On this date in 2007, Jay-Z released his American Gangster album, which also served as the soundtrack to the movie of the same name with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.
It was a conceptual album that was inspired by the film of the same name. The album spawned hits like “I Know”, “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)”, and “Blue Magic”. Guest features include Idris Elba, Lil Wayne, Beanie Sigel, and Nas. The album features production from Diddy, The Neptunes, Just Blaze, and The Hitmen.
American Gangster debuted at number one on Billboard 200, selling 425,861 copies in the first week. This album tied Jigga with Elvis Presley for second most number one albums. It was a commercial success and viewed as a good follow-up from Hov’s 2006 album Kingdom Come.
Frank Lucas, one of the most famous drug kingpins in American history, died Thursday night.
TMZ reports Lucas died in New Jersey. Lucas was being taken to a local hospital for an undisclosed health issue and died during the trip. Additionally, Lucas’ nephew Aldwan Lassiter confirmed his death to Rolling Stone.
Lucas was known for his lucrative heroin operation that ruled Harlem in the 1960s and 70s. His story was detailed to bring drugs straight into America from Southeast Asia by using the coffins of servicemen who died. In an interview, Lucas claimed he was able to put six to eight kilos in each coffin, a figure that has become questioned over time. The drugs carried the street name of “Blue Magic.”
Lucas was arrested in 1975 by DEA raid, which uncovered more than $584,000 in cash. He was eventually convicted of drug violations, both federal and state, then sentenced to 70 years behind bars before becoming an informant, only serving five years initially. He would do an additional seven after returning to drug dealing.
Frank Lucas’ life was depicted in the 2007 film American Gangster by Denzel Washington. The movie inspired Jay-Z’s album of the same name.
Bumpy Johnson’s rise to power will be detailed in a new television series. Forest Whitaker has signed on to executive produce the show.
As the brainchild of Narcos co-creators Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein, the project will chronicle the gangster’s infamous war with the Genovese crime family to reclaim his former drug territory of Harlem.
Paul Sorvino, most known for his iconic role in Goodfellas, is slotted to play Frank Costello, an unofficial arbitrator for the Italian mob. Deadlinereports that Whitaker will play Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson and the pair will seemingly share a lot of on air time together as Johnson saved Costello’s life in prison years prior. The story line will also capture how Bumpy befriended Malcolm X during his fight for social equality during the 1960’s.
According to IMBD this will serve as a prequel to the 2007 film American Gangster which focused on Frank Lucas, the right hand man to Johnson, as as he became Harlem’s biggest narcotics trafficker. Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, Gregory Cioffi and Vincent D’Onofrio have also been confirmed as part of the cast.
The straight-to-series crime drama will air on Epix and is scheduled for a 2019 debut.