“Praising the Radio Songs”, Part 4
Back in Time - Pitbull
A Pitbull video full of beautiful women, product placement, and black shades on his face in dimly lit rooms! I won’t list how many different Pitbull videos this could be, but at a certain point you have to just embrace how willing the dude is to jump on any pop song that needs so rapping (he’s a more motivated Flo Rida!). But, this one is a bit more unique than most of the EDM tracks that Pitbull has been on the last few years, and I’m not talking about the tacked-on dubstep breakdown at the end.
This song has been out for a little while, but I just heard it on the radio, and honestly thought it was a Fatboy Slim song (more specifically his hit “The Rockafellar Skank”). “Back in Time” samples Mickey & Slylvia 1950s hit “Love is Strange”, which is something of a lost art, as rap and electronic music moved away from big samples (the Kanye Wests of the world excluded) entering the 2000s. Pitbull’s rapping is probably even more boring than normal, and the dubstep breakdown at the end is bad enough I’m mentioning it again here. But, the ear-to-ear grin on my face, when I first heard the song was able to withstand those low points, as the song veers towards the “Electronica” end of the spectrum more than “EDM”. Because, as much as I love the 4/4 thump of 2010s pop radio, not all (blanket term of electronic music) needs to follow the same sonic blueprint, especially when the sound of Prodigy and Fatboy Slim didn’t get score a high number of hits in the United States at least (Electronica was no Guetta).
Sound Quality: 3/10 (Low Quality MP3s, that sound recorded into Audacity with a karaoke microphone from 6 feet away from a boombox.)
Length: 9/10 (8 songs!)
Production: 8/10 (Emulating and swiping beats from second-hand cassettes of G-Funk albums)
Quality of Producer Names: 4/10 (Poorly tagged MP3s can really hurt this category, so I’ll just appreciate the many variations of spelling Spaceghostpurrrp)
I’ve used to the term “Tumblr Rapper” as a dismissive term for young rappers, who make intentionally lo-fi rap music, and are probably better known on Tumblr than their own hometown. But, thinking about it, that seem pretty harsh to disparage young rappers, who are media savvy enough to get their music heard by people outside their immediate friend circle.
But. This is mixtape is some Tumblr Rap bullshit.
Amber London performs perfunctory gun and tough talk paired with faux-1990s G-Funk or in the case of “Original Low Key Raw 1995”, authentic 90s G-Funk from obscure Cleveland rapper Doc Million’s “Big Baller”. Before Spaceghostpurrrp whittled his sound down to it most boring aspects for his new album on 4AD (out here!), I though his lo-fi revival of Memphis rap music while interesting to my inner rap nerd. For original music, I thought it was derivative and loathsome. Amber London follows the same path tread by Purrrp except trading Memphis tapes for rare 90s G-Funk CDs (or probably more likely YouTube rips).
I don’t recall, ever graduatin at all
Sometimes I feel I’m just a disappointment to y’all
Every day, I just lay around then I can’t be found
Always asked to give me some living life like a bum
Times is rough, my auntie got enough problems of her own
Nigga, you supposed to be grown
I agree, I try to be the man I’m posed to be
But negativity is all you seem to ever see
I admit, I’ve done some dumb shit
And I’m probably gon do some mo’
You shouldn’t hold that against me though (Why not?)
Why not? My music’s all that I got
But some time must be ingested for this to be manifested
I know you know but I’m gon say this to you I
Get high but I don’t get too high
So what’s the limit ‘posed to be?
That must be why you can’t get your ass up out the bed before three
You need to git up, git out, cut that bullshit out
Ain’t you sick and tired of having to do without
And what up with all these questions?
As act as though you know somethin I don’t. Do you have any suggestions?
Cuz every job I get is cruel and demeanin
Sick of takin trash out and toilet bowl cleanin
But I’m also sick and tired of strugglin
I never ever thought I’d have resort to drug smugglin
Naw, that ain’t what I’m about
Cee-lo will just continue travelin this route
Without any doubt or fear
I know the Lord ain’t brought me this far so he could drop me off here
Did I make myself clear?
—Cee-Lo, from “Git Up, Git Out”.
Is it rock or is it techno? Rock, techno, rock, techno…? It doesn’t much matter since The Fat of the Land has sold, at last count, 9,435,506,204 CDs over the last two months. In fact, it’s sold so many albums so quickly that it really doesn’t matter whether it’s good or it sucks. The masses have spoken unilaterally and have thinned out their wallets in the process.
—Jim Lewis, from Pitchfork’s review of The Prodigy’s Fat of the Land.
I got nice watches, nice cars, nice bitches and rings,
Guess it’s safe to say a nigga like me got nice things,
Can’t relate to motherfuckers who ain’t got no cake,
When you all fucked up and can’t get no brake,
When your fake ass friend don’t help you out, when you need it,
Be on some real bullshit, tell you politely to beat it
—Diddy, on “Young G’s”