May 16, 2012

Deen doesn’t give a fuck what you like.

Before I hit play on this shit, I was pretty sure that I’d just be able to delete a paragraph or two, copy and paste a few nouns from the post about Rawse’s single, and call it a day. Alternately, I figured this song would be so damn good that I’d be able to rejoice in T.I.’s long awaited return.

Instead of either of those extremes, I’m stuck in the middle. T.I. has given us a good song, but it’s certainly NOT a single. WTF? How many fucking industry niggas does it take to change a lightbulb? Who heard this shit in the Atlantic offices and thought to themselves “this is the street single that T.I. needs to get some real attention again”?

It’s a nice album track with a warm beat and very good lyrical performance. He even manages to sound a bit menacing without inducing laughter (given everything we know now, that’s quite the feat – then again, rap is outta control these days). But pushing this forward as a single? Nah bruh. That’s all kinds of fail rightchea. In fact, this is a bit of a regression because I’d suggest that “I’m Flexin'” was a much better “street” single than this song.

Again, this shit ain’t bad at all. It certainly rises beyond album “filler”, but, and excuse my language, you gotta come harder [ll] than this to get back to the top, T.I. I’m serious. Despite all his failings in recent years, I get the sense that most rap fans are rooting for the guy because let’s face it – there isn’t a whole lot else out there that’s exciting the people – no matter what the charts say. Oh wait. Did you just say that there’s been a distinct lack of proper rap hits in the top reaches of the pop charts? Well, let’s have a look right now. The highest charting “rap” single right now is Nicki Minaj’s “Starshi… LOOOOOOL. I couldn’t even complete that shit. Get the fuck outta here with that Nicki. Lemme try again. Rap’s first appearance on the current “Hot 100” comes in the form of a Wiz Khalifa guest verse on Maroo… LOOOOL! Still can’t do it.

Seriously. The closest thing to a real rap song on the pop charts right now is Drake’s “The Motto” at #15 (which is kinda undercut by him being at #14 crying about Rihanna or some shit, so there). Then there’s Kirko Bangz (#28 – Drank In My Cup) and B.o.B. (#32 – So Good) before you get to G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy” (2CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINZ!!!) at #36 followed by Snoop & Wiz at #37. Yeah, so by my admittedly harsh standards, there are only 2 proper rap songs in the top 40.

So what was the point of all that? Well, say what you want about T.I., but that man was a damn hitmaker before he went on vacation. The man has 7 singles that have charted in the TOP TEN – two of them at #1 and one at #2 – and that’s not an easy feat to accomplish for any rapper. So yeah, T.I. is one of our few bonafide hit-makers and all of a sudden he can’t make songs good (read: catchy) enough to get him on the radio and get an album to the market? That’s fucking insane.

I understand Jeezy and Rawse struggling with this kind of shit, but T.I. moved outta the trap a long time ago. Remember? Destiny’s Child brought refreshments and Justin Timberlake brought the U-Haul truck right before Mr. Harris figured it out after Weezy gave him the cheat code (Jim Jonsin). So I’m a little stunned by this turn of events. Even more confusing is the fact that on a purely technical level, T.I. has actually sounded very sharp. Great verses all over the place – even on these failed singles. And in his defense, he’s trying new things each time out – they all just happen to be boring and useless (maaaan, I just passed on a great cheap-shot opportunity. I’m maturing as a man right in your damn presence).

Single after single, these rapperists keep failing us and none of these new niggas is popping either. Are we really about to have a cold summer? All this Euro/Techno shit won’t let up and our best rapping hitmakers can’t make one to get on radio with payola, never mind saving a life. Gotye eh? Flo-Rida huh? I’m worried as fuck. Whatever Tiny did to her vagina while he was away is fucking the rap game up. Either that or T.I. just needs to say “fuck probation” and get back on the pills. He doesn’t have the luxury of riding Drake & Nicki’s coattails back to chart success the way Weezy did. B.o.B. just confuses people with his crappy pop/rap shit.

Sigh. Maybe Chris Brown rapping isn’t the worst idea after all…

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