It’s been three years since the release of The Black Album, where Jay-Z, claiming to have done it all, retired from making studio albums. With retirement came a hellish touring schedule, as well as countless album collaborations and turns as producer.
Well, it looks like retirement was too hectic because Jay’s back with Kingdom Come, his comeback album that is scheduled to drop on November 21.
With his single "Show Me What You Got" leaked to the internet and now getting radio play, it was time to go to work with the visuals. And what better place for the most prolific and successful American rapper of the last decade to turn than the world of auto racing?
The video, shot in Monaco by F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Negotiator, TLC’s Waterfalls), opens with Jay-Z riding shotgun with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Whether they’ll drive past a billboard for Wrangler Jeans in the video remains to be seen.
The boys rip and run through the infamously treacherous Monegasque roads in a Ferrari but have to share the road with another driver — Danica Patrick.
I imagine 007 shenanigans ensue.
But soon enough, the fun ends, as Jay ditches Junior (I’m guessing they ran Danica off a cliff) for ladies, speed boats, and the ocean. From there, the video transitions to an exclusive resort where he gets involved in a high-stakes game of poker and passes on the now-boycotted Cristal for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
I can almost buy the Danica Patrick/Jay-Z collaboration. Jay wanted a slick, James Bond-esque video involving fast cars and a classy yet badass Bond girl. If he wants someone who actually knows how to operate a vehicle at high speeds and look cute while doing it, who else is he going to ask? Sarah Fisher?
And Danica, who has graced the cover of dozens of magazines, hosted tv shows, and acted as the spokeswoman for various products, can only increase her celebrity and marketability by dipping into the world of hip-hop.
It’s win-win for both. But how did Junior get involved?
I understand having a female counterpart but when you’re trying to be Casino Royale, why make yourself the sidekick to a guy who thinks "shaken not stirred" are directions found on the back of a bottle of Valvoline?
I’ll submit that aside from Jeff Gordon, Dale is the most recognizable and marketable face in American racing; he also seems like a pretty cool guy. But he is sponsored by Budweiser, Bass Pro Shops, and Menards. On my way home from dinner last night, I passed a billboard featuring the line "Grrrr-8 discounts at Menards!" To the left was Earnhardt feigning enthusiasm for the landscaping products pictured in the foreground.
Something about that just doesn’t feel very ’007 meets Roc-A-Fella’ to me. But it will work and it will own – something one can always expect when Jay-Z is involved.
Disclaimer: I have nothing but respect for Dale Earnhardt Jr as a driver, personality, and businessman. This coupling of two distinctly different worlds will not only result in a cool video, it will also serve to be a great business moves for all involved parties. However, I’m terribly amused by the fact that the fact that Little E will now be a fixture on BET will surely send millions of Jim Bob Cooters out there into a total frenzy. This amusement will only be trumped by the obnoxious glee felt when Jay-Z announces his entry into the world of stock car ownership.