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You all can wear sneakers on the beach if you want to

Oh. My. God. Hov. Kingdom Come drops today. If you’re up on XXL Blogs, you already know that the consensus around here is that Jay-Z’s comeback is garbage. I’ve sat out the debate so far because, well, my fellow bloggers made some decent points. Nobody is going to try and argue that this is Hov’s best album. There’s no doubt that it’s missing something. The album could be more cohesive. The singles could be stronger (although, honestly, I’m really feeling “Kingdom Come”). There’s some filler tracks, to be sure. (See “Hollywood.”)

Still, I’m not convinced that this is his worst album yet. Even if it is, let’s be real: Jay on an off day is still miles ahead of [insert mad Dipset member] on his best day ever.

The breaking point for me came when I was flipping through a Toronto newspaper and discovered that a local reviewer gave Kingdom Come a rating of 1 out of 5. Come on. That’s just plain silly.

Obviously, the President Carter backlash is plugging up some people’s ears. Dudes are so busy praying for Jay’s downfall that they’re missing some key things that are working in favor of this project.

First of all, Jay knows how to make an album an event, and Kingdom Come is no exception. The energy and excitement and anticipation (and even the hate) that surround it make you want to hear this record. Badly. Second, people can front all they want to, but sooner or later they’re gonna have to admit that there’s lots of good material on this album. “Oh My God” is pure adrenaline. “Lost One” is about as moving as a rap record can be. The Katrina song, “Minority Report,” is so necessary. “30 Something” will likely be embraced by the legions of grown & sexy heads that are fed up with the snapping, and the rocking, and the leaning, and the chains hanging low, and whatnot.

There’s one more factor that deserves consideration. I keep hearing that females buy most of the albums these days. If that’s true, it would behoove everyone to remember that us females might just play a pivotal role in determining Hov’s success.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that most women don’t give a crap that Jay is 38. Or that he wears flip-flops. From a woman’s perspective, Jay isn’t an old man, he’s a grown-up. He dresses like a grown man, and he rhymes about grown man things. He has a grown man job and looks like he’s in a grown man relationship. Instead of endlessly bickering with other rappers, he’s out in Africa drawing attention to the world water crisis. He isn’t afraid to show his emo side on wax. “Big Pimpin” aside, he knows how to make a hit record that us females feel comfortable shaking our asses to. And he can rap circles around pretty much anyone else alive.

When you compare him to a slightly younger hothead like Jim Jones (a.k.a. The Dirt Angel)—who can’t rap worth shiite, perpetually looks like he’s been on a two week bender, is always gunning for a fight, and thinks that barking some lame-ass catchphrase over a beat constitutes hot hip-hop—it’s not too hard to figure out who’s going to come out on top here.

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