Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Forever": The Rap State of the Union

"Forever"- Drake feat. Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, and Eminem [image exclusive to Nah Right]

Hopefully, even after the disappointment of "Swagger Like Us," we can have one of these epic posse cuts a year. They seem to reinvigorate the hip-hop world overnight. Although the song isn't perfect, I know I'm excited. A few points:

1. So Far Gone is probably my favorite record of the year so far, even though I'll fully admit that Drake's flow is limited. His secret, which he really taps into on "Forever," is that he says the same exact shit as everyone else, except he does it in a wistful tone. He laments "shuttin' shit down in the mall" instead of celebrating it. Add in the interesting angle that he sings whenever that seems like the more logical thing to do, kind of like an ugly Lauryn Hill, and he's carved a great niche for himself. By now we know exactly what to expect from a Drake verse, and he delivers it every time with effortless punch-lines and the occasional charmingly middle-class reference. In the same flow every time. But really, I like the guy. He's consistent as long as the song isn't over 100 beats per minute, and that's fine. It worked for Snoop Dogg in '92, and we've probably cycled back to that.

Less ugly Lauryn Hill. More Vincent Chase and Johnny Drama mixed together.

2. Were the sirens necessary?

3. People are glossing over the fact that this is the lead single for the LeBron James documentary More Than a Game. Bron Bron is secretly at the center of all of this. It's like all those Lost Generation stories where something crazy happens, like Evelyn Waugh gives Fitzgerald the idea for the title of Tender Is the Night or something, and then the footnote casually mentions, "Oh yeah, they were having drinks on Ernest Hemingway's boat." Really? It's all happening? LeBron is Hemingway's boat. And stuff.

4. The best thing to happen to Kanye's rapping was taking some time off. He's done a million guest spots in the past six months, and almost every one can stand next to his best work. I kind of like his "you can have the game back" threats as long as he doesn't actually take us up on them. How could he have never used the "He ain't even go to class...Bueller" line before this? It's almost as good as his McLovin line is bad. His verse is probably my favorite, but I'll move on in the interest of not stepping on my Best of the Decade column for him.

5. This is almost a parody of a Lil' Wayne verse. Reference to martianism? Check. '80s baby nod? Check--Space Jam Jordans. Rhyming things that don't rhyme? Check--garden, harvest, Orleans. Untethered 504 shout-out? Check. Really obvious simile that adds nothing? Check--"like Nevada in the summer." You mean we don't get a mention of how pink his Sprite is? He even sounds bored stringing this stuff together. He never shows up for big moments like this.

6. In Eminem's verse, which is satisfying but a bit overrated by commenters--humorless and empty but technically sound--he spits, "I'm Hannibal Lecter so just in case you're thinking of saving face/You ain't gonna have no face to save by the time I'm through with this place so Drake..." At first, I heard that as "I'm Hannibal Lecter so just in case you're thinking of "Saving Grace". I assumed Em thought Jodie Foster and Holly Hunter were the same person, which I found hilarious because I've always thought they have the exact same (goofy) voice.

"Missshhhhhtaahhhh Lecterrrrr."

It's no coincidence that she won an Oscar for the movie she doesn't talk in.

That't not what he said though. Making connections like that is pretty much why I love rap music. I'd say it's alive and well.

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