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Plies Is Into Minimalism

Plies – “All Black

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from Da Realist (Atlantic, 2008)

I always hoped the after shock of “A Milli” madness would have more rappers over less sounds and this new Plies joint is a brave step in that direction, envisioning a future where every rap beat is just a single 808 kick on loop. “In all black,” indeed. Plies sounds a little bit different but indescribably so, maybe something like a Nelly / Juvenile half breed. His new album drops December 16th and is said to be his most politically charged to date, tackling such pressing issues as anti-sagging legislation.

What are your favorite extra sparse beats? Who should be freestyling over “All Black”? Do you still sometimes type “Piles” when you mean to type “Plies”? Speak on it!

(This is a 96kbps webrip. You will suffer.)

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41 Responses to “Plies Is Into Minimalism”

  1. Sean Says:

    Much as I love Plies, there’s only one “All Black.”


  2. barns Says:

    Wow, thank you for this song. Seriously. I hope people really do Speak On this. Is it too early for NBA metaphors? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91QPDIqmBwk is the ___________ of this minimalism shit.

  3. ri067953 Says:

    Yo, this shit is garbage!

  4. ANU Says:

    Philip Glass, that’s some minimalist shit.

  5. barns Says:

    So was Wagner, and, uh, Keith Van Horn, if we wanna talk speak on grumpy white dudes.

  6. ANU Says:

    barns, you didn’t saw that bun b video, did you ?

  7. Billions Says:

    Minimal beats, love that shit.

    Some classic faves: Paul Revere, Come Clean, Goin’ Back to Cali (LL of course), Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos. Clipse’s ‘Grindin’ took me back and reminded me of Run DMC’s first miminal drum-machine based recordings like ‘Hard Times.’ Pharrell can do those minimal beats (blue magic, drop it like it’s hot) but not as often as I’d like.

    I love when something like that ‘Whisper Song’ makes it to hit status with little going on except the MCs on blast. If the beat is the rice or couscous, the MCs are there to ‘curry’ it.

  8. barns Says:

    no and I feel like an asshole for it. I know that if I start it I’ll want to finish so I’m going to wait till I have a solid good two hours. did I miss a reference, or anti-reference it unintentionally? or say ignorant shit that I shouldn’t have in light of its wisdom? the things the internet makes possible.

  9. phili Says:

    does the ‘quiet storm’ beat count as sparse. i would think so.

  10. dynalooks Says:

    this plies track is one of my favorites. it is also the first one i heard from him..


  11. bding7 Says:

    remember this?


    trenton: too often focusing on the wrong “problem.” also, where does plies get the inspiration for his stage name? the name algernod doesn’t give him many options, it seems pulled out the air.

  12. raggamuffin airhorn Says:

    r. kelly should freestyle over this

  13. ANU Says:

    “a millie” is a great use of few elements for a song.
    of course the clipse, run dmc and a lot of 80’s rap, I think Atliens was kind of minimalist.

  14. TSF Says:

    Favorite minimalist beat: Public Enemy #1, really everything off of “Bum Rush.” I also like “Gangsta Music,” does that count?

    Btw, noz, haven’t you been plugging for more minimalist beats ever since Late Registration came out?

  15. Jay (D)eff Kay Says:

    I love minimalist beats, but I usually find myself expecting a lot more from the emcees in such scenarios. Not just lyrical content, mind you (I hate Snoop’s raps on ‘Drop it like its hot’ for ex.) but emcees need to be a lot more resourceful w/ their flows to ride minimalist beats, there’s usually no melody line to easily fall back on.

    Early Mobb Deep did a pretty great job on that minimalist tip didn’t they? The whole southern snap track fad seemed pretty much based on minimalism too – cant think of a notable snap joint off the top my head though. Wouldnt have known this track if it werent for Noz – ‘I’m a J’ would be a stellar selection in this minimalist category

    A millie’s success is probably gonna fuel similar minimalist experiment knock offs. Pop Champagne has something interesting going on. Too bad Jim Jones jumped on it

    Doesnt this new beyonce track seem like A millie inspired joint?: http://smartenupnas.com/2008/11/05/3164/

  16. Jay (D)eff Kay Says:

    also @ bding7, re: also, where does plies get the inspiration for his stage name? the name algernod doesn’t give him many options, it seems pulled out the air.

    I’m surprised you havent heard of that vibe interview plies did.

    Vibe:”Plies is an interesting name for a rapper, how did you get that nickname?”

    Plies: “Plies is a tool, You can use it to put the squeeze on things, like I’m doing to these niggas in the rap game. I got the squeeze on them real tight, they feeling the pressure, or you can use it to pull things out. I pull out all the bullshit and keep the real you feel me? It also a word you can use in terms of things goin’ on in yo life, ya dig. You may hear something I say and say that it plies to me. Plies straight to me.”

    Vibe: “I’ve heard of a tool called a Pliers and the term applies.”

    Plies: “You know what I’m trying to say my nigga, just buy my album, I’m from the South my nigga, we don’t learn no grammar. My Album out August 7, 2007, cop three copies each, it’s Christmas in July fo’ real, ya dig?

  17. methamphetamine bougainevlelliea Says:

    fuck this song


    pants sagging song is bonfiya.

    does light your ass on fire count as minimalist? pass the 40 by PUTS. cant think of much else.

  18. ANU Says:

    juelz santana “the whistle song” and “cockwork”

  19. noz Says:

    I hate to be the voice of reason in the face of hilarity, but I’ve always strongly suspected that interview to be fictionalized. It’s not on vibe’s website and I don’t remember the magazine running too many q&as with people who aren’t, I don’t know, Jay-Z or Obama. Plus Plies’ answers are written in the generic ‘rapper speak’ that is all too common in these types of internet parodies and is the type of shit that a competent editor would’ve probably dropped. (“You know what I’m trying to say my nigga”? “My album come out ___”?) Unless maybe they were cutting it for jokes at the artist’s expense and again, I don’t think Vibe plays that way. If you told me this was a Vice interview I might believe you.

    Snopes? Sean?

  20. k Says:

    the beat on the new rich boy track (by polow da don) sounds like it’s based on an exact blueprint of ‘A Milli’. the sounds he uses are entirely different, but it’s kind of disappointing after a few listens because of how blatant a bite it is.

  21. Keenon! Says:

    I am partial to both old shit like “Posse On Broadway” or “I’m A Ho” and also old new school joints like “Drag ‘Em From The River” “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” or “Nextel Chirp.” Pitbull’s “Dammit Man” was a dope beat that he tore up harder on some mixtape remix than he did on his own damn album.

    However, the real answer is Mannie Fresh, for the win.

  22. wes Says:

    not exactly rap but the new dream/lil jon song “booty” has an excellent, spare beat.


    i fuck with this plies song, by the way.

  23. Keenon! Says:

    So who went and decided Plies’s fruity-ass is gangsta in the first place? Rapping about licking skeet off his girl’s mouth is in direct violation of motherfucking G-Code.

    “Booty” would be better with a different cast of characters.

  24. Keenon! Says:

    Also, I am 99% sure I read that Plies interview in a Vibe magazine, because I remember that fucking stupid part where he talked about how he is like a pair of pliers. Pretty sure he’s said similar shit elsewhere, too.

  25. bding7 Says:

    i truly hope he said that, but i do wonder if it’s legitimate given plies’ last response.

    also, has his accent changed with each of his albums? it seems like he’s stressing it more and more, making him sound incredibly ridiculous.

  26. Tray Says:

    Yeah, he’s jacking Juvenile’s flow circa 400 Degreez. And the beat is nice. But really, fuck Plies. I know we’re supposed to embrace people here with different accents and IQ levels, but he’s beyond the pale.

  27. SukedowN Says:

    ^Word to Jim Gaffigan.

    Juvenile might have thrown up in his mouth a little bit being compared to Plies.

  28. Tray Says:

    And I believe that story about the pliers, because Plies is too retarded to enunciate, he slurs every syllable of every word together, so in his mind “pliers” = “pliiiiuhhhhs” = “pliiiiiiiies”.

  29. noz Says:


    He is enunciating just fine here. And also giving an almost contradictory origin of his name.

  30. Tray Says:

    What the fuck, he doesn’t have his accent here, nor does he sound retarded. On the other hand, you lose for looking up a Plies youtube. After seeing what happened to Ralph Nader on Fox, I’m a little reluctant to say things like this, but Plies is straight coonery… anyway.

  31. reezy Says:

    Fam-lay – Skrung Owt.

    Classic minimalist Neptunes. This track deserves more shine.

  32. k Says:

    ^^ agreed. i think it’s skrunT owt.

  33. bding7 Says:

    when breihan interviewed boosie, he said that he never raps in his real voice and rappers who do aren’t being creative. i’m not saying plies is, you know, a competent rapper, but at least this shows that he might be trying. i can’t believe i’m defending this guy.

  34. JOE Says:

    Not hip hop, but this Plies jam really reminds me of that dubstep song “Skeng” by The Bug ft. Flo’dan and Killa P. Maybe it’s something in how the vocals are tracked that makes them sound very separate from the beat. The bass is basically the only thing in either track. Also, the “choruses” of both songs are really drawn out.

  35. Hele Fitta Says:

    as far as recent minimalist stuff: how about “White Tees”? Also 75 Girls-era Too $hort had that early minimalist rap steez on lock! Also Gucci Time.

  36. The Colorado Rap Report Says:

    yeah early stuff not mentioned yet would have to lincude…


  37. red dirt Says:

    mac dre “can you hear me now”

  38. Nicole aka KOKI Says:

    dis shit rite here go hard (northside) in Muskogee,Ok stay in (all black)

  39. Plies mp3 Says:

    nice song.

  40. Plies mp3 Says:

    This song really kick some serious a##

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