Mick Boogie, who’s rightfully assumed the title of current best mixtape deejay, structures Superman Returns around the idea of Jay-Z as larger-than-life comic book hero, which he sort of is. The graphic novel title-jacking, the higher road-taking, the co-signing: Only Dr. Dre has reached this level of untouchability — the class-by-himself-ness — that Jay currently holds, where he can more or less do whatever he wants whenever he wants, where the rules are always bendable, where disbelief is perpetually suspended. He’s hip-hop’s Hulk Hogan, rap’s Robert De Niro. How do you retire that?
Superman, like the handful of tracks that have leaked out of his upcoming Kingdom Come (due out November 21), is only underwhelming if you’re expecting to find Jay in a different light. It gathers his many post-retirement appearances (Kanye’s “Diamonds” remix; Jeezy’s “Go Crazy”; “Dear Summer”) and shows that although Jigga hasn’t particularly grown since The Black Album (2003), he hasn’t lost it, either. Thrown on top of some great backdrops, that’s more than you can ask for.
What’s truly remarkable here is how, given Mick’s fluid context, a bunch of already-good tracks can sound close to amazing. Face it: Jay’s always had questionable taste in beats; if you’ve been keeping up, you know that Just Blaze “crafted” the Rick James-sampling “Kingdom Come” in about five minutes. But factor in some rare remixes (Just’s “P.S.A.,” especially) and other people’s beats — Paul Wall’s “Sittin’ Sidewayz”; Bun B’s “Get Throwed” — and you’ve got a different story. One fit for, well, a superhero.
Emcee: http://www.jayzonline.com/Audio: http://www.myspace.com/jayz