I am endlessly fascinated with the way the record-buying public views Nas with a mixture of amusement and indifference. Unlike Kweli or Mos or Common or Tip, something about Nas's overtly political and heartfelt messages doesn't connect even though he's a better emcee by half.
I say this because as usual people don't really like Nas' new song.
I thought about writing a review on this blog of Kanye West’s new album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” But I’ve actually been having a really good Facebook conversation with a young brother I know that captures how I feel about the album, about Kanye West, and all the hubbub around him.
This is about how I feel about the album. Though I think a 7/10 is a mite high, maybe a 6/10 6.5…eh. it’s mostly enjoyable tho
I posted the Popmatters review because it captures much of what I feel about the album and is also emblematic of what I consider a real problem in music reviewing: grading on a curve such that you give credit for ambition without sufficiently assessing execution.
Drives me batty.
Anyway, this exchange which took place in the comments of the post was only lightly edited for clarity:
I just finished listening to Janelle Monae’s EP a bunch of times. I kinda love it. This video works for me though. I think though that there is nothing electronic about her music (as it has been described to me), this feels very psychadelic P-Funk to me. Very Sleepy Brown. Very Cee-Lo Green. It’s nice to have a sister in the mix. Oh wait – we have had Joi Gilliam for over 14 years. Silly Americans, how easily soon we forget.
Q-Tip, Gettin Up
Tip is back y’all! I tend to prefer minimalist videos a lot. They allow an artist’s natural charisma and the song to grab you. That is what is at work here. So glad to have the Abstract back in the game.
Usher, Trading Places
I’m endlessly fascinated that Usher’s career hangs in the balance because his legion of black female fans so vehemently hate his wife. What does that even mean? It’s so crazy to me! Here I Stand is the best black pop album of the year, hands down.
That said, this video is just classic, classy ass Usher at his best. It’s tasteful and sexy. And it showcases just how beautifully this man sings. That vamp at the end is breathtaking. Don’t sleep because you don’t like Tameka.