This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What's up with your mans and them?

One of the biggest pop culture debates of the last decade is why Eminem became so popular. How did a nasally-voiced pale white kid from the Midwest who rapped about funny stuff become the most popular rapper in the country for a good many years? Of the many legitimate theories, one of the most believable ones is that he was (at first) a breath of fresh air. Here was a guy with a sense of humor who did catchy songs that were about other things than possessions catalogues and 75 minutes of bragging about skills that never manifested. Basically, seeing a picture of Lil' Wayne dressed in whatever ridiculous fashion he's chosen this week is enough to make me start keying music execs' cars.

Oh Word has put forth the argument that the reason hip-hop sales are flagging in the mainstream is because basically almost all popular rappers are douchebags. Listening to your local rap station more and more feels like sitting at a dinner table with a rich guy who talks about himself all night.

This is why I fell in love so hard with the second Felt album, a collaboration between Atmosphere and Murs that started as a tour van argument as to who would have a better chance of bedding Christini Ricci. It's a chance for three serious indie rappers (the self-lashing Slug, the boisterous mic scientist Murs, and the soulful beatmaker Ant) to cut loose and make a hell of a party record. It's producer Ant who sounds like he has the most fun with the project. Usually, his soul- and piano-laden beats are heavy and more likely to cause a night of introspection instead of a banging crunk party. Here, he gleefully runs through the history of rap beats, taking a little Arrested Development here, a little Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy there, with maybe some Digital Underground and Tupac on the way out the door.

I've never heard either MC as exuberant as they are "Life Vegas," detailing a bacchanalian trip to the Sodom and Gamorrah of the American Southwest. Slug isn't moping about girls, and Murs isn't musing on his ambitions in a genre content to wallow and stagnate. Instead, it's all booze and strippers and gambling and hook-ups (and Dave Chappelle). It never sounds bragging, i.e. "I have much money, perhaps you would like to let me spray your writhing body with some overprice champagne? - instead it's the sound of two young men having the time of their life. Elsewhere, "Your Mans and Them" takes to task people who act ignorant in clubs. Perhaps part of Pac-Man Jones' NFL-mandated rehab could involve listen to this song on loop 4 times a day.

It's a fun, intelligent record, and I hope they come out with a new one soon. The rap world could use some more fresh air.

Employees of the Year:

Your Mans and Them:

Morris Day:

Life Vegas:


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