Shit You Used to Listen To and Probably Should Listen to Again (II)

January 26, 2011

Birdman can’t rap. That’s the circumvented summation of this post. Birdman’s talents are at their best in the once-opaque world of hip-hop production and ostensibly transparent landscape of hip-hop business (Dan Charnas’ book, The Big Payback attempts to chip away at the surprisingly sturdy facade, with mixed results). He is a rarity in this business: an expert talent scout, a savvy asset manager (ignore the Bugatti and $2.1 dollar necklace for a minute), and a talented musical producer.

But he screwed up. “What Happened to That Boy?” is another triumph of minimal production with excellent results; it’s what made the Neptunes great 10 years ago and what makes them terrible now. Pusha and Malice go hard as usual with lyrics that make you laugh not for their absurdity but for their graceful grittiness and unapologetic egotism centered on crack cocaine business acumen. Their oddly juxtaposed images of family and dealing (I’ve never heard a niece mentioned in a song before) serve as a slightly hilarious foil to each other.

This isn’t some sort of ironic. intellectualized critique of a song that is most about dealing crack and “[making] fiends [rise] from the dead like Thriller”. Alright, it sort of is. That’s a really white(ee) thing to do, but this song means a lot to me, and you need to listen to it again. Except skip Birdman’s part, he sucks.

DL: Birdman ft. Clipse – What Happened to that Boy (192 kbps)


One comment

  1. Guess who got shot in the dome piece? Jerome’s niece, on her way home from Jones Beach. I should come up to Boston just for hip-hop trivia.

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