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Watch The Throne: “Who Gon Stop Me”

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Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Masque”

Sampling Flux Pavillion’s “I Can’t Stop,” the Throne grab hold of the same music that so many regular-ass young dudes in America are using to express rage and catharsis right now: dubstep. Yet, there’s a tangible menace to this beat — the subgenre’s signature, hard-partying drop refashioned to score Kanye’s provocative yelp about inner-city violence and Jay-Z rhyming about his criminal past and current “fuck you” success. Like his verse on “Welcome To The Jungle,” Jay flickers between two divergent paths — legal and illegal — and sometimes blurs the two. When he paints a scene at Las Vegas’ Wynn Casino, all eyes are on him. Because he’s a rapper or an uncouth drug dealer who doesn’t belong? Both, it seems. He’s in “all-white wearin’ no socks,” like a retired Jay of the next decade, but he also observes, “they know I’m a dope boy.”

The entire verse bounces between past and present, and as his rhymes pick up speed, the pressures of fame and memories of a past life rush out; synths whirl, sirens wail, and that Flux Pavillion sample stands up straight and collapses again and again, fitting the overdose of emotion. There’s a great moment where Jay tells engineer Noah Goldstein to “extend the beat” and you hear it rise back to life like a reanimated sci-fi robot, ready to stalk around for a little while longer. By the end, he’s reconciled his contradictions: “Street-smart and I’m book smart, could’ve been a chemist because I cook smart…”

Written by Brandon

August 24th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

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