Tuesday, November 21, 2006

exactly how one gets it 4 cheap

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Shouts to the ever vigilant Jeff who points out that the general consensus on Hell Hath No Fury is pretty much in line with my own. That makes me feel a little better about not loving it.

The rise of blog-rap has been both a blessing and a curse. I'm not talking about the rap blogs whose savvy (even Different Kitchen Ian's awesomely Seinfeld-esque "these southern rappers are so crazy!" blurbs from a couple years ago, no Kramer) has allowed them to replace more traditional print outlets as the best place for rap news. I'm talking about the more analytical dudes who introduced no shortage of previously RAWKUS ONLY dudes to the wonderfully idiosyncratic rappers which we all slept on. My rap world view used to be like the rap section at The Sound Library, which was separated into all five boroughs, Long Island, Connecticut, "South" and "West". The so-called "Sean Fennessey-types" brought a whole new light to previous punchlines like Project Pat and Lil Wayne, who many of us were damn fools for sleeping on.

CAUTION: STRAW MAN ARGUMENT AHEAD.

The unintended consequence is that this same movement spilled over into the rest of the music blogosphere, and now it feels like Lil Wayne and Jeezy are just staples in the promotional echo chamber, every move being amplified right next to Wolfmother and Grizzly Bear. This doesn't matter so much for those two, as the bulk of the copies of Dedication and Trap Or Die probably didn't go to frequent American Apparel shoppers. But Clipse made the Cheap tapes *because* they lacked a promotional scaffolding; Pusha and Mal were too far north to be in on the southern tour circuit, but too far south to get into the New York mixtape game. I don't doubt that Re-Up has a huge fanbase, but the attention that the tapes got on Pitchfork and sites like it were not negligable in the group's resurgence.

This post was inspired by Tara Henley's inane take on Hell Hath, full of hard-hitting analysis like:

If The Wire was a rap album instead of a television show, Hell Hath No Fury is what it would sound like. With HHNF, the Clipse do for crack rap what The Wire did for crime dramas.

REALLY?? Tara's usually better than this, but there's nothing but talking points here, and this is the kind of blather that's going to fill the internets in the coming weeks as the downloading continues. Reading Pitchfork's take on "Trill", one gets the sense that the album's release is as exciting as the contents of the track. I'm worried the new critical uni-brain is going to celebrate Hell Hath No Fury's release like a neurobiology lab celebrates publishing a paper in Nature.

I'm not trying to claim any inherent higher ground. I would be lying if I said I was ahead of the curve about Clipse. I bought Lord Willing because I found the vinyl for five bills and I needed the singles that weren't "Grindin". At the time, I kind of wrote off their success as a Neptunes beat scholarship. Then they disappeared for like two years. I only picked up We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2 after my brother literally found it on the street in Houston (literally, lying on the street), and his comment was literally "hey, remember the Clipse?"

But I'm sayin, I've at least heard "Shook Ones."

Bonus question: what does it say about the album that it includes a ten-year-old Pulp Fiction quote, but also references Maria Full Of Grace?