Those of you that know Bonface Killah know that I LOVE HIP-HOP. LOVE IT. I mean, if you understand the reference made by my blog’s name you know I dig the hip-hop. So naturally I love me some Jay-Z. But Jay struck out big time in his gig as soundtrack producer on The Great Gatsby. I had high hopes when Jay and Kanye’s “No Church In The Wild” was perfectly placed in the incipient stages of the movie but then it was an all-downhill Jay-Z show from there. The scene on a bridge into N.Y.C. where a carful of people danced to “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” was straight up laughable—it was almost a musical jumping of the shark. But the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the placement of a “Crazy In Love” cover (had to sneak a reference to the wifey in there somehow). My friends and I were literally rolling our eyes at each other in the theater every time another Jay-Z song came on. I mean, ruining this brilliant story penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald is like ruining pizza—it’s pretty hard to do, but this film came close to being ruined by the soundtrack.
There is a reason why The Great Gatsby is considered one of the greatest literary works of all time (and my absolute favorite of all time). The story is a succinct and brilliantly crafted tale of tortured, tragic, unrequited love but Jay-Z’s soundtrack robbed the story of much of its emotion. His best move in the entire film was using a LDR track. Yes, hipsters, hold onto your skinny jeans…the musical high point of the film was actually “Young and Beautiful” from controversial songstress Lana Del Rey. This song fit the tone of the scene and elicited the proper gut-wrenching nostalgia that I was waiting for. He could have scored another plus with the usage of Jack White’s cover of U2’s “Love Is Blindness” but the song was slipped in for mere seconds and missed out on what could have been great placement of the song’s crescendo. (Yes, I realize that this probably wasn’t Hova’s fault but someone dropped the ball).
This movie is like a music supervisor’s dream—one of the best stories of all time and a gigantic budget for getting any song you could want and the outcome was just awful. A child with two bucks and a jukebox could have done better.
If it weren’t for the incredible performance of Leo as Jay Gatsby this film would have been a complete bust. So yeah, note to Hollywood, don’t let Jay-Z score your next film adaptation of a literary masterpiece. Jay-Z does The Catcher in the Rye? No.
It’s ok though Jay, you’re still a musical genius.