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“American Gangster” attracts Jay-Z

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Every year since 1999, Jay-Z has teased his fans with rumors of a forthcoming album. It usually begins in the spring, as top-flight producers brag of heading into the studio with Jay Hova. It picks up steam in the summer, as fans openly begin to wonder: will Jay-Z "bless us" with another masterpiece? By the start of the fall, someone makes it official: Jay-Z is back. (This time around, the New York Times did the honors.) Then you know the rest: near-constant MTV updates, early leaks on the Internet, a number one debut on the Billboard charts, blah, blah, blah.

Why do fans continue to fall for this well-worn strategy? Well, it’s Jay-Z, one of the most popular artists of the past decade. And for American Gangster, his soundtrack to the upcoming Frank Lucas biopic of the same name, S. Carter is promising a return to the crack-rapper-made-good persona that we first fell in love with on Reasonable Doubt, not the sandals-wearing AARP candidate from Kingdom Come. Jay-Z’s American Gangster arrives via Roc-A-Fella/Island Def Jam on November 6. The first single, "Blue Magic," dropped last week.

However, since American Gangster is a period piece set in the early 70s with Hollywood superstars Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, little to none of Jay-Z’s music will be used in the movie. So Island Def Jam has prepared a proper American Gangster original motion picture soundtrack. It features soundtrack music from 2008 comeback player of the year candidate Hank Shocklee, and vintage cuts from Sam & Dave, Bobby Womack and others.

The track listing for the Jay-Z album hasn’t been announced yet, but the compilation’s track listing is available below. (October 3 update: The songs for Jay-Z’s American Gangster was unveiled on Rollingstone.com earlier this morning, and are listed underneath the soundtrack.)

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