Sunday, August 20, 2006


Listening to Clipse for the first time. "Mr. Me Too," their current Pharell-enhanced single, is alright, but make sure to check out "WAMP WAMP," which is awesome: the beat is an echo-y one-bar timbales sample and a two-note steel drum riff that spirals out into a little melody at every eight bars. Add a kick booming in the distance, some synths on the chorus and a shaker that resonates particularly well with the s-rhyming third verse. That's about it (no snare, no hi-hat). "Ain't Cha" is more conventional, but the posh accent on the second verse is hilarious.

"Déjà Vu" was a pretty weak single (the highlight is when she says "Jay" in the same way she said "hi-hat"), but Beyoncé's new one, "Ring The Alarm," is great and has the energy of her 2006 BET Awards performance. Can she get any closer to rapping without actually rapping? Is "Ring The Alarm" actually a duet with a siren? Is the lo-fi mic sound the r'n'b thing of the moment (cf. "SexyBack")?

I'm not sure where this anti-Gnarls Barkley article (via Status Ain't Hood) leaves me: I like GB and Goodie Mob, T.I. and The Roots and it was pretty clear right away to me what The New Danger was drawing upon. Just like it's obvious what D'Angelo's Voodoo drew upon. That didn't stop either from being good and great records, respectively. There are a number of points I agree with, but I really dislike the "rap has enough room for experimentation, so do not leave that room, please" viewpoint. Actually, rappers who stop rapping (or hip hop producers who do other genres) are probably more likely to produce something good than, say, a rocker who starts rapping.

Finally, the reason I highlighted Clipse's "WAMP WAMP" is because it seemed refreshingly experimental or progressive, but so is St. Elsewhere. The criticism I don't get is "it's underdeveloped/half-assed." Not that every track is pure brilliance, mind you. Maybe a steady diet of improvised music warps your sense of the fully-assed.