20060408

Coupe Got Vitiligo

Pharrell: Renegotiations
In My Mind (The Prequel)

Listening to Pharrell rap can be hard. Listening to him talk is easier. And Heathcliff is right when he says P. makes "bling a childlike fancy." Take this strange shout-out directed at gold-studded oblivion. There are many sides to the infantilism at work here, all as naïve and grotesque as a baby gurgling under a five pound Gucci chain. Pharrell himself goes totally toddler, showing Sally the dirt mound he's been working on during recess for a week while explaining how darn cool it is. "I just renegotiated my contract with Louis Vuitton," he says, all puffy. Sally's stare is blank. "My contract is crazy." Still nothing. "C'mon, it's Luis Vuitton." Uh huh. "Louis Vuitton!" At this point Sally walks away and the soon-to-be marching band nerd decides to discuss things with his imaginary companion, Mr. Me Too, who's usually more impressed with his musings.

Who does Pharrell really think he's talking to here? Best guess is the fans, who he waggishly appeases near the end ("I love my fuckin' fans, man"). As a fan, I can't relate to his wealth. It's unfortunate, because he makes being rich sound better than Diddy ever did. "Who would we ever meet would be able to create your own diamond cut?" he asks. It's a clumsy line, but the key is "we." Pharrell wants to bring everyone on his ride, show them the Italian models and fit them into his "mall-ish" Miami getaway. For a guy who's had too much money for a while, he's still excited by new ventures and opportunities. It's refreshing and kinda weird.

I can't help but think of Pharrell's scene in Fade to Black while listening to "Renegotiations." In it, he gets worked up over what we now know as the "Allure" beat, strutting around the studio and summoning Jay post-haste. Let's face it, the beat is ok. But Leonardo P. thinks it's just as good as anything else he's done. It's like he's got Guy Pierce's Memento memory. But instead of getting all insular and paranoid, he goes back into tike overalls every 20 minutes or so, eye-popping at ugly sneakers, girls who say "pussy" funny and silly Elton John sunglasses. "The rung is a step in a ladder," he states with knowing pride later on in the tape. Whenever they make a black Big, we know who'll be 13 going on 7.

I Was Ditching Piranhas

Cam'ron: White Girls
Dipset: The Movement Moves On

I've been waiting for someone to rap about white girls for a span of time with no direct correlation to a sixty second interval. But before we embrace our white sisters with the same buoyancy which Cam does the beat from Kells' "You Knock Me Out," I think we ought to compare some notes.

First off: "Papa had a dream." Now, was that dream to date a white girl? Because I've done that. For my troubles, I got clowned by my own pops and his friends. Called me Tiger Woods. I've forgiven them. It was funny. But now I know he was just jealous. And no, I don't look anything like Tiger Woods.

"Got a white girl/ tell you that she's quite thorough/ borough to borough/ move me through this white world." It is my experience that I have found white girls to be similarly thorough, yet I find their capacity to streamline transportation to be slightly overrated. The frequency with which I am stopped by police officers while driving around Midtown Manhattan tends to increase exponentially with a white girl in the passenger seat. Maybe Cam's windows are tinted, or perhaps he is talking about driving out to Montauk. But that would mean he is rapping about the members of Northern State. Can't be sure.

But it's not all glowing praise: "From Colombia/ then she moved to Canada/ now she live in Harlem, right/ and you could say I manage her." It is quite comforting to know that Cam too reads the Times Real Estate section, and is concerned with Harlem's inevitable gentrification.

The revelation that white girls are Cam's "pride and joy" may very well redefine the Dip aesthetic. For instance, I did not know that "Bird Gang" referred to a Diplomatic predilection for British women. But suddenly it all makes sense: the Dips are Brits at heart. And it all falls into place: Duke Da God=Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Hell Rell=John Milton. J.R. Writer=J.K. Rowling.

That said, I haven't had this much fun listening to Cam since "Oh Boy." With a white girl I mean.

Dramatic

Pharrell [ft. Clipse]: Come Go With Me
In My Mind (The Prequel)

Transcription:

22 niggas
2 to a car
11 flagships with the three point star
the only other ballers is them three point stars
we only five-nine, they think we point guards (ha)
no jumper, still at the top of the key
no wonder, they thought we were shooting them threes
throw numbers, sell it for the deuce and a three
like air jordan, it's all in the wrist turning keys
your modern day chardonnay sippers
we throwing up our middle screaming fuck them other niggas
we spit it out like '94 Diddy on them niggas
ain't worried 'bout the cost, we know those hoes is counting figures
the games of the rich kids, we know what the tricks is
we turn our backs so we can fuck each other's bitches
the lifestyles of the rich and right now
any given sunday, in the kitchen, white clouds
poof


Do you watch basketball? Do you play games? Do you write rhymes? Do you know lines? Do you push lines? Do you find time? Do you make time? Do you grind? Do you shine? He does.

I Smoke a Lot of Corn Cuz I Got Indian in My Blood

Busta Rhymes [ft. Swizz Beats]: New York Shit
Papoose [ft. Busta Rhymes]: Get Right

Busta Rhymes [ft. Kelis & will.i.am]: I Love My Bitch

The Art of War

Rah-rahing Bussa is akin to rooting for the Kansas City Royals. There was a time, like when George Brett mashed with that thin-handled stick (extra pinetar) and bugged his eyes out every chance he could, when B.R. excited the world with Dungeons, Dragons and daring. Those days are gone and rote is rote. Difference being K.C. is a perennial basement-dweller, whilst Rhymes is prolly gonna go plat on the strength of “Touch It” (gasp). The beef here is with the surrounding players. Swizzie, shaped like a swizzle stick and unimpressively goofy like a twisty straw, is so irritating on “N.Y.S.” that his cheese grater chirp (lots of chirps lately, no?) that it makes me want to spread his face all over a FULL SURFACE! Swizz didn’t produce this, technically Diamond D did, then DJ Scratch (who’s better than this) re-looped and actually yelled at Swizz to do the intro and part of the shout-out. New rule, Bill Maher stee: If Swizz didn’t produce it, he shall remain absent from said sitchamation. Otherwise, that face-spreading commences. I can’t be mad that Busta Rhymes wants to pay homage to Big Apples (even though Elliott Wilson put him on blast for including New Jerz-ite Queen Latifah and forgetting Melle Mel. Musta been the muscles that threw him.) Swizz is defiantly antithetical to these thoughts. Ever the self-server, plus biter (“I’m a Hustla,” “Bring ‘em Out,” et al. jack from elsewhere in service of new jacks) this is classic sycophantry, from his own pantry. I wonder if duke ever-ever listens to Grand Wizard Theodore cuts anymore. Guess here is: Not regularly. I still fucks with Zach Greinke though. Head case and all.

Papoose, who simply cannot rap, should not ever be a rap star (sorry Heathcliff). As Kay Slay strong-arm-steadies the industry into believing, my mouth stays open over his extraordinary lack of grace. Lyrics=solidly meh. (“The music is my momma, I am the son of song.” Word? Your moms is a trick.) Charisma=donut. (If you tell people that you are the shiz enough times, do they learn to agree with you or do you just piss everybody off?) Production=retread. “Get Right” is practically drum-less. If “I got New York City in the palm of my hand” self-mythologizing from the taut-self-taught “Touch It (Remix)” wasn’t bad enough, try on “I know he [Chris Lighty] ain’t seen a buzz this strong since 50.” Son, you’re still scrapping. You just signed a deal. “I got the club on me like a steering wheel” is painful. You’re clunky. J.Lo already had a hit with a song called “Get Right” (which was a Rich Harrison bangaramalammadingdong), too. This is as crystal as phrases get: Stop. Rapping. ASAP. G_d.

Deemed “My Humps ‘06” by Jonathan T. Swagger, “I Love My Bitch” might not be that wack. But it’s barrel-scraping from a black-eyed Pee. Songwriter Will (wearing a less-serious face) sounds like Billy Ocean after six tequila shooters. Kelis is wasted, as she often is when teamed with Busta, reduced to a voltronic cyborg. To have a woman sing the hook of a song called “I Love My Bitch” is confounding. Why not just make an actual prostitute sing it? Or Julia Roberts? Check minus.

20060407

Rub On Your Titties

Red Cafe [ft. Fabolous and Paul Wall]: "Bling Blaow Part 2"
Loso's Way: Rise to Power

I missed "Part 1," I think--unless Red and Loso mean Missy's "On & On," which had better bubble sounds and "stick you on the table with a plastic cup/ Say grace, then eat ya ass up." All the levels, all the fucking levels--ain't turned up here.

But let's talk about the chorus: "This ain't nothing for the radio/ this is jeep shit for the club."

I'm confused. The song is not for the radio, fair enough. It's jeep shit--that means we're in CD or cassette territory, possibly cassingle. Maybe you could get away with using one of those iPod cassette adapters but I wouldn't count on it. Definitely no iTrips. Thing is, it's not just any jeep shit--it's jeep shit for the club. Now I'm very confused.

This is a half-assed "Simon Says" in some respects, so maybe "Bling Blaow" is JSFTC insofar as it's something you might listen to on your way to the club. It doesn't even matter what kind of club you're going to. You can go to a rock club. You can go to the Harvard Club. Personally I'd suggest Club Monaco--they have the best sale rack in the city.

My big worry though is that this is jeep shit for the club, just like the song says. Here's what I see happening: I'm driving in Long Island, doing figure-eights in the parking lot of Club Med. "BB2" is playing in my jeep via Belkin Auto Kit, and from what I can tell, every other person in the lot is playing the song too and liking it a lot. "If you like it, rub on your milkshake," says Fabolous. 80-car pile-up.

20060405

Stay In Your Lane

Pharrell: Liquid Swords (over "4th Chamber")
In My Mind: The Prequel

Many un-thanks to Curious for swiping my Pharrell skit transcription idea, albeit telepathically. The banality of lavishness--that's what this guy is all about anymore, no? I'm talking about Pharrell. Granted there's some rap-as-enterprise involved, music-as-elaborate BBC Ice Cream advertising too, and it's not like Jeezy didn't drop a wordless measure here or there on Can't Ban to prove quality rhymes (in the traditional a/k/a 'good for blogpost title' sense) aren't that important anymore. Make no mistake: There's something gloriously fucked up about that.

Aside. I've been thinking a lot about "Mr. Me Too," how Pharrell's verse fits into it, why Clipse fronted their comeback single with so puffy a verse. We've talked about this together once and I just hadn't heard the song enough to weigh in. "Me and Puff hoppin out the plane/ both us laughin" is the key for me. Remember, Bad Boy was relief for a good long minute, bright fun but certainly not willfully unconsequential stuff after years of agit and bustamoves and "underground art." Biggie was epochal because he came at this metamorphotic tip and rapped it realtime, which is maybe why I feel comfortable more or less saying he's the avatar of mid-90s rags-or-riches rap, i.e. when rap music itself mirrored perfectly the rapper come-up, both the person and the music gaining $$$ and *** (i.e. respect). It was all a dream...

This isn't Bad Boy 2 in size, not at all. But Pharrell's pretending it is. The extent to which he catalogues his wealth and ostensibly cares about it, meticulously describes his earthlies, dwells on his business exclusively--I'm not saying this is subversion but I don't think Pharrell's a total fucking dunce either.

Wealth as candy? "Rims red like swedish fishes"; "In my chain I got the pink laffy taffy, the white laffy taffy, the blue laffy taffy, the yellow is so flashy"; "Ice Creams [bear with me] make all the girls wanna fuck"--he's made bling a childlike fancy. Calling spade a spade? Dunno, except right now guys everywhere are bragging about how they're in the BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB and paying $500 for sneaks called ICE CREAMS. "That's why the nigga laugh." Six months, you'll hear this a lot: "Oh man, I love 50 but my favorite rapper is SKATEBOARD P."

"Tough guy--not I." If the bad boy was a huggable gangster, Pharrell's just huggable. He's upfront about backpacking, reads Deepak Chopra, never deals but Pusha's told him it's 16 for a ki, and in fact "musical cocaine brought me all these things." Which is why the old Wu-Tang beats seem more pointed choices. "4th Chamber" is audio terrorism; over it, now, "Liberace chains hold my neck like an ankle" and "puffing a Cuban cigar in Brazil with Hype Williams watching the playback." Gza's rap-as-violence metaphors sound self-sanctimonious in comparison. Yeah dude, "we're gonna take you back to the source, the knowledge." Hoop it up.

"Couldn't see the light like baby Jesus in the manger." With Pharrell's implicit "I care about everything but the rapping" bit comes the (brutal) criticism that "I only care about the rapping" is as much of a bit. This is different than saying backpacker rap isn't fun or interesting or relevant, which is the common chorus; Pharrell's saying something much nastier, turning their very criticism on them. I won't be surprised if he overstates this eventually, condemns his backpacker past as equally artiste bullshit (which I don't think he does here), but this guy's next move is potentially way more interesting than Pusha's latest (wrist) turn.

When I Chirp?

T.I.: What You Know
King

There’s already been talk of bringing the ax to certain resident of the mix hut, pending an immediate defense of his existence. So I’ll be brief (and tardy):

“What You Know” is White Squall. It’s that big.

So large, so unavoidable, in fact, it begs aesthetic conversation. Can you actually watch something happen and not be a part of it? Doesn’t voyeurism imply some shift in one’s ontology? Can “What You Know” be an object of sole contemplation without requisite reaction? Can we observe T.I.’s run for the throne and not somehow be complicit in his regicidal ambition? Marcuse should be flipping his shit.

“What You Know” is triumph of dunces and T.I. leads the parade, scepter in hand, head bobbing (adh)ominously with a Braves pinwheel literally bobbypinned to his skull. The horns read like fanfare; this is not a celebration, it’s a coronation.

But it’s a classic Latin American coup: all guns and no butter. With a See-n-Say flow that spins out gems like “I’m fast as lightin’ bro/Better use your Nike’s bro,” I’m having trouble swallowing T.I. as a thinker given our last princes ran dictionaries around opponents.

But don’t sell him short. Despite T.I.’s admonition of “scary dudes” (The Game’s ghosts notwithstanding), he’s still posting an epistemological challenge. He's poised to let you know what we know is a lot less that what he knows (read: Knowledge is King).

Nas burned us with realism. Hov dazzled us with panache. T.I. bludgeons us with the billyclub. It’s blood simple: “Look I’ll kill ya bro.” When TIP roars “What you know about that?” for the thirty-sixth time, the would-be challenger, already blistered, bruised, and broken, has no other reply: not a cot damn thing.

The Cat Drippin'

Pharrell [ft. Karolina Kurkova]: Models in the Hood
In My Mind (The Prequel)

Puppets and Pinocchios. (Much, much more later, I'm sure). Just saying:

ELEVATOR DOOR OPENS TO REVEAL LACERDA, THE BLONDE TV REPORTER AND HER CREW.

BLONDE: (to Gonzo) You must be a rider.

DUKE: She's, uh, speaking to you.

BLONDE: What class are you in?

GONZO: Class? The fuck do you mean?

BLONDE: What do you ride? See, we're getting a little footage for a, hee-hee, television series. I thought we could, um, use you.

DUKE: "Mother of god," I thought. Here it comes.

GONZO: Use me? Yeah, I ride...I ride the big fuckers. You know, the really big fuckers. Yeah.

**********

P: You like my music?

KK: I love your music.

P: You like my cars?

KK: You don't have any car.

P: Yes I do.

KK: Which one?

P: A few of 'em.

KK: Really. Like?

P: Them big shits. Big expensive shits. You like riding in the back of Phantoms?

Um, Yezzir?

20060404

Chicken Stains And Jelly Stains

T.I.: The Breakup
King

Something weird is going on with "The Breakup"; there's no real reason for it to exist. King has gotten past its bananas-ass beginning, four absolute monster tracks before it settles down with "Live in the Sky" and then begins to settle into its hard mid-album lean with "Ride Wit Me," the intensely focused mid-tempo self-affirming burners that made up the best parts of Urban Legend, the songs that T.I. seems to write in his sleep. So the album is just starting to cruise and breathe on its own momentum, the easy asphalt glide it mostly maintains up until the end, and you'd think it would be absolutely necessary that it swings this stretch with no problems or interruptions. So why would he put a skit here? And "The Breakup" isn't just a skit; it's a totally shrill and distracting blast of noise, Mike Epps and someone named Maliecka yelling at each other while babies cry and sitcom voices babble and phones ring in the background. If you're washing dishes or writing blog entries or something when "The Breakup" comes on, you pretty much just have to stop for the duration of its minute-56 running time and wait for it to end. It's totally fucking unpleasant. It's also pretty funny.

It doesn't have much to do with the album or T.I. himself; he only gets mentioned at the end, but it's implied that he's the guy Epps is yelling about, the guy his girl is going off with now. He starts out all nice and courtly, welcoming her home and then getting all heated and laying into her, telling her he followed her and saw her with some dude, then just randomly complaining about her. As a back-and-forth bit, it's a lot like the Will Ferrell/Christina Applegate scenes in Anchorman; the girl is supposed to be getting the upper hand, but her lines totally fall flat, and he gets all the good digs in. All the big laugh lines belong to Epps: "My first reaction was to run up on you and just grab the back of your pants and give you a wedgie, just pull the thong all up in ya ass," "Bitch, your hair look like a dirty tennis ball now," "How you gonna have me killed with four hundred and thirty-nine dollars a month?" The best thing she can come up with is calling him an "extra-regular-ass nigga," and mostly she's just calling him faggot and telling him he stinks and stuff, total lameass fourth-grade playground comebacks, just nothing.

And even though he sons her so hard, he comes back on the album later, presumably in phone-message form at the end of "Goodlife," crying and begging the girl to come back, all pathetic. And yet we know that T.I. and Mike Epps are friends from the "What You Know" video. They're such good friends, in fact, that T.I. totally forgave Epps for being an undercover policeman and getting T.I. thrown in jail in the "ASAP" video. So why would he reduce Epps to a crying mess like that? It's not right.

Grown Kid With A Bike

DJ Green Lantern [ft. Juelz Santana]: Did U Miss Me Pt. 1
Juelz Santana [ft. 38 Special]: C.R.A.C.K.
DJ Green Lantern [ft. Juelz Santana & Dem Franchise Boyz]: Show You What I'm Workin' Wit
Juelz Santana: Did U Miss Me Pt. 2
Alive on Arrival

This is that that, or rather, this is this: tautological's an oft-slung adjective in ref. to Bandana's rhymescheme. Let's see if Webslings stick where they're 'posed to. Promise for penance I'll eat whole the next Tapemasters R&B jumpoff, no chaser, if it's wack. (Aiight Haze?)

Rhetorical faults of style, tautologies aren't just easy bonus points on my 8th grade math quiz. A/K/A redundancies in language; in mathematics, they can be related to a concept called vacuous truth, exemplified by statements that take the form, "everything with A also has B," where there is nothing with property A, like: "all woolly mammoths inside the belly of a whale like Papoose freestyles. " See, vacuously true. Onto Mr. Me "Do what you do..."

Funny that "A is A" is known in logic as the law of identity. [New chain idea! -Ed.'s recommendation] (And coincidentally alliterative that said law is often attributed to Aristotle and Aquinas.) And we're AoA, presently: a crypto-Santana mixtape, 4 tracks full w/copiously sampled hook material, cos he's Green's secret crush. The tape's meaty bits bookended by your boy's jovial queries -- "Did U Miss Me?" pts. 1 & 2, (Both the cutest shit on the block, both w/the same similarly questioning MJ sample from The Jackson's "I Wanna Be Where You Are") -- AoA's a useful illustration of Juelz's particular, perfected fault of style. Excused as guiltily pleasurable, Santana's rhymes are certainly vacuous, but could you find a better description of how his lines feel than 'vacuously true'? And he's so excited to be so: "You guys full of it/ you seen cash before/ but not a shoebox full of it/ You guys get full/ with a pocketful/ Man, I'm trying to send my son to rocket school" (Hope I'm not willfully misreading that last line). Standard Dipset games, but cos playful's pleasing, they're ones we're willing to play. Just not with Jones, cos I hear he smells terrible.

"C.R.A.C.K."'s effervescent piano loop naturally draws nothing but jester out of Juelz, who tomfoolerys the shit -- what else to do with the most inane of acronyms as yr title? "Now, my chick game proper cos my whip game proper/ my chick game proper cos my dick game proper/ I get work for cheap and then serve it cheap/ you get work for cheap and then serve police." Repetitions employed in the interest of style in speech/writing are not technically considered to be linguistic/rhetorical tautologies, so the term is too loosely applied to Santana's stanzas in many cases. But regardless of the law's letters, Juelz's discovery of this device, juvenile and stunningly effective, gratifying and maddeningly simplistic, accounts for much of his lyrical appeal. Or maybe it's just the fucking bandana.

Stabbed For A Couple Stamps

Hell Rell: Hell Is Home (Rukmix)
Hell on Earth

C-lister to the stars, Rell is that guy. In and out of the pen too much while coming up to settle down and find a legitimate flow and style of his own, the King of (Streetsleeping) New York simplifies the Dipset aesthetic and mass markets it to boutique borough mixtape traders, who listen halfway and toss like a token R&B cut. "Maybe next time," they think. Not me.

You see, I met Rell once. Well, when I say "met," I mean "saw." But when I say "once," I mean "once." We were in a big room with people in it (don't want to give away any of Rell's spots here, sorry). He was short. More like an overgrown midget than an undersized man. He walked with adequate ease. He talked on his cell phone nonchalantly while music was blasting at extremely loud volumes-- he's used to such things. He didn’t really expect anyone to know him and that's good, because nobody did. But I recognized his wide, cheek-filled face on first look. "Oh shit, there's Rell," I thought to myself. I was the only person thinking this.

The thing that keeps me coming back is his penchant for the grand slam. He's like an aging baller who largely swats air but is known to knock one at opportune moments. And, like a steel door to the temple, the now-you-see-it rawhide blasts do damage. ("I'm still wonderful/ I put a TV in the trunk so, when I throw you in it, you feel comfortable"). Unlike other Rell tapes, Hell on Earth is nearly all Rell. Single verses abound on the 49 track behemoth as dude dominates roughly 95 percent of the tape. Of course, this makes it wholly unlistenable. While waiting for lines like, "My watch is full of little Smurfs and Tweety Birds," there's tons of bullshit to wade through. Kochese's Hellraiser is a more well-rounded, manageable affair but Hell on Earth has a completist element that three people will appreciate.

Also, with this tape, the rapper can check off another "hell" phrase from his scribbly black-and-white ideas tome. Keeping score, we've got Hellraiser, Hell on Earth, For the Hell of It and Hell Up in Harlem. Another recent tape dubbed Streets Wanna Know predictably failed due to its experimental title. Causal suggestions for the future: Frozen Hell (perfect for those January hut treks), Hell to Pay, Hellish (simple yet effective), Hell In A Handbasket, Helluva Nice Guy, Like Hell (tribute album), Hellbot (futuristic Bobby Digital shit) and Hellbent.

The Hardest Out is not merely notable for his endearing mediocrity. He's the first rapper to appropriate Hurricane Katrina as a metaphor for toughness. (Since I've listened to every mixtape since Katrina hit, I know he's the first, yeah). "My flow is hurricane (Katrina!)," he suggests-- convincingly-- on the "Get 'Em Daddy" remix and, later, warns, "You want war, I'll Hurricane Katrina your Beamer." Rell doesn't care about the displacement of millions-- such godly displays of power are pretty awesome to him. Which, given his comedic impotence in rap's megasphere, is only fitting.

20060402

Ten Toes Down

Scarface [ft. Lil' Flip, Bun B & Chamillionaire]: Platinum Starz
Lil’ Keke [ft. Pimp C, Bun B & Paul Wall]: Chuck Up Da Deuce
Cory Mo [ft. Pimp C, Bun B & Slim Thug]: If It Ain't Me (Remix)
Southern Smoke 25

Linked by succession and banging certitude, these three, each anchored by what was and will be again, amusing or thorough Bun B meta-duper-verses, are the obvious in Smallz' pile. Sandwiched healthily in the ever-important 13-15 track spots, those middle passages that can bend, break or eviscerate a tape's otherwise wise start. Or they can fuck it up. See, sequencing is for suckers on the tape trap, unless, of course, you care about your audience (say it with me now: AWWWWW-dience) and not just the folks who buy, listen and chuck away. As we are prone to do every now and again here at the Hut, perhaps when Styles or Ab Krav cop something filthy (bad) from Amad. Murda. Like anything with Kochese's name on it.

Smallz stuff, however, is less concerned with "New-New" new shit as it is with classically composing fairly recent slam-bang-sing stuff. "Chuck Up the Deuce" and "If It Ain't Me" couldn't be further friends, one skippy-dippy, disco bounce, as Kravitz pointed out. The other is thick, surly, screw from an O.G. Screwed Up Click-er. Keke is a cracked pinky nail in this Manicure game, but his peddy is fly as shit. Ten toes down to the grass. Follow me. Paul jumps out front on some silly Foreman sno-cone stuff, pish-posh. Wrist game, too. Between Arkanoid lazers and tension-mustering string work, there isn't much space for tomfoolery. Keke is proletariot with the wizdom: "Try to take the Young Gunz spot." Ha! "Roll the green like I'm playing golf" is also Dare iz-era Redman good weed metaphor, which is truly stunning. Pimp and Bun own songs like this and I have no more time for idolatry than you do. Also, this is a five minute song on a mixtape and it slays without sacrificing sync, saying something seriously. Test me now.

"Platinum Starz," which is incorrectly labeled "Stars," is off 'Face's new sorta joint, which is fine, even good, but sad. The beat is on some real-real Newsies stuff. Same jam that Killa Cam'ron sampled when he wrote the Purple Haze bootleg epic "To the Top" (find that Interweb hounds). It's slowed here a bit and importantly setting up men with flows less menacing, less dexterous, less slithery than Cam'ron's. Not disrespect in the least. It's only now, after years of hating Lil Flip, that I realize I love Lil Flip. His oblivious confidence ("I AM THE KING OF THE SOUTH") is crushingly endearing. Like the kid at the picnic in the three-legged race who hasn't realized he's lost already, all the while Daddy shouts at him. Daddy in this case is quite clearly Jesus H. Christ. Chamillionaire is, turns out, still an incredible rapper and didn't "forget" how to be good. He just stopped. Willfully. Going Gold ought to teach him how to burn and yearn rather than lope and slope on the track ("Southern Takeover" still wrecks.) He reps isosceles triangles here. That almost hurt me. Bun, again, does Bun things and whereas we were thrilled before, now we are thrilled but in the less than thrilled way. He is also still talking about your daughter. Even though he also has a daughter.

The final is the aforementioned "If It Ain't Me" which might as well be called "I Saw the Sign" because it is on some Ace of Base + Tom Tom Club stuff. If there's something missing from Texas, it is funk guitar stretched thin. Well, that and the Soutbeach diet. This time Bun goes first and please thank you your welcome my best sincerely any time hope all's well au revoir merci one time for your mind. He's polite. Cory Mo is the best rapper here and he's a producer. OK, I lied Slim Thug is the best rapper. Do you think Z-Ro and Bun B and Slim actually hang out together at the club. That would be cool.

Like I was saying, rhythm and groove, bass for your taste. Just cuz the shit cost five bones (5 for 20, holla) doesn't mean we're not listening. Pay attention. I look at tracklists.