hit you with the hook? Nah? Well, neither does Chingy. But maybe he'll learn. (Charlie Rose)
CHINGY WITH WARREN G AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES, 1530 S. DISNEYLAND DR., ANAHEIM, (714) 778-BLUE; WWW.HOB.COM. FRI., 8 P.M. $36-$38. ALL AGES.
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