Monday, January 22, 2007

Timeless Raps

Oh lordy it is so sweet when a rapper raps sweet raps. Surely on this we can all agree. Be you a casual or serious fan of the genre, you know that there’s nothing quite like the first time you hear an MC utter a golden couplet or flawless quatrain, and the subsequent joy in knowing you’ll be able to recall and revisit those lines whenever you wish, for they are timeless. It is in honor of these feelings, and of the MC’s that engender them, that I am proud to cut the ribbon with my main man MKM on an M. K. Mulkeen / Kevin C collaborative serial: Timeless Raps. TYHIVN presents:

Rap:

“Everbody talkin’ ‘bout pistols.
Gats is bo
ring.
Came with a new topic to flip you:
Vats of urine.

[…]

Born of the pleads that needs
the peeing geniuses.
Broads don’t see it since they don’t got these…

conveniences.”

Rapper: MF Doom (a.k.a. Danger Doom), “Vats of Urine”, off the album The Mouse and the Mask






Grounds for entry: trail-blazing juke-outs

Explanation:

MF Doom is one of my top 5 favorite rappers. No wait, top 3. No other MC works so conversationally, like someone just asked him a question and he decided to hold a sort of informal clever lecture on the subject and run a beat under it. Indeed on most Doom tracks one can infer an unposed question that he’s engaging with. In this case, the question is “Doom, what do you think about the violence in contemporary hip-hop?” The thing is, he always ends up answering some other question that no one would ever think to ask. Here, that question is “Doom, to what end can and do men piss in beverage containers?” The result is a minute-long poetic meditation on vats of urine.

These lines are pure Doom. It is difficult, within the context and constraints of a hip-hop track, to justify rapping about pee—he pulls it off in 4 lines. The opening really is an open-palmed slap at the lazy, blubbery body of contemporary hip-hop and a deft, extraordinarily funny separation from that corpus at the same time. Also golden is the second collection of lines quoted here, where Doom uses a favorite trick of his: the skip-a-beat misdirection. He (or rather his DJ, Danger Mouse) disrupts the flow of the song and then, because of the context and rhyming clues he’s given, leaves the listener no choice but to mentally conjure the word “penises” in the painful absence of a beat. Doom, of course, opts for the euphemism “conveniences”, makin’ you feel all dirty and silly for having conjured not just the word “penis”, but its still-lewder plural. What a rapscallion he is!

Oh and also, Doom refers to women here as “broads”, which recalls a glorious lost era in American cultural history when men wore hats, and spoke out of the side of their mouths, and the rhetorical question “See?” was an acceptable way to end a declarative sentence or command.

Totally aware-like of history, yet forward-thinking.

Timeless.

5 comments:

Joe said...

I've long wondered what would happen to hip-hop if gangsta rappers reaffixed the R to their moniker and talked like real gangsters. (I suspect the phrase, "nyeaah, got a real boss idea, we're gonna make a million dollahs, see?" would crop up a lot.) Thanks for pointing out that, in fact, the world of scheming no-goodniks is alive and well in contemporary urban music.

god said...

this is the best blog post ever

King Vitamin said...

Easy does it, Kent/Martin. Let me explain you something. My roomates love teevee, and so we have lots and lots of channels, huge cable package. Among those channels is mtv jams. I would say that I spend at least 20 hours per week watching this channel, and to me it delivers all the hottest (mostly new) shit flying in the rap world. Like Diddy's attempt to me arty (not Konrad) - very different sounding beat, herky-jerky video editing, tre moderne. Or the new Game-Kanye collabo. This video (and I know you know it), was followed by Bad Intentions by Dr. Dre. A skilled mix: Bad Intentions also has the video-set-on-the-set-of-the-video feel. The behind-the-scenes VJs then played a whole set of vintage Dre. Great stuff. But not only vintage Dre is great - you've also got Rich Boy, Fantasia, Mistah Fab; the list goes on and on. Awesome talent is mostly missing, but it really doesn't matter: the video makes up for it by far. I don't think I could handle it on the radio, but watching makes even shitty shit that much more enjoyable.

Nate said...

He wrote the song for me.
Not to be an egomaniac.

I can't believe Flave gave me so much grief for peeing in bottles and cans. I think your post proves that Flave must be either a woman or R. Kelly.

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