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(Post-it notes for Kanye’s studio):

Kanye West – “Love Lockdown (Remastered)”: All those people who bought this on iTunes are huge suckers. Remember like two months ago when this supposedly came out? And then a new version came out that was better? And then this version came out? Well, if rushing out an album in two weeks struck anyone as a bad idea, this is proof that sometimes it pays to tweak things until they are better. This song still isn’t going to win any awards (well, I mean, it probably is, but that’s not the point), but ramping up those tribal drums and the filling out the bassline and whatever else is different, was a really good call. Hey, there’s still a lot of post-election goodwill, maybe nobody will be upset if it takes a couple more weeks to fine-tune this album.

Kanye West – “Heartless (Remastered)”: I’m not exactly sure how this song was changed other than moving the bass on the equalizer up a little bit, but I don’t really have an ear for these things. I kind of liked the spareness on the original version, but this one was altered so slightly that it won’t make a huge difference. The video is really cool, even if animated Kanye is still a terrible actor. “Any Way” would have been a better single pick than this one, though.

Jay-Z – “History”: Oops, you mixed this wrong. This is an awesome beat, but seriously, despite the problem I mentioned on the “Heartless” note, within two seconds of this song starting I could tell the bass needed to be brought up and the vocals on the sample sounded tinny and high-pitched. I think I can fix this with the EQ dials on my car stereo, so it should be possible on ProTools too. It would be a shame to put this version on the album because this is an amazing song. In addition to the implications that this song has by being leaked the day after Election Day (the original leak version sounded a lot fuller, by the way – bring that back, that’s all), it sees Jay confronting his role as the preeminent figure in hip hop. There is obvious desire to read into the lyrics about making history and achieving victory as a commentary on Obama, but this is also about Jay’s career, and it’s deep stuff. With its personification (Victory, Defeat, Success, History, etc.) there is little subtlety, but it still is dipping into the literary concerns of poets like Spenser and Shakespeare. In his Amoretti Spenser claims “For I myself shall like to this decay/And eek my name be wiped out likewise./Not so, (quod I) let baser things devise/To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:” hoping that his poem will immortalize his love. This is not the kind of thing that it’s cool to rap about. The fact that I’m quoting a 16th century poet proves that. But consider Jay’s lyrics:

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Here’s a dope track from Brother Ali while the rest of America is busy dancing in the streets.

Brother Ali – “You’re The Man (Mr. President)”

“Today I’ve got my hand on my heart/I might go and plant a flag in my yard.”

Also, Kevin Nottingham threw together a mixtape for you to play at your ongoing Obama victory party. You can grab it here.

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Hello, Mr. President.

We interrupt our usual programming to bring you this special Election Day bulletin: Vote. But don’t take my word for it, a lot of our favorite artists want you to as well:

Jay-Z:

Nas:

6th Sense:

(You can download an mp3 of this one here.)

Redman:

You may have noticed there’s a political bent to these. I’ll let them speak for themselves. You can vote for whomever, as long as you vote. Seriously, stop reading this right now, get in your car or bike or bus or whatever and go vote.

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In case you haven’t noticed this blog’s auxiliary purpose of posting political satires of pop songs, I’m about to throw another one at you. But that’s how it is here, the music blog with the most persistent vapid political commentary.Anyway, this is a group of middle schoolers from Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta knocking off T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.” I’m actually just going to embed the short version with the interview because it’s more interesting and it has better sound quality. You can see the full version here.

Anyway, here’s “You Can Vote However You Like:”

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Is there anyone else who thinks the series of T-shirts that Stereogum’s been putting out this week are colossally stupid?

I’m really waiting for the moment when I meet somebody wearing an Obama/Oberst ’08 shirt so I can punch them. Seriously, you decided that not only was your love for Bright Eyes equivalent to your love for a presidential candidate, but also that you’d rather give $20 to the ASPCA for a shirt with Obama’s name on it than to the Obama campaign itself? Maybe you already maxed out your donations, Conor Oberst-loving hipster dude, but I’m guessing that more likely you spent that $2300 on lattes and stationary for writing crappy poems. Way to be the change you wish to see in the world.

The Stuffed Animal Collective one was kind of funny, but you are a pretentious douche if you wear that.

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Kanye West is going to be performing at the Democratic Convention. Also, Barack Obama might be appearing at Lollapalooza. Man, Democrats are so much hipper than Republicans. Although John McCain does have the endorsements of, well, no musicians, as far as I can tell. I guess music is a sore subject for Republicans these days.

The GZA released a dis track towards 50 Cent. I’m starting to feel bad for 50. I mean, he’s kind of out of the picture now. It may be all about album sales, but T.O.S. kind of hit the P.O.S. mark on that, at least by G-Unit standards, so I don’t know what 50’s spin is these days.

Okay, I like Freeway, even if this song has nothing to do with free speech in the way that, say, Nas might mean it. But damn if I don’t hate snitches. Plus, it’s a good track:
Freeway – “Freedom of Speech”

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In the dizzying two and a half years of innumerable mixtapes and feature verses that led up to the release of Tha Carter III, there was such an inflation of expectations that it seemed unlikely that Lil’ Wayne could release anything that would live up to them. Interestingly enough, Wayne’s release had almost the opposite result one would expect from such an intensely hyped release. Rather than be disappointed by the album for not being perfect, fans started to promote this admittedly good album as Wayne’s classic, despite its inconsistencies.

Unfortunately for Lil’ Wayne, his bid to release a classic has been upstaged barely a month later by a release from the pantheon of artists he is trying to join. Nas, of course, has been approaching Wayne’s challenging task of creating a classic from the opposite direction, having tried, fruitlessly, to live up to Illmatic and having the onus of recreating it on him ever since its release. It is safe to say that Nas will never make another Illmatic, but he has just dropped the hip hop album of 2008 that most deserves to be called a classic.
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You know you’re the best rapper alive when Barack Obama says so:

You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil’ Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school,” Obama, D-Ill., told a cheering crowd, brought to a standing ovation at a town hall meeting in Powder Springs, Georgia.

Damn, he’s even cooler than that guy who doesn’t know how to use a computer. I guess knowing about the Internet probably has a similar effect on record sales and political donations.

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