Here is a good new rap song from Pusha T of the Virginian duo Clipse, and more recently, Kanye West's Good Music collective. It has a guest verse from Rick Ross on it, which I think neither adds nor detracts from its quality. The best part is the beat, made by Kanye and 24-year-old Atlantan producer Southside—despite the fact that it might remind you of Europe's "The Final Countdown."
"You take a song wit Jay n Kanye on it n you add Big Sean to that shit…thats like takin Wagyu steak witta side of truffles n you splash some A-1 sauce on that muthafucka namsayin. That nigga Big Sean is a condiment b. The nigga is ketchup nahmean. Son aint even on the menu namsayin. You dont go to ANY restaurant n see ketchup on the menu b. Not even cheap ass spots like Burger King got ketchup on the menu…that shit aint a item on the menu. At a nice restaurant they jus be throwin that shit there on the table sometimes like 'yo…if you a uncultured lowlife [...]
Exquisitely timed to coincide with yesterday's announcement that scientists at the Cern Large Hadron Collider in Geneva had finally identified the elusive subatomic Higgs Boson particle—which is thought to be the key to differentiating matter from non-matter, and so therefore responsible for everything in the universe—Kanye West and Pusha T released a fittingly amazing new record called "New God Flow." It samples a snippet from Ghostface Killah's 2001 "Mighty Healthy," on which Ghost re-interpolates a rhyme Sir Ibu rapped on "Divine Force's" 1987 nugget "Holy War." Coming on the heels of Pusha T's recent and bone-chilling Drake diss, "Exodus 23:1," it definitely evidences Kanye's [...]
I’ve been obsessed with the idea of identifying critical moments in popular songs for a long time, but have been struggling with defending what that exactly means. One friend dismissed my ever-growing playlist of songs with identifiable pinnacles of brilliance as just “good songwriting.” I tried to tell her that, no, wait, good songwriting is one thing, but being able to completely change the composition of a song, the whole understanding of the joy that a song can bring, in one critical moment, is not just good songwriting, it’s genius. Nor was I talking about anything as simple as climax and release. As was found with Adele’s “Someone [...]
NO. He asked for Aaron Carter. AWKWARD. RT @DONDAWorldwide: We found the "Nell Carter" that Kanye requested.
— DONDA Group (@DONDAWorldwide) January 5, 2012
The Twitter account for DONDA Group is most likely not the official Twitter account for Kanye West's new… space… design… science… cult… thing. (If you missed it, because you have a life, Mr. West announced on Twitter a new magical Santa's Workshop last night and is bringing Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson back from the dead, or something.) But it should be.
We lookin for a locksmith, a candlestick maker, the lil' Mexican exorcist lady from Poltergeist & a driving instructor [...]
Part of a series on collaborations that we now take for granted but initially made little sense.
Hip hop’s lyrical narrative often gets unfairly abbreviated to being about nothing more than posturing and persona, a never-ending series of mostly meaningless boasts about how nice my rhymes sound, and so on. That’s been a component of the story for a long time—recall Sugar Hill Gang’s proud pronouncement, in 1979, that “I got a color TV, so I can see/the Knicks play basketball”—but hip hop verses are also a place for confessions, specifically for those of black men. There's a reason, for example, that Scarface once wrote a song [...]
"Gucci Mane, recently released from prison for the umpteenth time, sounds no worse for wear here, managing impressive nimbleness with his mealy mouth. He has more gears than most rappers do, a versatile stylist with nothing so old-fashioned as a commitment to structure and the integrity of words. He prefers sounds." —Awl pal Jon Caramanica's review of the new Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame album in today's Times brings up a good point about rap. There are important elements to it other than the lyrics. Sometimes these other elements get overlooked. This is the case with Hua Hsu's review of the new Jay-Z and Kanye [...]
"I was a little hesitant at first to be involved with the theme song for Skyfall. There's a lot of instant spotlight and pressure when it comes to a Bond song." —Adele's right. The pressure's on. (And not just instant spotlight, very often a James Bond theme ends up in the crosshairs of a Luger or Barreta!) Living up to the likes of Carly Simon, or Shirley Bassey, or Paul McCartney, or Sheena Easton or Duran Duran? Adele's got her work cut out for her. Come Friday, when her new single, the title track from Skyfall comes out, we'll know how she did. (Whoops! BREAKING: We know [...]
I love rap and I think it's really good right now. I mean, to the extent that we can assess a type of art in the present tense, which I think is not very much, because of the not-being-able-to-see-a-forest-for-the-trees thing. We get a better gauge with ten or twenty years' perspective. But between El-P and Killer Mike, and A$AP Rocky and Danny Brown, and Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, and Meek Mill and Gunplay and the enormous Maybach Music beats, and the thing where Kanye West just keeps making undeniably excellent, important music: eight straight strong years, six straight great albums. (I don't know of any other rap artist [...]
At this point, it's hard to imagine what's making Kanye West sound so cranky. The fact that his mink coat is dragging on the floor, I guess? Or that a beautiful woman he summoned to his hotel room arrived wearing underpants? Maybe it's just that he has a head cold. You're all stuffed up, sore throat, sinus pressure. That'll put anybody in a rotten mood. Whatever it is, for the music's sake, here's hoping he doesn't cheer up. 'Cause this song, which debuted on Funkmaster Flex's show on Hot97 just last night, sounds great.
To anyone paying attention, it wasn’t really a surprise when blacks didn’t come out in droves to support Occupy Wall Street. Despite the fact that blacks suffer from poverty and the ills accompanying it at wildly disproportionate rates, African-Americans have for a number of uncertain reasons been avoiding most of the liberal demonstrations of the moment. Blacks don't occupy Wall Street (or Denver or San Francisco) just as blacks don’t SlutWalk, or rally at the World Bank.
What was surprising was when the rappers started showing up.
Here is the video to the CONTROVERSIAL!!! lead single from the CONTROVERSIAL!!! new album from Jay-Z and Kanye West. I like it. It's a lot the chase scene from the beginning to Back to the Future, except Jay and Kanye have made their time travel vehicle out of a Maybach (and an Otis Redding sample) instead of a DeLorean.
"Sounds so soulful, don't you agree?"
That's Jay-Z, breaking in to admire the long, pitched-down passage from "Try A Little Tenderness" that opens "Otis," the second official leak from Jay and Yeezy's Watch The Throne. The track on "Otis" alternates between interpolation and staccato bursts, as if torn between literalism (reverence?) and avoiding a lawsuit (its own kind of nostalgia). Since it's 2011, and Otis Redding's estate is well advised of its rights and powers, Redding is credited as a featured artist on the track, a featured role that almost makes it seem like "Otis" is the King of Soul's posthumous tribute to himself, "Unforgettable" minus the filial right, [...]
Along the Juniata, the gray stones, gray squares in the grass, keep the hills from the road, keep them where they are.
When we pass the stones, like the Earth’s stitches, I know we’re about to see a rock face following a bend in the road, where the strata bends like sound waves.
It’s clear God is below the Earth, not above— his head, giant frame for the planet— and he makes a sound that makes the Earth.
But first I thought of Kanye’s head singing, singing, singing into that rock. Sarah Blake lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and son. Her Kanye West [...]
On his new song "Mercy," Kanye West says that he put suicide doors on his private jet, and that's how we know he's "fly to death." But Kanye's dance troupe flies coach, and his choreographer Yemi AD filmed them doing the ballet routine they'd developed for the song "Runaway"—on an airplane flight during this year's Australian tour. The other passengers look like they don't quite know what to do. Especially the poor guy who picked the wrong time to get up and go to the bathroom.
Critics would say that it might be unclear which side of the police barricades Jay-Z and Kanye would be on if the uprising depicted duo in their new video, filmed in Prague by director Romain Gavras, were in fact to take place. They call themselves "The Throne," after all. I'm just disappointed that the elephant doesn't get more screen time. People who slammed this album when it came out (silly people who listen to music with their sense of socio-economic justice instead of their ears) will be disappointed to learn that a sequel is in the works. It will be called Watch the Throne 2: Repeal The [...]
As is often the case with a hit rap song, lots of people have been putting remix verses over the beat Chauncey "Hit-Boy" Hollis made for Jay-Z and Kanye West's smash "Ni**as In Paris." Everyone from T.I. to Chris Brown to Young Jeezy to Busta Rhymes to Aziz Ansari to a now-famous guy on the subway have taken the tune and making something new. This, though, is the best by far. Yasiin Bey, the rapper formerly known as Mos Def, flips the original's flaunting of wealth into a trenchant commentary on poverty.
"Lasting about two hours, the show was an almost seamless blend of songs from 'Watch the Throne,' solo material from each rapper and songs they have shared in the past, often used as transitions. If there is any fat on hit-thick solo Jay-Z or Kanye West concerts at this point, it was excised here. They have become gifted at resisting maximalist urges. This show demonstrated how much can be accomplished with a few small decisions: as on the album, Jay-Z and Mr. West worked smart, not big. The heaviest lifting was done by cameras that seemed to encircle the stage, resulting in astonishing close-ups that captured every sweat cascade [...]
I'm so eye-rolley about the conceit of "Watch the Throne"—the collaboration "album" by Jay-Z and Kanye West, that was thrown together in a few hotel rooms—that I can barely handle listening to it. (Also, did I need a tribute song to ladies in the year 2011 called "That's My Bitch"? Not really!) Despite his usually awesome politics and generally rather wonderful mouthiness, I just don't feel the need to get Kanye's opinions on the state of the world, when he might not have any idea any longer what that state really is. Somehow? On the album, Jay-Z ends up looking clued in, and he's the one banging the [...]