Pain In Da Ass gets his Kool Aid Man on. More commercial talk today over at XXL.
Posts Tagged ‘Roc-A-Fella’
Two early joints from High Potent (Jaz & Jay-Z) and Keefy Keef (Keith Murray). I bet they listen to these songs now and feel like I do when I revisit these three year old posts. Did I seriously write “straight fire” with a straight face?
It’s getting hard to remain unexcited. Michael Gonzales drops the closest thing the internet has to a fully formed American Gangster review. Puff & The Hitmen are a surprise, here’s hoping they bring that Ready To Die funk.’
EDIT: YN weighs in. No ID! Toomp! Jermaine Dupri?
EDIT 2: YN CLARIFIES -
Supa engineer extraordinaire Young Guru granted me some clarity: Puff’s 2007 Hitmen consist of Sean C. and LV (aka Grind Music). LV is also Fat Joe’s DJ and Sean C. co-produced “Can’t Knock The Hustle.” They actually have five tracks on the album. And them niggas got some heat. You’ll see.
EDIT 3: Entertainment Weekly’s got a track-by-track breakdown.
It seems like a lifetime has passed since the days when Kanye was a producer turned rapper, but today we’re gonna think back. back to when you were like “the dude who produced ‘izzo’ raps? KANE West?” And dude was absolutely killing the production circuit at the time, who wasn’t anticipating him branching out into rapping? If you had told me he took up tap dancing or fire breathing i’d have checked that shit out as well on the strength.
Pre-College Dropout Mixtape Kanye is a very different rapper than the one you see on Entertainment Tonight. Technically, he wasn’t a very good one, and he didn’t have much of a message (not saying that these things have dramatically changed on either front, but I think he’s tricked a lot of people into thinking otherwise). But dude was funny as hell, just lightweight punch lines and nothing else. On “Dreams Of Fucking Lil’ Kim” he jacks Kim for a beat he already sold her, hoping to hit that back end before he gets his back end check.
This is not a Kanye fell off post. Just the opposite. By all empirical reasoning he’s actually improved somewhat as both a rapper and songwriter. But at the expense of some of his initial charm. All of the sudden he’s this po-faced serious artist. It’s baffling how he went from Devin-esque levels of self deprecation to wearing fake angel wings to the mtv awards with a straight face. What happened to the Kanye who rapped about Shrek and how “Free’s banging but she’s no Rachel?”
His production approach has changed up considerably as well. The sparse chipmunk soul loops are mostly gone, replaced with lush orchestration and (relatively) complex melodies. I don’t know if I really discussed Late Registration much here at all, but this is what I said about the production somewhere else when the album first came out: i honestly believe that the best hip hop productions are exercises in minimalism, because they allow they allow a good rapper to take charge of the track. and (perhaps to to compensate for his failures as a rapper?) kanye strives for the opposite. he has some potential as a writer and has improved in the flow department, but you have to listen really hard to notice. he needs to give himself room to breathe… Kanye’s process (and [that of] andre, mos def, and whatever “post rap” stars) is flawed in assuming that a great hip hop record is one that also subscribes to the traditional goals of musicality. sure, there are overlaps (organized noize comes to mind), but suceeding on one front doesn’t automatically go hand and hand with the other.
I think this early, stripped down version of “Hey Mama,” one of the stronger LR cuts illustrates that point rather nicely. Here the beat drops out entirely at the beginning of the third verse. Maybe you guys prefer the blazing guitar solo that fills up this space on the album version. But I think it inappropriately takes the focus off the rapper, which is especially damaging to such a personal song.
Footnote: The most under-appreciated Kanye West beat selections circa 2002-03: Jay-Z – “Some People Hate”; Trina & Ludacris – “B R Right”; State Property – “Got Nowhere”