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On Ryan Leslie’s “Christian Dior Denim Flow” Verse…


Late last week, Kanye released “So Appalled,” and tucked inside of that doomy, gloomy beat is the melody to Leslie’s “Addicted.” You really hear it at the beginning of Jay-Z’s verse. Kanye kinda repurposed it as this triumphant but sad, very 8-bit sounding thing, which totally works, but also made me just want to listen to “Addicted” as soon as possible, you know? A few days later, my local radio station played a Ryan Leslie mini-medley (“Addicted,” “Diamond Girl” into um, G-Unit’s “Bottom Girl”) and I’d like to think Kanye’s quasi-quote from “Addicted” reminded the hits station DJ of this 2008 minor hit, because you know, why else would he play songs from like, forever ago? That’s Ryan Leslie’s Top 40 reputation right now: Pretty much non-existent unless some DJ sticks a few personal picks into on an otherwise, Clear Channel-approved playlist.

This week, Ryan Leslie actually takes part in “G.O.O.D Music Friday” along with John Legend, Pusha T, Lloyd Banks, and Kid Cudi on “Christian Dior Denim Flow.” Of course, everybody’s third or fourth favorite nerdy R & B production genius is the most interesting part of the song. In part, he’s interesting because overall, the song is kinda whatever, but mostly because Leslie raps about as well as Diddy and has the same stuffed-nose delivery as early Common and that is a very awesome and memorable combination. He’s also hitting all the things that make Ryan Leslie so fascinating and emphatically not a superstar. He’s doing his morally serious nice-guy schtick here, breaking down some bad bitch at a club or wherever, but not as a hater, but like a concerned, wizened dad or something: “Man, I can see the flaws through your flavor/Look like Wonder Woman and still need a savior.” That’s very clever and pretty vicious.

From there, R. Les is in lecture mode (“I done seen drugs and money run the whole game”) and his half-raps interact really well with Kanye’s brooding strings, and it comes off like a guy genuinely bummed-out about this kind of stuff no matter how many times he sees it. Like, he’s not yet numb to it all like Kanye, and he isn’t comfortable bemoaning it but still sticking his dick in it like Drake or Kid Cudi, so it’s just a shady, messy scene he doesn’t want to be a part of. Then, the verse totally loses steam (appropriately, around the time he says “titties”) but you know, it’s Ryan Leslie and whether he means to or not, he injects something a little too sincere and heart-on-the-sleeve to whatever he does and that’s enough. One of the sub-sub-sub delights of these “Good Friday” songs is that simple: an answer to the question, who’ll show up and how?

Written by Brandon

October 4th, 2010 at 7:42 am

6 Responses to 'On Ryan Leslie’s “Christian Dior Denim Flow” Verse…'

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  1. I’m still waiting to hear you comment on Cudi and his lack of any notable skill besides hook-writing.


    4 Oct 10 at 7:23 pm

  2. Ha, I mean the kids love the guy don’t they? But yes, he is absolutely fucking awful. I think I may avoid talking about him because I feel very old not “getting” him….

    So many people were talking up his album as really great and to me it just sounded awful. Except for the song about being a Werewolf.


    4 Oct 10 at 7:29 pm

  3. I think MOTM is a pretty easy listen and a couple (two exactly) great songs. But yeah, he should keep to himself because being alongside actual rappers (and Ryan Leslie) make him look like what he is.

    Is it the mastering or it is just Pusha T’s voice that makes him sound like hes in front of a beat??


    4 Oct 10 at 8:10 pm

  4. That werewolf song is still my shit. If I knew someone with the free-time and common interest I’d ask them to dub me a digital copy of the Cudi album with just the instrumentals and his hooks and no painfully off-key and mush-mouthed rap-singing.

    I only bring dude up because I was listening real close for Ryan Leslie’s verse, pretty much my only reason to listen to this track, and all of a sudden Cudi pops out of nowhere. And it’s almost like someone’s doing a Kid Cudi parody.


    5 Oct 10 at 12:50 am

  5. song’s not “whatever”. it’s sick. as fukk. of course, imo.

    kanye’s verse is a who’s who of a bunch of models and fashion brands most ppl don’t even know exist. i liken his verse to Biggie’s “dreams of fucking an r&b chick”. that alone makes it cool to me.

    but u r big on ryan leslie. so he’s the main draw for you. i get it. he’s underrated and i like the “socially conscious” angle he brings to the song fa sho. so kudos to discussing it.

    Billy Rae Valentine

    13 Oct 10 at 4:57 am

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