Let’s pretend that you’re Ridley Scott, just sitting
around one day waiting for American Gangster to open. Wait, let’s be Brian Grazer instead. So much more fun.
Anyway, you’re just minding your own business when Jay-Z walks in, drops an
entirely new record in your lap. “See what you can do with this,” he says over
his shoulder. You call an intern to photoshop Denzel Washington into the cover
and place another order for the paper rings used to bind stacks of hundred
dollar bills.

Or maybe it didn’t go like that at all. Weird that it’s
been over a year since there was any real American Gangster news other than
promises of greatness. Last time we ran a bit on the flick it was Dave Davis
(remember him? the Boston Bastid!) talking about rappers Common, T.I. and The
RZA being hired as bit players. According to The New York Times, Denzel also
wanted Jay-Z to record a soundtrack, but for a film meant to be populated with
period tracks Grazer “didn’t think there’d be enough for Jay-Z to do.

As it goes, Scott and Washington showed the flick to
Jay-Z a while back. He took it home, renamed it Calliope, locked it in the attic and visited
it every night for a couple weeks while he swiftly knocked up, er, out a record
composed entirely of songs based on the film. “It was like I was watching the
film, and putting it on pause, and giving a back story to the story
,” he told
the fancy New York rag.

This is a wild and interesting development. Jay-Z’s
comeback didn’t exactly set sales records, and there are valid concerns about
American Gangster performing up to it’s $100 million-plus price tag. Someone is
obviously hoping that the two will spin in sympathetic, increasingly fast
orbits around one another, creating a tornado that sucks up the disposable cash
of an entire 18-24-year old demographic. I’ve seen towns in Kansas give it up
like that, but an entire demo? Let’s hear some tracks, you Roc-A-Fella.

Def Jam will release both American Gangster and the film’s official soundtrack alongside the flick in November.