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Top 10 Non-Album Tracks Pt. 2

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‘Stress’ by Justice off : I love Justice the way I love my Nike Vintage Runners as like an example of hipster douchebag effrontery so extreme it becomes great again. And like those vintage runners,’†’ is great enough that its context or fans or what it may or may not represent just stop mattering. Justice are the great part of the French, the side that realized that Jerry Lewis is really fucking funny and that Poe can’t really write well but his stuff is really interesting and smart in its own way…more Derrida than Foucault, more Barthes than Baudelaire…you know??!!

‘D.A.N.C.E’ is a fun track but like a lot of singles from kinda out-there albums, it’s sort of an anomaly on the record…’Waters of Nazareth’ is a more telling single but was previously released as a stand-alone single, so I’m going with ‘Stress’ which comes before ‘Waters’ and is the point where ‘†’ gets really crazy again. The dentist-drill breakdown, the stiff poor man’s ‘Thriller’ drums, the way the trick of letting the beat like really fucking drop is used a couple of times in the song and is still exhilarating, and this randomly placed shard of static noise throughout, it sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a Romero Mall Zombie dance party or a bunch of Jersey dudes pumping their fists and pouring water on one another in some kinda gross club or my dumb-ass driving to work.

‘Top Drop Dyne Remix’ by UGK off Underground Kingz: This is the version of ‘Top Drop Dyne’ that follows-up disc 1’s closer ‘Trill Niggaz Never Die’, I just put it through Cool Edit and turned it into its own track. It’s representative of how dense and overwhelming ‘Underground Kingz’ can be: When a track like this is relegated to a hidden track at the end of the first disc, you made a fucking solid album. The number of Southern rap tracks that use clean-ish like near-hair metal guitars must be entering triple digits, but it doesn’t really get old and its one of the more non-soul samples that generally succeeds.

I was sort of in denial of it when this album came out, but yeah, overall, Bun B is a little disappointing on ‘Underground Kingz’, especially- unfair as this might be- when you compare it to anything he drops on ‘Ridin’ Dirty’. Maybe it’s my fanboy justification here, but it seems like Bun’s underwhelmingness(?) was on-purpose. With Pimp C getting out of jail and this being the first genuine UGK release in awhile, it was Pimp’s turn to shine. This, of course takes on even greater meaning because of Pimp’s death (it’s still crazy to type that out, that Pimp C is dead). On this track in particular, Pimp’s Southern whine sounds even more extreme and confident and it’s great that he not only addresses his annoyance with East-Coast elitism, but takes time to address the fact that he gets shit for addressing East-Coast elitism. Ending his verse with “get your fingers out your ass, bitch!” is about as unapologetic as you can get.

‘Can’t Say No (featuring Trick Daddy’ by Kanye West (unreleased): The best Kanye West song since the shit from ‘College Dropout’? This song should be the blueprint for how Kanye could continue to do different stuff with his beats but not be out-there in this predictably “out-there” way. The beat mixes chipmunk soul with some total retro dance-party bump that people like M.I.A or A-Trak and stuff are into. But over it, instead of funny rap sloganeering, Kanye gives a totally sincere verse that apes the content of ‘Spaceship’. What exactly is this song? If Trick Daddy’s verse didn’t mention ringtones and gas prices, I’d swear it’s from like 2003 and on one of those pre-’Dropout’ mixtapes.

Similar to the opening track on ‘Graduation’, Kanye’s sloppy rapping and embrace of his normal speaking voice, gives one a feeling of like, slowly moving into something shitty or at least, not so fun. When he says “Wake up, new day, same shit” his voice feels like he really is waking up to deal with some bullshit. The stuff about not only wanting to quit but come back and “go postal” and the whole idea of “tak[ing] shit too far” nods toward the very real frustration turned self-destruction you feel working some annoying job. Cynics can say Kanye’s day isn’t like that anymore and maybe never really was, but his ability to articulate those feelings in a way that is ultimately, inspiring, matters more than whenever was the last time he worked at the GAP or something; he clearly remembers those feelings well.

Written by Brandon

December 28th, 2007 at 12:09 am

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