2. The mad bounce when bass kicks in
3. The ravey synths that come in around 0:25. They're played out... no, they're dope... it's like that optical phenomenon where you see a cube "popping" back and forth between two equally valid configurations, except you're hearing synths pop between cool and wack.
fig a: this is the cube I was talking about. How many other reviews of hip-hop singles have COMPLICATED MATHEMATICAL DIAGRAMS!! what time it is?
4. The way Young Jeezy says "Young Jizzle", not quite a sing-song intonation but almost
5. The way he says "Heyyyyyyyyy" (inescapably cool)
6. The way he repeats "the" in the chorus -- "I do it for the trappers with the, the, the rocks"
7. The melodic bassline, almost subliminal, that plays during the verses. I find myself cranking up the volume louder and louder but that bassline remains strangely muffled. How does he get that sound?
Young Jeezy - Bottom of the Map
Def Jam, 2005
fig b: young jeezy brings the snow, man! if you know what i mean. and i think you do. know what i mean. (cocaine, cocaine is what i mean.)
I actually bought a Jeezy snowman hoodie today. I feel vaguely embarrassed about it.
If ever there was something that deserved the term "guilty pleasure," it's the perversely fascinating genre of hip-hop known as "coke rap." Coke rap's central narrative involves selling poison to inner city communities. It features large amounts of material flossing, misogyny, bragging about violence and murder, profanity, and angry men shouting threats. For some reason, Az. is not a fan.
I feel her pain, but I can't say no to tales of yeyo. A lot of my favorite MCs are coke rappers. In their defense, they all rise above their material in different ways:
- Jay-Z -- Jiggaman has an almost preternatural ability to scout out hot producers. The list of producers he's worked with-- Premier, Timbaland, Just Blaze, the Neptunes, Kanye West-- is like a who's who of hip hop FIRE. First place I heard some of these guys was on a Jay-Z record.
Jay-Z's arrogance borders on comic, but he's so charismatic that he almost makes you believe he's as good as he says he is. He's also interesting because he's defined himself as the absolute embodiment of American capitalism and raw entrepreneurial spirit. Dude named his label after Nelson Rockefeller, boasted that he's the "Black Warren Buffet," started his own clothing line, and eventually became the C.E.O. of Def Jam! That's gumption.
- Notorious B.I.G. -- it took me a while to appreciate what all the fuss was about. I was never that into Biggie (heresy!) and it also puzzled me how every hip hop fan and rapper in the world genuflects at his altar. When he was alive and working with Puffy, he churned out lots of popular R&B/rap hybrids that always sounded saccharine and boring to me.
After he died, I kept poking around, listening to his non-Puffy stuff, and he grew on me. Biggie didn't have the biggest vocabulary, but his voice was an awesome weapon, ultra-strong but playful at the same time. When he teamed up with a producer like Premier (as on "Unbelievable," probably my favorite Biggie track) the results could be electrifying. And-- this is something I learned as I listened to radio shows he had done-- he was an amazing freestyler. Biggie going off the dome was the stuff of legend, and a lot of his reputation got built that way.
- Ghostface -- I've written about Ghostdini previously and plus I have work to do and this got rather long and frankly, I think I've strayed too far from the list of things I like about "Bottom of the Map" by Young Jeezy.