Archive for February, 2018


“Uhh, yeah, uhh, yeah” – Every Rapper Ever

I found this a couple years ago at the Half Price Books in my old hood on Bethel Road.  It was only $3.99 (minus my edumacator discount), so I picked it up ’cause I knew it was on this list, not because it was anything I ever really wanted to own.  Now, I don’t have any animosity towards Kanye West.  To be honest, I never really cared about him.  See, I used to really like the hippity-hoppity music back in high school, but I pretty much left rap music when the gansta movement happened in the mid-nineties.  But this is definitely not gansta rap, even though it borrows heavily from Ye’s mentors like P Puffy Daddy Diddy and DJ Jazzy Jay-Z.  Actually, if there is a post-gansta rap category for over-produced pop rap stars like Drake and Kanye, well, this definitely fits the bill.  Or to use an alt rock analogy, Kanye seems to have more in common with Colin Meloy (minus the sea shanties) than Kurt Cobain.  Or put another way, this ain’t straight outta Compton, it’s straight outta the Hamptons.

Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.  My point is that Yeezus is not a street level prophet like a Snoop Dog or an Eminem.  These aren’t songs about drugs and guns and murder and being a baby daddy.  These are songs by a middle class twenty-something trying to be funny and get girls.  Yes, there are sentimental moments, like on “Roses” when he writes about his grandmother being in the hospital, but they are few and far between.  The rest of the album is filled with James Bond references (“Diamonds from Sierra Leone”), skits about broke frat boys, and guest appearances from everyone from Adam Levine to Common.  The best track is definitely “Gold Digger”, but in retrospect, it’s hard to take the song seriously after he married Kim Kardashian.  I’m mean, I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger, but Reggie Bush, Kris Humphries, and Kanye West ain’t exactly broke dudes.

Other lists: Even though this is the second album from the 2000s on the Top 500 list, Rolling Stone only ranked this #40 on the 100 Best Albums of the 2000s.

Ch-ch-changes: This album is brand new to the Top 500 list.  It had not even been released when the original list was published.

My favorite track: “Gold Digger” (Jamie Foxx nails the Ray Charles hook)

Honorable mention: “Gone” (only due to the Otis Redding sample)

Quote: “He got that ambition, baby, look in his eyes.  This week he mopping floors, next week it’s the fries.”

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So often times great art seems to come from people in a great deal of pain.  You see it all the time with musicians…starving artists who put out phenomenal debut records, only to become mediocre once they start living comfortably.  Well, Clapton never became mediocre, but he is certainly at his best here on this record when he was in a lot of emotional pain.  Apparently this entire album was inspired by his future wife, Pattie Boyd.  The only problem was that she was married to his best friend, George Harrison, at the time (I never realized Clapton had so much in common with Black Cloud before.  Ahem.)  So he channeled his feelings into this record, and the result is fantastic.  Sure, eventually Harrison and Boyd split and she and Clapton got married.  And sure Harrison was cool about it and even attended their wedding reception.  But in the moment of this recording, Clapton was feeling the blues, and he got it all out in the studio.  I actually like this stuff way better than Clapton’s stuff with Cream.  That band veered too far into psychedelica for my taste, but this set is dirty and bluesy.  Duane Allman contributes as well, which makes for some pretty stellar dueling guitar solos.  I snagged this new for $13 at The Exchange in Willoughby last spring, and its been in pretty heavy rotation ever since.  I never quite realized “Layla” had a 4 minute piano coda before…I guess I must just have been familiar with the radio edit.

Other Lists: “Layla” is #27 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Ch-ch-changes: This album fell two spots from its original position at #115.

My favourite track: “Layla”

Honourable mention: “Nobody Knows You When Your Down and Out”

Quote: “I got the key to the highway, billed out and bound to go.  I gonna leave here running; walking is much too slow.”