Rap Phenomenon # 4080: The Leak

Modern rap leeches have no damn manners. Even when they’re taking a couple of kernels from Kanye’s corn on the cob (word to Andre 3000), they’re bitching and whining about whether something’s a webrip, like they’re offended or some shit. Show some gratitude nerdlingers! There was a time when you had to a) wait b) buy it or c) tape it off a mate. In regards to the latter, young people take note – if you were rocking automatic recording level on any Cold Chillin’ release, that shit would make your ‘poor quality’ mp3 sound like you were in the room with Mike Oldfield and any one of his tubular bells. Anyway (as ever), five minutes later the bloody thing arrives and the tears subside for a while – which in Internet time is exactly 4.3 seconds.

Listen though, if they’re gonna care about something it might as well be Kanye, right? Two classics deep he’s already hit us over the head with the truly bonafide ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ and this years office party banger* – ‘Stronger’, and even though we know it’s been rushed (old rhymes, nicking Common’s ‘The Glory’ and pretty short by his usual standards) it’s still the closest this year’s had to a hip-hop moment. Especially when he’s kicking ridiculous rhymes from the get-go like “I’m like the fly Malcolm X/Buy any jeans necessary” In fact we’re willing to forego our contention that Malcom X was pretty damn fly to let Kanye live – the dude’s making an effort. Plus if he doesn’t get props for ‘Champion’, where those ‘Encore’ style beats make a welcome return, alongside ‘College Dropout’ era ‘Ye, then it’s a cold ass world. You know, the sort of world that doesn’t appreciate the natural pairing of Kanye’s cockiness, with T-Pain’s corniness, especially with Toomp on the help-out again.

However, you don’t need to take bets that ‘Everything I Am’ will get more rewinds than those clips on ‘When Stunts Go Wrong’. Slow piano break, Premo on the cuts and Kanye saying Chauncey from Blackstreet was as ‘black as the street was’ – it’s a hit! So is the aforementioned ‘Glory’, the remade ‘Home (coming)’ and ‘Flashlight’ which even has the normally indistinguishable Dwele sounding like someone marginally more distinguishable, like say…Musiq Soulchild. Imagine if they did a record together? That would be the ‘soul’ equivalent of J-Live and that dude from All Natural spittin’ sixteens over a track by Scram Jones. Anyway…this is why we listen to Kanye and enjoy every reference to ‘spazzing out’, whilst at the same time simultaneously cursing political correctness and feeling guilt over that kid who had ‘needs’ at school. It’s different these days. Now you can have a hip-hop track where one rapper basically crawls round another rapper (‘Big Brother’) and it’s more than acceptable. Especially when it’s over epic chords, with a nice mention of NO I.D.

Leaving it till last then, we’ve got to mention what will from now on be referred to as Kanye’s Mamacita Moment (word to Andre 3000). No, not the fairly indulgent ‘I Wonder’, but the track that features Mos Def saying “Brap!” and has the sort of concept and execution that could only previously be found on a Mos Def LP. Kanye almost gets you through the experience to be fair, until Mr. Conscious Rapper wails through the lines “It’s out of sight/I’m feeling right/Your dress is tight” – euughh, enough.
It’s lucky we like you Kanye and the music you doth make. Keep it up, old boy.

*Fact: corporate women in their early 30s have already been spotted stomping their foot to the opening bars with a vacant, maniacal expression whilst thinking “I wish he didn’t get up and wash himself straight after we had sex, it makes me all sad inside”

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Review courtesy of Rob Darlo

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