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This blog might have, though.

Anyway, besides that, I just wanted to mention how much I like Chris Brown, because I didn’t realize it until recently. But seriously, don’t even try to tell me everything about this isn’t awesome.

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Did this song come out in the US? Because this song was number one on the South African charts a while back, and I’ve heard that it didn’t even come out in the US, let alone chart.

In any case, it’s pretty money. And it was inescapable in South Africa for like two and a half months.

Also, I imagine everyone else has heard “Good Good” by Ashanti, because it apparently came out forever ago. I heard it for the first time on the in-plane radio station on my flight back to the US last night. Apparently this track peaked at 30 in the Billboard Hot R&B/Rap charts, and didn’t chart on the Hot 100. If that isn’t proof that the music business is completely unfair and makes no sense, I don’t know what is. Because this track is really fucking catchy. Plus the music video (after the jump) is good.

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Well, this is clearly not mastered and it seems like it hasn’t even been properly mixed yet. But, uh, I don’t know what else to say. It’s pretty much like all the other songs, although this is kind of an upbeat/dance song that could have been on the Sega Genesis Sonic soundtrack. I’m not sure how Kanye is getting away with releasing this album, but apparently he’s on to something if people like it so much.

Actually, on second listen, it’s kind of a cool track. Reminds me a little of early MGMT. It’s so hard for me to listen to Kanye songs with poor production.

Kanye West — Anyway (feat. Kid Cudi) (via NahRight)

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I understand it’s completely blasphemous to suggest that Illmatic isn’t Nas’s best album. But that’s not really my argument anyway–I’m not going to contest that The Lost Tapes is better than Illmatic, because it may well not be. Illmatic is definitely one of the most influential albums in the history of hip hop, and probably the most masterfully constructed.

But I still find myself listening to The Lost Tapes five times for every time I listen to Illmatic. Mostly because where Illmatic is carefully and thoughtfully constructed, The Lost Tapes is personal and emotional. It’s almost as well thought-out, but it feels less filtered and more authentic. It’s so much easier for me to connect to autobiographical, emoting The Lost Tapes Nas than it is to connect to Illmatic Nas.

I mean, look at these lyrics from “Doo Rags:”

The styles come from prison, they used potatoes making liquor
Just to prove we some creative n****s
Turning nothing into something, is God’s work
And you get nothing without struggle and hard work

Honestly, that may be the single most beautiful hip hop lyric I’ve ever heard. I think it’s fair to say that most people see the idea of prisoners making alcohol out of potatoes as either depressing or immoral; at best people might see it as neutral.

Nas succinctly points out an incredible positivity in it that I never would have seen otherwise. That’s beautiful. That’s art. That’s God’s work.

Plus, I have to appreciate it when a song (“Nothing Lasts Forever”) starts with a brief monologue like this:

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Vertical bed

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(via Stereogum.) I’ll go see that movie.

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Because it’s finals week here in the southern semester. But I decided to take a break to let you guys know (if you didn’t already) that this is a really good David Bowie song.

“Always Crashing in the Same Car” (from his criminally underexposed 1977 album Low)

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I don’t know what to think. I don’t even know what that means. Re-release an album with different songs? Can you even do that? Is it the same album anymore? What happens to what used to be C3 (which, by the way, I liked a lot)?

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We’ve now heard three tracks from 808s and Heartbreak, and they share a distinct style, so we can guess that the rest of the album will sound similar. I didn’t want to judge the tracks too quickly, because I had no reference point to compare the tracks to. But my kneejerk reaction was negative, and justifiably so–Kanye is unarguably out of his element on all of these tracks.

Kanye is not a talented singer, and the unbelievably sparse backing tracks contrast sharply with his production throughout his rap career. In the past, Kanye has rarely been content to leave his sample-based beats unadorned with additional instrumentation, whether a single synthesizer or an ensemble of horn players, featured rappers, a singer and two professional keyboard players.

Even the production is amateurish at best. Kanye’s goofy, cartoonish synthesizers on all of these tracks, particularly “Heartless” (I’m pretty convinced that the synth in the verses is the default flute tone on a $100 Casio keyboard somewhere), is particularly surprising in contrast to his consistently adept use of synthesizers in the past.

FADER, in their review of the listening party for 808s and Heartbreak, similarly struggled for a point of reference, and came up with The Eraser, Thom Yorke’s solo album.  The comparison is tempting because (a) both albums feature emotional, gloomy singing over electronic tracks and (b) both musicians are considered pretty cool in music circles, despite (or in addition to) their tremendous mainstream success. But the comparison falls flat because (a) Thom Yorke can sing, (b) The Eraser is well-produced in the conventional sense, and (c) Thom Yorke draws upon alternative and indie rock influences, whereas Kanye is clearly drawing upon R&B, hip hop, and even the blues.

Of course, the whole reason I wrote this is because I finally came up with a good comparison for 808s and Heartbreak. It’s Cody Chesnutt (the guy at the top of this post).

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But even with my bias, this is solid track. It has all the classic elements of a good Little Brother song: lyrics that combine indignant, maverick, I’ll-do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-mine optimism with blatant negativity in a 80% to 20% ratio. A soulful beat. And it even has 9th Wonder’s punchy snares like back in the good old days when he was in LB (he produces this particular track). Plus I’m a sucker for disjointed sample-based beats (like this and especially this).

The track will be on their album Separate But Equal, which drops on November 4th.

Little Brother — PassionFlower (produced by 9th Wonder) (via Vinyl Meltdown)

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