Jay-Z famously retired from life as an artist in 2003 and then was named president of Def Jam, but being an MC without a platform clearly didn't suit the man born Shawn Carter.

Jay-Z famously retired from life as an artist in 2003 and then was named president of Def Jam, but being an MC without a platform clearly didn't suit the man born Shawn Carter. "I believed it for two years ... (but) something, when you love it, is always tugging at you and itching, and I was putting it off and putting it off," Jay-Z told Entertainment Weekly this summer. "I started fumbling around to see if it felt good."

The result of those fumblings is "Kingdome Come," due this week. First single "Show Me What You Got" rocketed nearly 40 spots into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 last week; elements of its Monaco-set video have been utilized in a high-profile Anheuser Busch commercial.

"Kingdom Come" sports contributions from Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Coldplay's Chris Martin. On the album's sparse title track, Jay references Iceberg Slim, Pimp C and Bun B while reassuring the listening public that he's back as hip-hop's savior: "The Bruce Wayne of the game / have no fear / when you need me just throw your Roc signs in the air."

Although Jay-Z's last studio effort was 2003's "The Black Album," which has sold 3.2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the rapper has since appeared on songs by Beyonce, Kanye West, Young Jeezy and Rick Ross, among others.