Blame Reagan for making me into a monster

Blame Oliver North and Iran-Contra

I ran contraband that they sponsored

Before this rhyming stuff, we was in concert.

—Jay-Z, "Blue Magic"

So, if you're Jay-Z, you can do things that the rest of us could not—such as see the new Ridley Scott flick, American Gangster, which won't be out till next month. Then, you can announce that you will release an album full of original material, also called American Gangster, based solely on said movie, and that it drops next month. Anyone who listened to Kingdom Come with all five senses intact could attest to the bad decision-making going on there; thing is, the lead single from American Gangster, "Blue Magic," is a shot of rap Botox into Hov's sagging rep. Produced by the Neptunes (who for once gave Jay one of their more hood compositions to flow on), the song bangs with a spirited take on contemporary d-boy styles; trading in the breathless melodrama of his Kingdom style for a slower, more naturalistic d-boy bluster that suits him. I like it. At the end of the day, I'd rather hear Jigga rhyme about pushing heroin than hear him duet with Coldplay's Chris Martin. Attention Jay: Life is most certainly not a beach chair.

Especially for poor 50 Cent. While he may be signing Jim Jones (we'll see), he must still be smarting from the whoopin' he got from Kanye West's first-week sales, which were damn near up to a million(!). In an effort to slap a fresh coat of paint on the week-old turd that is Curtis, 50 put out the anemic "Forbes 1, 2, 3 Remix" of his "I Get Money," featuring Jay-Z and Diddy. Nobody's best moment ensues—Jay drops a clunker about "killin' the roof like Michael Vick," and Diddy is, well, Diddy—but they seem on sure footing when they speak on the one thing they can agree on—MONEY! And lots of it. Yeah—I get it.

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Okay, but what about Saigon snuffing out Mobb Deep's Prodigy in New York? Typical rap shit I guess, but legitimately fascinating is "C'mon Baby," the criminally hard, Just Blaze–produced track from what I now like to call The Greatest Story to Be Never Released. When played in clubs, "C'mon Baby" is guaranteed to transform your average rap journalist into a flailing Lou Ferrigno—just ask those standing around your boy at the last Clipse show.

But take a break on the big-money mainstream shit for a sec. Come out and see a FREE show from the one and only Cut Chemist—formerly of those upright combos Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli—at Nectar this Saturday, September 29. If you slept on Cut's mellow solo debut, The Audience Is Listening, well, you didn't exactly miss a classic, but you don't wanna pass on FREE anything this weekend. Free show. Free O.J. again. Free the fucking Jena 6. recommended