On this day, November 21, in hip-hop history…
2006: Breaking his word but exciting his fans, Jay Z came out of retirement in 2006 with his album, Kingdom Come. At the end of the of the video for “99 Problems,” the last single off of Jay Z’s 2003 retirement album, The Black Album, Jay Z was shot down, representing the death of Jay Z and the rebirth of Shawn Carter. The idea for the album’s title came from Jay Z’s production engineer, Young Guru. A comic book fanatic, Young Guru told Jay Z about the graphic novel, Kingdom Come, where Superman comes out of retirement to show the younger generation of superheroes how to be real heroes. This storyline was similar to what Jay Z was doing with this album; coming out of retirement and showing the new rappers how rapping is really done.
The album featured production from previous collaborators Kanye West, Just Blaze, Swizz Beatz, and the Neptunes, while also featuring new comers B-Money, Scyience, and DJ Khalil. Dr. Dre also played a large part on the album, producing four songs and mixing the entire album. Chris Martin from Coldplay also produced the song “Beach Chair” which featured his guest vocals.
The album was a commercial success, selling 680,000 copies it its first week. This is Jay Z’s highest sales for a week to date. The album was also nominated for Best Rap Album of the Year at the 2008 Grammys. -Ariana LaBarrie