Thursday, June 01, 2006

Comin' through your fuckin' roadblock...



Pharrell/Kanye - Number 1 Video


The video isn't that bad but goddammit that song fucking sucks. It's really a shame to see how these two went from two of my favorite producers/rappers into enormously pretentious egomaniacs.

Kanye had that whole soulful hustler vibe going, rapping about hating his job at Gap and loving Jesus and not how cute his handbag is. I still enjoy College Dropout, it's a raw album and filled with shit we can all relate too. He never claimed to be anything BUT a common man and that was part of his appeal. All this shit got to his head though. He thought weak ass Be was a classic, overproduced the John Legend CD (if you want to hear a true showcase of his talent, peep his live joints), and is now trying to push Consequence aka I-Wasn't-Good-Enough-For-ATCQ-And-Am-Still-Trying-To-Relive-It on us. Then came the self indulgent Late Registration, which I sort of liked at first, but hasn't found its way repeatedly into my cd player the way Dropout can. Why would a pretentious producer (Kanye) enlist another pretentious producer (Brion) to help make his album? It transformed his work into a soft lush soundscape which I don't want to hear. It went from brilliance - the panning of the strings and sample on Gone - to let's put some slow strings over a beat and pretend it's good - the abherration that is Bring Me Down. Now he just prances around like Karl Lagerfeld and dresses himself up like Jesus for photo shoots. Basically, stop trying to pull this jiggy shit and get back to making GOOD music which is what you were supposed to be doing in the first place.

I clearly enjoy the music of Pharrell Williams. I named my site after a song he sings, and salivate over new Neptunes material. Yet his decision to eliminate Chad Hugo from his forthcoming CD puzzles me, and every song I've heard from it, well, sucks. I remember going to the first NERD site and playing the snippets from the album before it released over and over and over. When I first heard Super Thug, with its attacking guitar and snares that invaded the speakers, I was hooked. The Neptunes used their nerdiness to their advantage - taking sounds no one else would think to use (besides Timbo, and that's an argument for another day) and making them hot as shit. Who the fuck else could turn mouth clicks into the hottest song of the year? They went from a rock/rap hybrid production team into a creative in-house production machine (Lord Willin' still knocks and Grindin' remains the crowning achievement of their career) into a space funk phase, dropping jaws with the drums on Light Your Ass On Fire and the depths of It Blows My Mind. Even when they stayed within the boundaries they had set, it never really got boring. They had the uncanny ability to re-use a sound without tiring it out to some extent; listen to the similarities of Hot Damn and Young Boy, or the live instrumentation of Ma I Don't Love Her and Beautiful. Even the Vegas shit they've brought out recently was okay - it had it's moments (Excuse Me Miss) but even still they were pushing the envelope (Excuse Me Miss Again and the delightfully weird Fly or Die album). And then Pharrell met Nigo and BBC dropped and a whole bunch of bad shit happened. Every song I've heard from In My Mind has sucked, sounding like throwaway beats and being boring and predictable. The BBCIcecream mixtape was unlistenable - the only time Pharrell really killed a track was over Incarcerated Scarfaces, only to have Pusha come in 15 seconds later and annihilate it (that verse deserves a post of its own). I can't say if it's Pharrell & Chad that have fallen into a ditch or just Pharrell, but as all this shit got to their head the music sounds uninspired. As frustrating as that may be, it's even more frustrating when you consider the fact that they can still make a dope beat by doing shit they haven't done before - see: Mr. Me Too. Unfortunately, all of In My Mind looks to be the same routine, the beats sounding like Touch and Pharrell singing like a bad Prince/MJ collabo. I could go through and list all the songs that I hope it will sound like, but that won't happen so I won't.

Anyways, that was a long rant without much structure and rather pointless and it may seem like I'm dickriding, but I'm rather upset that my favorite production duo (The Neptunes) and a producer who used to be fresh as fuck (Kanye West) have eschewed their creativity for cookie cutter tracks because they know the public will buy it because they are Williams and West. I could go into the whole "selling-out" thing (that's three spinoff posts I can do already) but I won't. I would just like an album or some beats or some shit that I DIDN'T know these guys could do.

22 Comments:

Anonymous nelson said...

eventhough I agree to say pharrell does good things only from time to time and eventhough I share your pessimistic point of view on in my mind, I'm feelin this track, it is ok, not original at all but sweet

12:18 PM  
Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

that was a great post...I admit to used to liking the Neptunes a lot...but they sort of lost me when Pharrel became convinced that has Michael Jackson...same with Kanye when he became convinced that he was Puff Daddy. I just wish they could be themselves instead of being lazy and crafted some stupid image that only serves to alienate people like you and i.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous ^donCarter said...

Been waitin' that post...
rant = on point, BUT...

Skill - Charisma = Consequence

3:12 PM  
Blogger M.A.T.T. said...

well who the hell wants to listen to an mc without charisma?

and i disagree with kanye thinking hes diddy - diddy at his prime was an engineer of a HUGE empire, bad boy was (and is) a household brand. the average person on the street doesnt really know about GOOD music. i think kanye wants to be someone unique, he's not really jacking anyones game - unfortunately the persona hes trying to transform himself into sucks.

4:43 PM  
Blogger that girl said...

haha, i just wrote about this earlier as well. seems like everyone is having the same thoughts re: this video and song. i'll admit i like it, but that cheesy crap wins me over all the time anyway. shit, i bumped 'my humps' all the time. not saying its the best, but it makes me wanna dance.

anyway, the flamboyancy of their steez just kills me. i mean, i was dying watching that video. i just chalk it up to good entertainment, but i like the way you broke it down in terms of where they each come from and where they may be headed.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous vdonCarter said...

Nah, u right...regarding, Cons:

I just wanted to make sure that you weren't denying his skill, because that, he has for certain. Dude's a decent supporting cast member, just like I wouldn't want to hear an entire Roots LP minus BThought in exchange for Malik B...

Not that Malik B/Cons belong on the same page, because Malik B is too raw for Consequence, but Cons did his thing on Beats, Rhymes and Life..."Stressed Out" confirms that. Nice post regardless.

9:30 PM  
Blogger M.A.T.T. said...

im sorry but bumping my humps is just inexcusable

and agreed about con

10:13 PM  
Blogger that girl said...

^
hey i'm not looking for excuses as to why i listened to it. i know it sucks. as long as every comment i make from now on isn't considered null and void, oh wait maybe i just sabotaged myself.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Es-Won said...

dude, my thoughts EXACTLY about kanye... i was a fan of kanye west before i even heard his voice (only later did i realize that was him on 'guerrilla monsoon rap'). by the time 'college dropout' finished, with 10 minutes of him talking (not a bad thing) about struggling to launch his career, he became one of my favorites, just cause he wasn't scared to be himself, be kind of normal, and let you get to know him.

NOW... he still does something worthwile here and there, but i don't even know if i really like him anymore.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Johnson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Deep. said...

This is a great song - early 80s dance...You might be too young to remember og songs like that...you 2 step to shit like that..;-)... Late Registration is that heat (great album)...you use "pretentious" too much.
Pharrell's just being an artist, exploring different shit and I feel it. N.E.R.D will be back and shut all the hate down.

As far as Kanye goes we're just growing w/ him as an artist. He can't be the "common" man anymore b/c he's not.

10:48 AM  
Blogger mega said...

i am with you, for the most of it. i am a firm believer that kanye dropped the ball *before* college dropout. maybe that's more a personal preference thing with regards to the direction he took his sound, not because what he was doing with that sound was entirely ‘bad’. of cuz, but it was. 'be' and lot of his shit around the time, as you say, is so cheesy n watery. lets say we look beyond the persona, forget abt it, and formulate an analogy. while just blaze's synths n beats kept getting meaner and more fucking fierce, i dunno, kanye just lost that edge around 2004 or so. okay some of the shit was mean and fierce enough (the odb track, keep the receipt? um, what else? home, encore, drive slow). i still enjoy half of college dropout fairly. i got no words for late registration tho, worst shit bar two tracks. and as for the persona, that last song on college dropout was a testimony to the common man phenomenon you speak of, and i loved that fact that he came across quite funny and genuinely excited about the shit that was happening in his life in that freestyle (meeting jay, getting new furniture from ikea etc, you know)

but yeah, i still think kanye peaked way early (i.e. BEANIE SIGEL "THE TRUTH" etc, oh god how i long for those days). that beat will always be the quintessential kanye beat to me, or the ‘what could have been.’ but even if you forget about how irksome his persona has become, his beats have also been kindda whack, yes, so i really don’t care now.

i guess there lies the difference between him and pharrell to me. i still can get excited about some of the shit he does behind the boards. so i accept the cheesiness of the pharrell character into my experience as long as once in a while he comes up with shit as tight as “mr me too” or “chinese new year”, they are still very lean mean knockout beats. yeah, quality has been few and far between and that n.e.r.d. aesthetic has got rinsed out. maybe my argument holds only cuz in MY mind i treat all these pharrell solo events as this pop indulgence shit i shouldn’t take that seriously, so i keep believing he got more real nigger shit so to speak for the real hiphop world. at least the new clipse is gonna bang so hard, while the next kanye album, well.

FUUCK i’ve said too much (n maybe repeated most of what you said in doing so). its late. apologies

5:27 PM  
Blogger Joey said...

Co-sign the sentiment about Pharrell. I can't tell you how much enthusiasm I've lost for dude.

1:37 PM  
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