Tuesday, September 21, 2004

In case anyone has ever been disappointed in this site for not taking its name literally, check this site's amazingly thorough collection of rappers' government names.

In Breihan's review of "Let Me In" last week1, he touched on a point that Harvell made a while back about all the 'cold'-sounding hits on the radio over the summer. For one, I thought his counterexamples are weird: "No Problem"2 and "Let Me In"3, which I always thought of as being on the more gothic end of what's on the radio right now. Admittedly, that spectrum is probably further in the cold/dark direction than it's been in at least a while. But "Lean Back" isn't even as 'dark' or unlikely a hit as it gets made out to be. I mean, people didn't really seem to bat an eye when "Never Scared" was huge last year and that's a lot more overtly grim than most of the big crunk hits since then.

And anyway, I'm not complaining, because mainstream rap is always going to be exciting to me in a way the underground can't be4, and I'd prefer if the pop stuff gets a little grimey for good measure. A little part of me can't help but applaud any time someone in the game has the balls to push anything a little raw into heavy rotation, whether I like it or not. I mean it's pretty cool that Fabolous picked "Breathe" for his first single5, considering most of his big hits have soft drums and sung hooks. Ethan is right that Fab's got great lyrics whether he's doing pop shit or street shit, and he shouldn't have to do boring hard NYC style tracks to get respect, but radio has enough girlie rap songs with daisy beats, so I don't mind if the some of the already-platinum dudes try to balance it out with the street cred grab.

1 As a rule, if I'm picking nits over a Pitchfork review, it's probably just to be mean, but if it's Tom, then understand it's done with the intention of respectful discourse.

2 I like "No Problem" a lot less since I realized how much it sounds like Jay-Z's "Show You How".

3 I think I have an aversion to rap beats with slightly offbeat cowbell parts, I might like "Let Me In" and "Friday Night" without them, but as is they both get on my fucking nerves.

4 And vice versa, but that's in a completely different way.

5 When he first upgraded it from a teaser to the official single, I was skeptical, because when a song gets promoted from street single to radio single like that, it's usually either that the song got such an overwhelming public demand that they had no choice, or that they didn't end up with any really radio-friendly pop joints, and I figured it was the former because I wasn't really wild about "Breathe" at first, but that shit has grown on me big time.

Either that review got edited really weirdly or I just totally zoned and typed in "No Problem" when I meant to type in "Slow Motion" and nobody caught it. "No Problem" is probably the coldest, hardest thing on the goddam radio, and I totally didn't mean to hold it up as an example of a summery summer jam. I do think that "Let Me In" sounds warm and summery, although that thought might be influenced by the video. But all the swooshy synths and plunky guitar bits sound really summery to me; the track fits with "Slow Motion" really well as a slower, hazier track. It wouldn't sound very good during the winter, I don't think. I don't really think the proliferation of hardass summer jams is a bad thing; it's just something that's worth commenting on. I love "Lean Back", but it's a Number One single and probably the biggest jam of the summer, while "Never Scared" was a pretty minor hit in comparison, even if it was on 92Q's Top 4 at 4 for like a month. And yay-uh, I like it when the pop stuff gets hard too. But doesn't it seem a bit weird that so much of it got so hard this summer? Part of me wants to draw parallels to Fahrenheit 911 or something.
yeah, "Slow Motion" would make a lot more sense there than "No Problem", which I thought was a really odd choice.
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