March 10, 2011

Sach O prefers Bass to base. That’s fish and sub frequencies.

9th Wonder and Lil B deserve each other. Both are over hyped internet monstrosities created in the labs of insular rap ideologues, both ultimately make very boring music and both compensate (or compensated in 9th’s case) by releasing so much material that it’s easy to confuse the glut for an overarching narrative. On the other hand, neither of them are quite as bad as their detractors would have you believe: Little Brother had a couple of jams and the law of averages dictates that Lil B will occasionally release something listenable when he stops calling himself a faggot, bitch and/or Miley Cyrus. This song is listenable but not very good and as such both the backpack contingent and B’s cult hate it for essentially the same reason: it splits the difference between two aesthetics and lands nowhere in the process.

You could argue that Based Gawd deserves some credit for expanding his purview (not that its a new approach, that Amalgam LP was full of half-baked pseudo positivity over soul samples) but that ignores the real issue: the results aren’t very good. “Base for your Face” is remarkable solely for the novelty of having a rapper backpackers hate on a backpack beat, the kind of shtick 9th’s been peddling since he somehow landed on The Black Album. On the other hand, even if Lil B’s rap-deconstructionist shtick is interesting in theory, the results are usually just as piss poor and rarely worth a second listen. When your options are half-baked originality and half-baked traditionalism, it’s lose-lose. All the MF Doom references in the world won’t save you until you can write a song that’s memorable for more than 5 minutes for reasons other than semi-intentional hilarity. I’m not saying that can’t happen, I’m saying that I won’t give a fuck about his music until it does.

For contrast’s sake, you could do far worse than Greg Enemy’s new-ish single Muggsy Bogues (Slam Dunk). Former Pack producer Young L provides a seasick beat (are those James Blake synths?) and despite name-dropping the based lifestyle on his blog, Enemy’s verse is coherent and amiable without dipping into milquetoast positivity. It’s a song with limited potential but it reaches its modest goals, as opposed to B’s unfulfilled promise. Combine one tune’s focus with the other’s reach and make sure L’s behind the boards and you might get somewhere.

Oh, Jean Grae’s on the Lil B song too. Anyone care? Didn’t think so.

MP3: Lil B ft Jean Grae – Base for your Face (prod 9th Wonder)
MP3: Greg Enemy – Muggsy Bogues (Prod Young L)

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