This is Hard to Do
A while back, I made the argument that Grime was like some bastard form of 77's punk rock -- saving a vapid corporate-buggered American scene from eating itself up; flying in, scooping up hip hop and returning it to safety like some damsel in distress. 'Course, that's all bullshit-romantic, but if we're willing to entertain such a silly premise, and we're equating London emcees with the Johnny Rotton's of the world, I'm tempted to put a Ramones stamp on Crunk. Sure, it's as consumer driven as anything (Lil' John's giving Red Bull a run for its money), but there's something far more gritty and seemingly honest about crunk music. Maybe it's the residue of my rockism, but I still like to buy into the emotion-based punk rock meta-narrative. And clearly there's far more dirty fingers and sweaty palms in a Lil' Wyte song than there is in a Nelly track. I'll take the hurried and somewhat unsure sound of youth over glossy bullshit anyday.
Crime Mobb - Stilettos (Pumps)
I heard these girls were only seventeen years old. If that's the case, they've got some wonderfully dirty mouthes for youngsters. Though that's not the point, and neither is the part where Princess NEARLY runs out of breath in the middle of her verse. The point is: these ladies are rockin' sil'etas, ho. The B-side to "Knuck if you Buck," Crime Mobb's latest single, it comes packaged in some minimal horror-flick crunk production -- rising minor key organs, weapy strings, and a two note casio figure. It's a fucking anthem. [buy it here]
Mike Jones, Paul Wall & Slim Thug (Swisha House) - Still Tippin'
Mike Jones has the deepest voice in hip hop, and he really, really likes to say his name. Here you got a tick-tocky turning signal beat, a chalky violin, and Jones telling you exactly who he is over and over. Plus there's Paul Wall, the (token?) white guy, who contributes a decent verse. But I really just can't get over the beat. This song is top five singles material. Love it. [buy it here]
Weezer - Beverly Hills
Really, guys, this is NOT that bad. Sure, it IS horrible, but it's a pop single in a way that isn't making me cringe right now. I'll listen to the wah solo a bit more and check back with you, but I'm pretty excited for the new Weezer, due on May 10th. This mystifying lead single leaked via some radio station in Boston and considering the fact that the band's website assures fans that "Beverly Hills" was made to "please the record company," the record might not be entirely shit. The production sounds far more Pinkerton-esque: the drumming is huge, and the playing is ALMOST sloppy. I hear "El Scorcho" after studying the hell out of "I Love Rock N Roll" and maybe some Bloodhound Gang (yeah, 'member them?). It's just that pesky Rivers rapping that makes this one a clunker. Keep the fingers crossed.
Munk - Kick Out The Chairs
With guest vocals from DFA spearhead James Murphy, and his characteristically bass-heavy and shuck-n-jive-friendly production, you'll probably be hearing this at every hipster dance party for the next five months. It's got a sort of Violent Femmes losing their heads aesthetic, and that's a good thing. I'd go so far as to say it's better than most of the LCD Soundsystem record. [buy it here]