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18.1.06 Sasha Lexis-Nexis  

Thanks to my school's obscene ten-figure endowment, inter alia, I have Lexis-Nexis at my fingertips, which means ready access to Sasha Frere-Jones's New Yorker pieces. Here's a handful of quotes, in appreciation of his elegantly brocaded formalism. ¶ Jeezy's voice is a serrated drawl, full of breath and usually ending in a rising whine, as if every line were a variation of one question: "What do you think of that?" ¶ ["Draped Up"] is marvellously sinuous and dark, a mix of low humming sounds and raspy digital melodies; it calls to mind a hovercraft covered with blinking Christmas lights. ¶ The track "Gone" begins with a sample of Otis Redding's voice, from his song "It's Too Late," and bleeds into a two-chord piano ostinato, followed by a trim funk beat. [...] As he raps, the string section breaks into an intricate counterpoint, following the rise and fall of his voice. The strings, pop's dullest default bid for respectability, here work as hard as the m.c. ¶ Then Wiley leaps in, chattering taunts at his imitators: "I know hungry-he said he don't know you. I know who's who, and who's who don't know you." The music Ping-Pongs between half time and a faster tempo, segueing into the next verse, which is performed by Kano, a young m.c. who enunciates calmly over the aggressive beat. The song-essentially a succession of boasts and threats to rivals-is a cab ride over piles of rebar, but Kano never spills his drink.


I know this wasn't the point of your post (wow, that man can describe a track), but "Gone" was my favorite track off Late Registration, even if I kinda wish it had ended with the drawn-out strings, rather than Kanye's second verse.
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