I was listening to that new Usher song “Little Freak,” because Polow went bananas when he flipped “Living for the City” and turned it into “Kashmir.” But the Nicki Minaj verse is predictably the standout as she uses “cute voice” to speak on a threesome with Usher (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) and ultimately, girls who fake kissing girls, which very well be what she is! (Or touching “kitty cats” or whatever.) BUT! My favorite part of the verse is the line: Like Santa I keep a vixen/ Got that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Dixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen!
And it got me thinking about rap lines where the MC lists a complete set of things, forgoing the structure of the verse in order to really show you how little of a shit they give and how great they are.
Another example that really works is Lil Wayne on “Ransom,” which was the first track where everyone was like, “Holy shit, this Drake kid can spit when he’s copying Wayne.” Early in his verse, Wayne says, I get paid for every letter A, B, C, etcetera, which is yeah, that’s cute and all, but then later in his epic verse he brings it up again:
I told you I get paid by the letter like A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y ZZ TOP/ Yes he rock
He really says the entire alphabet. And not only does he end it on a ZZ Top reference, but to Wayne, ZZ Top is a “he.” And he rocks.
Jay-Z on the other hand, really fucks this whole thing up on “Reminder.” Instead of conveying, “I’m so fucking nice and trampling this beat so hard that I’m going to take a break from following the rules,” he just sounds awkward and sad:
Ten number one albums in a row
Who better than me?
Only The Beatles nobody ahead of me
I crush Elvis in his blue suede shoes
Made The Rolling Stones seem sweet as Kool Aid too
‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, 2001 and beyond
‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06 and 7, ‘08, ‘09
Fine, go at old white guys (many dead) if you want, but which Hov-affiliated Yes Man told him that listing all of those years was hot?
Conceptually, it’s hilarious though. Are there more of these lines? Cam has to do this somewhere.
(via)I’d would go to hell as well
if I said you didn’t smell
like Victoria’s Secret when you pass.
I’m going to assume (before this finishes downloading) that this has few to zero new songs or verses, because it’s not on Lil Wayne HQ. BUT! That cover. Please notice, not only the double-cup in his hand, but also by his right foot? Also, Space Jam Martian.
And: Lil Wayne’s engineer KY spoke to NewLilWayne and told them that Wayne has twenty songs down for the next installment of Tha Carter series. I’d imagine he’s going to keep on going (before he goes to prison, of course) as Carter 4 doesn’t even have a release date in sight.
Jon Caramanica, one of my favorite music writers, has a story in today’s New York Times about Lil Wayne, my favorite subject. (If you’re reading this, I don’t have to tell you that.)
The piece, though, is most interesting to me when I think about the journalism angle of it all and how it ended up on the front page of the Times website. Sure, Wayne is arguably the biggest pop star in the world, but imagine if Taylor Swift grabbed a few friends from Tennessee and let them make a record on her dime. Then, on her own and against everyone’s wishes, she made a punk album. Beyond how bizarre (and therefore newsmaking?) that would be, I think most of American might to try ignore it. Especially if there was such a failed tradition of it in pop-country as their is in rap, as Caramanica deftly points out.
His distillation of the calamity that is Rebirth reads spot on until he says, “By the standards of contemporary radio rock, it’s passable, possibly even good,” because, just no. Yet Caramanica so effortlessly defines the context within which Times readers can grasp the totality of Wayne’s contribution to music and hip hop (via “workflow,” etc.), but without dumbing it down. It’s artful.
But just imagine the discussion he must have had with his (doubtlessly old, probably white, maybe male) editor to justify this piece’s existence and angle! In that way, it’s almost unimaginable that we’re not reading this on a blog or maybe, in The Fader. I mean, Nicki Minaj (who once rapped “Harajuku hyphen/ Bar-bie… I’m hot/ I think it’s time to put the rice in” on a song called “5 Star Bitch”) might now be known to a 55-year-old accountant in Saddle River, NJ. Thank god for the internet and what it’s made of the New York Times.
I read today that the rapper T.I. was released from jail after serving seven months of a one year sentence for “attempted weapons possession.” I remember being terrified when I saw the guns he tried to buy, because they looked like anti-aircraft artillery, not the kind of metal that should be handled by a diminutive pop star from Atlanta. But it still felt victorious to me when I heard he was free, and that troubles me a bit.
I always find myself rooting for rappers when they are accused or convicted of crimes. Maybe it’s anti-authority immaturity left over from my teenage years, but it doesn’t carry over to other musicians, celebrities or athletes embroiled in scandals, whether they’re of a legal nature or not. Only rappers.
It’s also frustrating, that these artists who bring me so much joy can’t stay out of trouble, whether it’s Wayne and the nonstop drug busts and weapons charges (he’ll serve a year beginning in February) or Gucci Mane and his inability to follow the parameters of his parole. They’re insolent, but I feel for them.
Wayne once mentioned that he keeps a set of encyclopedias on his bus, so I ask about his reading habits. Does he ever pick a subject at random and learn all about it?
“No,” he says. “I’m a millionaire.”
“What’s that mean? Millionaires still have things they can learn!”
“Are you a millionaire?” he asks. “No. So don’t tell me what millionaires do.”