Archive for the ‘Lord Knows’ tag
If I ruled the world, I’d give Fabolous and DJ Drama a weekly half-hour TV program on which they’d preside over the mock funeral of a different rapper each week. I believe this idea is guaranteed comedy gold and would generate more memorable one-liners than any TV program since Chappelle’s Show. Why would I do this? Because if Fab and Dram are to be believed, There Is No Competition: Death Comes In 3’s is the last installment in the mixtape series that, if there was any justice on planet Earth, would forever be the “Weekend Update” to Gangsta Grillz’ Saturday Night Live.
Death Comes In 3’s dropped on Christmas Day, and its intro, the appropriately titled “Intro,” features Funeral Fab and Drama Cain delivering yet another eulogy for “the competition,” while backed by Mykola Leontyvych’s “Carol Of The Bells” (did I have to google the composer of this piece? Yes, yes I did). Besides the fact that the duo’s competition has now apparently died more times than Kenny on South Park, I respect this move because I hope that DJ Drama’s anguished cries of “Y’all turned us into serial killers!” will inspire future generations of Christmas carol authors in a more Tarantino-esque direction.
Now, as for the actual music… it’s basically There Is No Competition 2: The Funeral Service, but not nearly as good. Funeral Service saw Fab taking already-good songs like “Roger That,” “Beamer, Benz Or Bentley” and “All The Way Turnt Up” and bludgeoning them to death with clever punch lines. Death Comes In 3’s, on the other hand, is basically Fab taking a bunch of mediocre beats and saying, “oh, you don’t think I can use this line as a hook? Watch me!” The man’s built up enough residual charisma over his career to earn forgiveness from me to the point where I refuse to accept that he named a song “Swag Champ” and spit “I don’t jerk off in public/But I been out doin’ myself” as the chorus for any reason besides proving he had the cajones to do it.
That said, Death Comes In 3’s definitely has more than enough #Nice one-liners to warrant some listens. Once Trey Songz shows up around track seven, the tape really hits its stride. On “Spend It,” Fab goes Rick Ross Bauce Mode and rhymes, “Ridin’ round through my city/Emphasis on MY city,” a line so good Dram brings it back twice before the verse continues. It takes true swagger to deliver an “oh, shit!” line while rhyming a phrase with itself, and nine out of ten times it fails. But this is why Fab murders his competition.
The “this shouldn’t work but it does” bang-fest (pause?) continues with “Black City,” which somehow transforms “black city bitch” into an irresistible hook. The rest of the tape approaches but never quite reaches Funeral Service levels of thugged-out-hilarious awesomeness, but “Unfuckwitable” deserves mention, if only for the superb title. The tape cascades with Fab’s rendition of “Lord Knows,” which brings his count of Drake remixes in the past 24 months to about 87 (but who’s counting?), followed up by a (spoiler alert!) Public Enemies-themed hidden track.
While Death Comes In 3’s may be the Return Of The Jedi of the Competition threesome (as in, a major drop from its predecessors), it’s still a (guiltily) enjoyable go around, despite its often-Atlanta-like beat selection. But like George Lucas with Star Wars, I refuse to believe that Fab and Drama will ever be finished killing the competition, and whether or not it ever happens, I’m gearing myself up for There Is No Competition 4: The Zombie Apocalypse.
3 / 5 bars
Fabolous – Spend It (Feat. Trey Songz)
Fabolous – Black City
Fabolous – Unfuckwitable
“Thank Me Later was a rushed album. I didn’t get to take the time that I wanted to on that record… that’s why my new album is called Take Care, because I get to take my time this go-round.”
This statement, made by Aubrey Drake Graham back in January 2011, finds the most successful rapper in the world since Kanye West expressing dissatisfaction with a disc that Rolling Stone and Complex named the second-best rap album of 2010 (#1 being Kanye West’s masterpiece, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). By doing so, he did the impossible and actually raised expectations for his sophomore disc in comparison with those surrounding his debut album. And with 2011 seeing new releases from all of hip-hop’s heavyweights (Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, and “Next Big Thing” J. Cole), Drizzy couldn’t realistically expect to wait until all of them dropped, put out Take Care, and start accumulating Album of the Year accolades… could he?
Yes. Because he’s earned all of them, at least in the rap circle. Take Care defies traditional hip-hop conventions, blurring the line between rapper and R&B singer to create a truly beautiful, dark work that unashamedly shines the spotlight its creator’s insecurities. The record almost demands the creation of a new sub-genre name, perhaps “singer-songwriter rap.” Hip-hop purists may find this description disgusting, but personally I feel almost sacrilegious to single out “best moments” from such a cohesive compilation that takes you on an unrelenting 80-minute high like some type of superkush. But here goes:
- The lyrical tour de force on “Over My Dead Body” would literally make me cry if I were famous enough to possibly be one of its subjects. Though I guess I’d get over it “long as the outcome is income.”
- Check that, being one of the girls name-checked in “Shot For Me” would actually literally make me cry.
- You know “Headlines.” I ain’t even gotta say it.
- When TC officially drops and millions of teenagers without the capacity to access music blogs finally meet The Weeknd on “Crew Love,” his Twitter following will increase tenfold. Watch.
- The title track is the second collaboration between Drake and Rihanna. The first was a #1 single. This one is more mature, more memorable, and more lovingly crafted. In a word, better.
- You will love “Marvins Room” until your ex girl finds out about your next girl and ruins your night’s sleep by constantly drunk-texting you the lyrics.
- Ditto what I said about The Weeknd about Kendrick Lamar on “Buried Alive.”
- “Underground Kings” and “We’ll Be Fine” should shut up every critic that claims that Drake doesn’t go hard. And if they don’t, Birdman anointing them “Uptown gangsta shit” should do the trick.
- “Make Me Proud” makes me believe that Drake-Rihanna-Nicki Minaj has the potential to be the greatest love triangle in hip-hop history.
- Excerpt from “Lord Knows”: “I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy/Know that I don’t make music for niggas who don’t get pussy/So those are the ones I count on to diss me or overlook me.” Suck it Big Ghost! Also, props to Rick Ross’ flows and Just Blaze’s beats for making this track a triple homicide when either of them could easily have been swallowed whole by Drizzy’s verse (well, obviously swallowing Rick Ross whole would not be easy…).
- “Cameras/Good Ones Go (Interlude)” makes the paparazzi sound like menacing cockblockers.
- Stevie Wonder harmonica solo on “Doing It Wrong.” Ironic because he’s not. (I apologize for that shit joke but someone had to make it).
- Andre’s verse on “The Real Her” is hands down the best guest spot of 2011 (discounting Drake on “I’m On One, but that’s not really a guest spot anyway).
- “Look What You’ve Done” is Real Talk 101 and I’m Too Rich To Be Called a Bitch (Honors Level).
- “HYFR” is a great track alone for the reason it gives us all the ability to confuse our parents with more secretly obscene text responses. Also Lil’ Wayne can still rap I guess.
- I think it’s fair to say that Drake’s version of “Back That Azz Up” is better than Wayne’s verse on the original, no?
- https://twitter.com/#!/drakkardnoir/status/66324328530190337 ‘Nuff said.
Oh wow, it seems like I’ve mentioned every track, haven’t I? And gone way over my word limit as well. Some people may be inspired by great art to create their own. I’m inspired to write about how awesome I think it is.
It’s obviously too early to say that this will be an immeasurably influential or a landmark album, but it’s also obvious that Drake is not just headed down a different path from the rest of his piers, he’s on a different plane. From the opening piano chord of “Over My Dead Body” to the last choral swirl of “The Ride,” there is not a moment when either genuine artistry or mainstream accessibility overwhelms the other and breaks the perfect balance struck between the pair in genius works of pop music.
It’s only once in a while that we are lucky enough to bare witness to an artist who naturally produces this equilibrium in his or her work until he or she realizes he or she’s doing it and promptly loses the ability (*cough* Eminem). Some will definitely describe the melancholy and darkness imbibing the disc as inappropriate for a rap record, but as Drake more powerfully alludes to on “Lord Knows,” such narrow-minded concerns are of no consequence to those of us interested in work that is simultaneously unprecedented and accessible. Obviously this isn’t technically official until January 1, 2012, but I’d feel dishonest if I didn’t immediately brand this my pick for RAP ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2011.
5 / 5 bars