Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh Word: “ranking the performances on that ‘Racks’ remix that's 12 goddamn minutes long” edition

I guess I didn't realize that just ‘cause you promised em a spot on your song means you better find a way to fit em ALL on your song. From the “Fuck off; I love it” collection, this one fascinates and entertains me because of its odd mix - 17 DEEP! - of terrible rappers and fantastic ones. Nickatina, KRS, Earl S. and Lil' ½ Dead were all too busy, I guess.

Ranking the performances on the “Racks on Racks” remix, in order of lyrical strength and overall auditory enjoyment. LEH'GO:

17. Wiz “15 Minutes” Khalifa

Racks on, racks off, see that blonde stripper, my hat’s off
Lookin’ at my Rollie, ’bout thirty grand what that cost
Smoke like I’m in Cali, fuck takin’ flight, I blast off
N---s talkin’ tattoos, we should have a tat-off...
Way back in 2004, I told ‘em it was a wrap
Now my life ain’t my life no more, I told you, n---a, it’s a wrap

Like Drake, this young man's voice has the appeal of a foghorn and he clearly needs to see an audiologist. When you are pitchy on the microphone and you are not singing, that's a problem - and not in a good way, like ooooh this Random Axe is gonna be a problem. I mean, an actual problem, like a hearing issue. Rhyming wrap with wrap, saying “racks on/racks off” (makes no sense), that “tat-off” line, and his amateurish cadence throughout which sounds how I would sound if I got on the mic (i.e., bad, just bad); the whole thing is an exercise in delivery-inadequacy and poor storytelling. How bout a cheeseburger-off instead, Wiz? Did you know Dylan wrote a song about you? (Wiz is very thin, that's all I'm saying)

16. Ace Hood

I’m that n---a in fact (in fact), paper tall as Shaq (oh boy)
Blood, Sweat, and Tears, it’ll be on your local Wal-Mart rack

IF YOU THINK I AM SPENDING MY MONEY TO SUPPORT SAM WALTON’S HIDEOUS CHAIN OF ANTI-UNION DISCRIMINATORY INDENTURED SERVITUDE DUNGEONS YOU MUST BE OUT YOUR DAMN MIND. It's hard to top Wiz in terms of wackness, but a freaking Wal-Mart mention is going to ensure a spot for you at the top of the list.

15. B.o.B

Call me Bobby Ray, but it’s not two names
Flyin’ through the city, all-black, Bruce Wayne...
As a kid, I was struck by lightning, it’s no wonder I’m electrifying
Fuck a brainstorm, I’ll fuck around and cause a power outage
And it ain’t no rivals, if it was, it’d be no survivors
Just gimme a hour, I’ll light it up like an Eiffel Tower

Sigh. OK. I really did try to approach this activity without prejudice even though I strongly dislike this particular individual. After listening with a clear head and an open heart, though, it turns out this guy is an annoying doofus! What's all that garbage about lightning? Why is someone other than Eddy Grant trying to talk to me about electricity? Who encouraged him to enter into battles that are completely unwinnable? His delusion is not cute; it’s irritating. And his voice sounds like Tyrone Biggums’ at the start of his verse. And his style of dress makes him look like he works at Barneys*. And sorry, but “Bobby” and “Ray” are 2 names. And he appears to have some sort of weather symbol tattooed onto his wrist area, which I never noticed before. I should've been making fun of it, and it's sad I missed out on doing so all these months.


Wiz and his tat-off are waiting for you, Bobby.

14. Wale

Racks on racks on racks, I’m tryna smash and not call back
My name Wale, you so silly, wet my willie, might call you a cab
Yeah, ridin’ around wit’ that reefer scent, ridin’ around with Ms. Reece and them
When I’m in the groove, I can freak a tune, I’m smoother than alopecia skin
I shows out, like dope when I put that flow down
Like soap when I put my clothes on, I’m jokin’, but I be Foamed out
And all she want is more bags, but all I want is more 1s
I told her “Bring that money back” like all them racks is Nordstrom’s, whooaaa

Let's say I had a friend named “Blonde Patti Smith” who I kept trying to get you to like. Man I just did this siiiiiick track with Blonde Patti. I really push her in your face. She's my sidekick at every party and I keep suggesting we have ciphers and then I just toss the mic to her so she can get loose. Me and Blonde Patti are going on tour; have you listened to her new mixtape yet? You would hate that. It's annoying. Wale doesn't understand this concept.

Fresh from putting on a suit and standing next to Rawss behind a rented Bentley, Wale lays down yet another verse about wearing Nikes and not calling girls. What a G. Using the word smash is extra hard too, or so says my cousin in 8th grade. I would caution my fellow ladies against accepting a date invitation from Wale - he's a grown man who uses the word smash - although if you're a woman who thinks sleeping with Wale is a good idea, you are impaired and you probably say smash for the act of lovemaking too, so maybe you kind of deserve what you get. Another terrible thing I can't ignore: the way he says “WHOOAAA” at the end of his own verse and everybody hates that as much as I do, right? Oops, pow, surprise! And finally, “alopecia skin” is gross. I understand the analogy and I guess it's kind of clever-? But it's still gross and he never brings nothin new to the table and that's how he solidified the #14 spot. Can't ride the “No Hands” gravy train forever, lazybones.

13. Trae

I’m the hood if you wondered where I’m at
In the back of a Chevy that’s all black...
Couple of whi-whips that I ride like yachts
A couple of haters lookin’, I’m knowin’ them n---s hot
And tell ‘em that I don’t give a damn
Hard as a motherfucker, tell ‘em I was HAM

I'm pretty confident nobody was wondering where Trae was at. Thanks for the update, though, buddy. He's on the track by default - I think it's likely he was offered a chance to hop on and contribute a verse only in an attempt by the label to make the geographic representation less lopsided (MCs from Georgia on the “Racks” remix: 5. MCs from Texas: 3, including Trae). Scarface is currently otherwise engaged, Pimp C is unavailable, and Devin just flat-out said no when they asked him to get on, so Trae, you're up.


12. Twista

Everybody wanna hate because I’m on, blowin’ head back, bottles by the zone
Twista finna get up on the track and spit it the way I do simp-a-ly because I like this song
When I step up out the Maserati car, gotta pull it, pull it, pull it, pull it from the jar
Then I blow, I’ma close out the par’, with some killers and everybody know who we are

I don’t know, I guess I’m not impressed by machine-gun delivery anymore. It’s cute for a while and then it just gets old and gimmick-y, plus it’s really hard to rap along with in the car and that's a bummer.

11. Big Sean

I got single bitches tryin’, married bitches lyin’
I take ‘em to the crib and leave our future in a condom
I wake up fresher than these motherfuckers as is
Look inside my closet, that shit look like it’s Raks Fifth...
I’m at the altar sayin’ my vows to this Benjamin Franklin power
You buy her a house, I won’t buy her a vowel, you fell in love, and I fell in her mouth

That condom line. Ugh. I hate myself for saying so, but it really is kind of amusing. (I didn’t say “Verses on the ‘Racks’ remix ranked according to level of female-friendliness and unbridled romance”; I'm ranking them on lyrical strength and overall enjoyment.) When did everyone start saying LEH’GO in their songs and At what point is the jump-on-my-remix madness going to end are the 2 primary questions this song elicits inside of me, but hearing Sean on any song brings up the question Which other MC named Big is going to battle him - Boi, K.R.I.T., L (even from the grave, he could take Sean), Smalls (even from the grave), Noyd, Mike, Pooh? In other opposing-forces news, this track's producer is Sonny Digital, and Kool Keith was an Analog Brother. Feels like there's a cage match between those two I should be planning.

10. Dose

Got Activist in my Sprite, Benjamins in my Robins
Franck Muller wit’ flooded ice, but I still got my brightness
In the fast lane, gettin’ slow brain in a 2012 Maserati
I’m kickin’, pimpin’, like Liu Kang, my coupe smokin’ like Friday
Puffin’ on that garlic, sick off all the Marley
Inked up on my hands and arms, got Def Jam in my pocket

I'm sorry, but WHO? I’m not familiar. “Dose”? Unless he's a new golfwanger or the next big thing in YMCMB or endorsed by Doomsy, why am I hearing about him? Is he Dose One’s son? Who the heck is he and did I mention this song's got SEVENTEEN DUDES on it? Fuckin thing is 12 minutes long as a result and in Ramones terms that's like 22 or 23 songs. So much filler makes my tummy hurt. This verse should've been edited out but it taught me that “garlic” is a term for weed and that there is a brand of jeans called Robin's; nothing more, nothing less.


We got racks on racks on racks (she got)
Racks on racks on racks (they got)
Racks on racks on racks...
All around the globe, bein’ on TV
Everywhere you look, you see YC
Hatin’-ass n---s just wishin’ they were me
Way too big for my ma’fuckin’ jeans
I’m so fly I don’t even got wings

Ranked right in the middle of the list for a reason, this is an unremarkable verse that, like Dose's, I neither hate nor love. It's stupid (“I'm so fly I don't even got wings”) but I don't care enough to get mad at it. Yawn. Wake me up when we get to Bun B’s part. YC's responsible for that monster hook, though, and I do like the inclusiveness of his sentiment. It really is a glorious sing-along Power 106 beast. Racks: he got, she got, they got, we all got. Gimme my cut, please.

8. Cory Gunz

Young Money, Cash Money so strong, keep scorin’, I’ma bring it on home
Those Xans and the lean cause zones, somethin’ tan with a mean jawbone...
Goin’ for the grips every day ’til the grave
I be worried about chips, you be worried about the Lay’s

I don't care if you follow it up with Gunz; the name Cory will never be intimidating - though if your real name is Peter Pankey jr., I can't criticize you for adopting a firearm-related alias in an attempt to make yourself seem badder. This one gets a pretty high spot on the list by default (he's simply not as weak as Wale or Wiz), though that “chips/Lay's” line is sort of cute and helped get him to #8. Plus I love the blatant truth-telling contained in his verse (Young Money Cash Money really is so strong at the moment) as well as the blatant pandering to Soulja.

7. Yo Gotti

Gotta front me a brick, that ain’t nothin’ to you
Just ran through a ticket, there ain’t nothin’ to do
Yeah, I love these streets like I love the booth
Mr. Cocaine Music, I’m 100 proof
Got white on white on white, ice on ice on ice
And when I’m in the club it look like lights on lights on lights

Um, Jeezy is Mr. Cocaine Music, just for the record. Glad to see Yo Gotti's still alive, though. For me, it's all about the voice with him. Honestly I can't think of one memorable thing he's said on a track but I can tell you everything is said in a nice gravelly Memphis twang.

6. Cory Mo

Catch me in the city with the trunk on crack
Top dropped down, black on black
Fistful of wood, twisted for the good
Check my bank account, got racks on racks
Look around, fool, got a wall full of plaques
Platinum and gold, you gots to love that
Posted up just like a thumbtack
Better hide ya ho, ’cause she bound to get snatched
H-Town, Texas to ATL
She got a fat ass, she prolly know me well
Keep it on the low, never kiss and tell
True player, Cory Mo cold as hell

Two Corys on one song! Name the last time that happened! CM's got a deep, fatherly voice and uses the world “cold” as an adjective like an old man who's seen some stuff, or like Drexl Spivey; I appreciate both of these things about him. Last time I remember hearing cold, Jay-Z said it right before he asked me to 2-way him. Bring it back in songs, please! Also Cory's name is fun and bouncy, making it appropriate for a cool (cold!) intro. If I were a boxing announcer or the host of a mixtape I'd introduce Cory with a cute rhyme, like Cory Mo with the classic flow. I lack the grasp of technical language to describe the rhythmic rapid beauty of his style, but it's textbook Texan. Cold Cory Mo with the Texan flow.

5. Waka Flocka Flame

I got racks on top of racks, stacks on top of stacks
Bands on top of bands, got me fuckin her and her friends
Bad boys don’t do papers, that was just for my haters...
Got a bad bitch from the U.K.
She do everything I say
Go crazy when she hear my music
She got “Grove St.” on replay

This is just pure magic (FLOCKA!) despite the presence of Auto-Tune. All of apt. 680 was stunned by yet another nuanced, sophisticated performance by Flocka (Flocka!) on the remix. Listening to him is a proven heartrate-increasor. Nobody can outdo him, spirit-wise. Flocka is Flocka's biggest fan and that kind of self-confidence is contagious. I get dressed and do my hair to the sweet sounds of Benjamin Flocka, then I walk down the street like I'm a bad bitch from the UK and can't nobody tell me nothin.

4. CyHi Da Prynce

Got racks on racks on racks, y’all rap so wack on wax
Purple by the pound, that’s that Flacco, haaaa
I make big plays, I got big chips
Blue money like six Crips
Switch gears like stick shifts...
Pull triggers like hamstrings
Boy, I’m doin’ my damn thing
Big blood with them bricks, pimp
Get off a key like I can’t sing
Got the seven on me like big jersey
Ridin’ round, and this bitch dirty
I’m the best, hands down, they nicknamed me 6:30

In a stunning moment of self-alienation, I found that I actually enjoyed this. Joe Flacco is someone I can never get in my Fantasy draft, but he wears purple for the Ravens and I like when there are cute NFL references in rap music (usually only people like GZA and Monch attempt this). Cy's verse ranked so highly because he mixes up his cadence style and his fast delivery resembles that of every Texas rapper since '98*. Why does he have to spell his name like that, though. Why.

3. Young Jeezy

Young, if it’s convertible, then how is it a hardtop?
(then Jeezy makes a car-screech sound, love it)
Bitch, I hit one button, my roof open like a hard spot
Make me throw my diamonds up, bitch, my life was hard knock
Had so much kush and Ciroc, bitch, I think my heart stop
Every night’s a weekend, every day’s a Friday night
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, bitch, this just my Friday ice
’87, brick fare, yeah, I’m talkin’ thirty racks
All I sold is hundos, where the fuck my twenties at?

First of all: YEEEEEAAAAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHH. I'd also like to add CTE, baby; we all we got. Additionally: Jeezy took a break from mentoring youngsters in the business of cocaine to write a confusing verse about days of the week. If every day is a Friday night, that means you are up and about like you would be during 12 - 4 AM on Friday, going places and doing things, hugging girls, shaking hands. You therefore sleep/recover during the other hours, which, if my overthinking is correct, would be actual PM hours. This is the schedule that Ben Franklin would've recommended; the Snowman keeps it healthy, wealthy, and wise. Jeezy's continued presence in rap is also helping to offset all the damage B.o.B. is doing to the reputation of the state of Georgia.

2. Nelly

Yeah, they call me Country Grammar, my brother out the slammer
I’m crimson color painted, you can call that Alabama
I’m not from Alabama, but check out how I roll tide
He might have the same whip, but check out how I roll mine
Y’all n---s ain’t no stars, y’all only in it for the cars
The sky is your limit, mayne, and mine somewhere ’bout Mars...
I ride wit’ them boys in the middle of the map
St. Louis, Detroit, Chi-town, Nap
Down to the Dirty, back up through the trap
But the money don’t stack, man, money overlap
Yeah, y’all better watch it, mayne, right here we lock and load
Two things is for certain, mayne, and one thing is fa sho’
Got a house on hundred acres, I’ve never seen my neighbors
A chick in ATL, and from Buckhead to Decatur

A younger me had a meannnn crush on Nells but this verse was ranked based completely on ear-canal enjoyment rather than any romantic feelings. I can be objective sometimes! First of all, how can you not LOVE a dude who starts his verse talking about how happy he is to have his little brother back? Right?? It makes you forget that he just said “They call me Country Grammar” (which they do not actually do). His brother got out a year ago, too, which makes it that much more touching - Nelly is still on that high of being reunited with him. The joy hasn't faded and he's gonna let the world know through the majesty of song. Whatta guy.

Nelly has suffered the unfortunate curse of pop radio stardom wherein his talent is wasted on songs they play at H&M. I pray he either starts hanging out on Fairfax to get people interested in him again, or gets really filthy on a mixtape so H&M loses interest completely. Or, you know, he could pull a Luda move and simultaneously be popular and non-wack. This verse is a good start. “Check out how I roll tide” is clever, even though Nelly should be a Mizzou fan, obviously. I hate it when people abandon sports allegiances for the sake of being cool, or because another team's got a fresher colorway for their fitted. “I ride with them boys in the middle of the map”: also clever. Geography raps are too rare. Blatantly calling out his colleagues on this same track - “y'all only in it for the cars (WIZ stop acting like you don't see me looking at you)” - is a move of bravery and integrity. And “Two things is for certain mayne and one thing is fa sho” is just pure language-rhythm heaven; I will be reciting this verse in the Civic all over LA this summer.

1. Bun B

*Bun B, I’m a underground king (kang)
In the candy-painted car on swing (swang)
With the top on drop and the trunk on pop
Boy, you can’t tell me a damn thang...
Yeah, I rep that P-A-T
One hundred, yeah, that’s me
If you don’t recognize, you gon’ see
I’m a straight-up trill OG
In a black-on-black-on-black
Cadillac, like a Mack on clacks
Try to jack and I will attack
It’s a fact that I ain’t givin’ up my stacks like that

LOVE. LOVELOVE. Bout time a grown man showed up. Chunk the deuce, get throwed, somthingsomething candypaintwoodgrainVogues, breakin sketti, go hard annnnd don't forget to ride foreign all the livelong day.



danps said...

Jeezy's temporal conflation seems to be a pretty clear deconstruction and extension of the Simmons "rock and roll all night/party every day" formulation. Or: if one rock and rolls all night and parties every day continually for long enough, time itself warps into an unending Friday night regardless of what the calendar and clock would otherwise dictate.

Given the relationship between math and music I suspect there may be a relationship between this and the Mean Value Theorem, but I am not knowledgeable enough either subject to establish that connection.

Incidentally, this post belongs in the time capsule.

Dart Adams said...

Thanks for that, Logan. I was never going to hear this fucking song ever & now I never even have to be curious. I'll just stick with my 3 month old Random Axe advance & these exclusive beats K Def sent me for now.

God bless you, madam...