clap clap blog: we have moved

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's nearly impossible to find a picture of Lil Kim that I feel comfortable putting at the top of my blog, so you get this instead.

Champagne in my Campaign, Kim For Mayor

Hey, remember Missy Elliot's "Lose Control"? Remember how it was built around a classic of 80s electro, ostensibly the genre that 80s hip-hop production was indebted to, but which always seems to turn into 808 pastiche when someone wants to "take it back"? Remember how that was a big hit? Have you noticed how no one else has really done it?

Well, Lil Kim's "Whoa" (formerly "My Niggas") doesn't seem to be built around a sample, but if there's a hook in there, it's clearly the electro-toms that end the loop (a hook at the end!), which could have been taken straight from a Jam & Lewis song. This, in turn, twists your perception of the other elements in the backing, placing a standard-issue string part into the context of synth-strings and thus making them electrified, and bringing it all together with distinctly analogue sparkles and lazy backward spinning noises. In other words, it takes something that would formerly have failed to convey menace and instead gives it a real skip in its step. The emphasis is on the downbeat, but those electro touches give you enough beats in between to move your feet. In the end, it approaches a disco feel despite not being disco at all, making you feel cooler for walking down the street.

It also joins "Gold Digger" in being one of those songs much improved by its radio edit, which in censoring out much of the chorus not only allows the beat to shine through but silences what's probably the worst part of the song, lyrically speaking. (I like sexy ladies goin' crazy as much as the next person, but the rest of it I could kinda do without.) I haven't been able to find that online but you can get a sense of it from the video, which plays around with the structure and adds an uninteresting coda, but also gives you the frisson of seeing Kim commit fictional crimes. (You can also read the comments on the page linking the video, and indeed you should.) Indeed, the album version is probably the worst of the three. Something about the sonics, like with Prince's "Black Sweat," really makes me want to pick this up in vinyl.

People are going nuts right now for T.I.'s "What You Know About That," and while I see the appeal, I kind feel like if it's stringy bop you're looking for, you could really stand to check out "Whoa."