Sunday, January 25, 2009

Return of the G

Just a passing thought before I continue the mc countdown. I was listening to the Vampire Weekend album on the E train today, which precipitated my rumination upon the Strokes debut, thanks to the frequent comparisons between the media attitudes towards the two. The two groups also share Manhattan as their points of origin, and make very catchy songs, but there aren't many other similarities between them. I got off the train at 14th street and began walking east towards Union Square. Meanwhile, I'd switched over Is This It, which felt infinitely more suited to the dirty, bustling streets of downtown Manhattan than the crisp, relatively pastoral sounds of VW. I do enjoy the VW album, but it will never feel as raw and real to me as the Strokes' debut as I traverse the grimy subways and streets of NYC. I don't know if anything ever will. Well except maybe 'Obstacle 1' ...

4. Andre 3000

I'm listening to ATliens, specifically 'Elevators,' right now, and the creepiness of Andre's verses that bookend the song are giving me goosebumps as usual. I'm gonna come right out and say that 3000 earned his spot on the list primarily for his lyricism. His use of enunciation has always been good, and he has an impeccable way of riding the beat, but overall his technique is far from revolutionary. Additionally, his voice isn't particularly memorable, except maybe when he breaks out into song like in 'Call Before I Come'. But those verses! Literate, thought-provoking, heartfelt, and personal, essentially everything that Kanye strives for but often comes short of achieving. Andre 3k is the original introspective rapper, but he never fall into the traps of preachy self-righteousness, boring positivity, or whiny bitching. In fact, in terms of mainstream rappers, I can't think of anyone whose verses come so close to poetry. Just check out the lyrics to 'Millenium'.  That doesn't mean Dre can't come hard, as demonstrated by his work on classics like '2 Dope Boyz in A Cadillac' and 'B.OB.'. What's thoroughly impressive about Andre 3000, though, is that he just keeps getting better. This is saying a lot, because he started at a pretty high place. Hopefully he's put his 'Love Below' musical dabblings behind him, and he's ready to return full time as a hip-hop mc. However, Dre's idiosyncrasies and unpredictability have always been part of what made him great, so maybe it's best that he keeps us on our toes.

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