Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Singles of the Week: December 22, 2010

Rap: “Roman’s Revenge” – Nicki Minaj ft. Eminem

What could Eli Manning, Aladdin, dungeon dragons, Roman Polanski, Lil’ Kim, S&M, the Vatican, and straightjackets possibly have in common? Well, they’re all somehow relevant in the eagerly anticipated collaboration “Roman’s Revenge” between provocative rap icons Nicki Minaj and Eminem. And it certainly delivers; Nicki’s more aggressive than most male rappers could dream of being, and Eminem’s crazier than a Brown student. It’s angry. It’s explicit. It’s twisted. This shit’s as cathartic as it gets. So whether you like it or not, listen, because it seems as though music like this has become a legitimate form of artistic expression; and to be honest, I think it’s brilliant. As these icons say, “when Shady and Nicki’s worlds clash, it’s high class meets white trash”, and I think they’re here to stay.

(Just for fun, try to determine which rapper is high class and which is white trash. I haven’t slept in days trying to figure it out. It’s driven me mad.)

-Michael Becker ‘14

Hip Hop: “Beast Mode”- B.o.B.

I should preface this by saying that I grew up watching “Beast Wars” and “Beast Machines,” the shows from which this song draws its central metaphor. So any song drawing upon that paragon of nineties cartoons had a direct line to my heart. But besides my own personal nostalgic satisfaction, “Beast Mode” is a great song. It’s the B.o.B. I came to know and love before “Airplanes” seized America’s radios by the throat and choked the general population, threatening to extinguish B.o.B. the up-and-coming rapper entirely. But with “Beast Mode,” that version of Bobby Ray is back. He brings the manic energy that made his Lawnparties show so live, and complements with an attitude of seething desire bordering on anger. And it’s awesome. This is the B.o.B. that got himself noticed in the first place, as “a beast unleashed, raging.”

The accompanying vid:

-Trap Yates ‘14

Indie: “Chinatown” – Destroyer

Why I decided to finally break my yearlong Pitchfork abstinence to pick this song is somewhat of a nebulous explanation. I was craving something smooth, and something modern, and this song by Destroyer turned out to be about as satisfying as a cream filling. The intertwining voices, acoustic guitar and rhythmic beat is sensually light, almost a seamless homage to Nico in “Femme Fatale” with the Velvet Underground. Then there’s this smooth jazz horn section from the 80s, something from an elevator or a sitcom, which makes you think first, “this is totally wack” and then immediately afterwards, “I kind of like it.” There’s a strange irony as I listen to Dan Bejar and Sibel Thrasher croon into my ear “I can’t walk away/you can’t walk away” whilst scrambling to finish the semester with one foot out the door. But this song, altogether too short and too sweet, is as soothing as a bubble bath. Let it be a reminder, it’s never too late to take a mental break.

-Lisa Han ‘13

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