Tuesday, January 27, 2009

5. T.I. - Whatever You Like

Seriously... in the past 5 or 6 years has anyone consistently gotten your head bobbing like T.I.? I don't mean to imply that he has been the best rapper of the past few years (Mr. West?) but in terms of making purely raunchy, easy listening, head nodding southern hip hop no one does it better than T.I. From "Rubberband Man" (I've completely converted on this one Goodwin) to the AWESOME "Top Back" (even the Chevrolet commercial didn't ruin this for me) I can't help but give the guy mad credit for his collective efforts. The thing is though, I feel bad that I like this. I love when other rappers in the game talk about how they want to return to the intelligent, socially conscious hip hop of KRS-One and others of his ilk and I wholeheartedly endorse these sentiments. I can talk all day about how right Dead Prez was on Hip Hop when they complained about the fact that, "All yall records sound the same, I'm sick of that fake thug, r & b, rap scenario all day on the radio, Same scenes in the video, monotonous material."

In "Whatever you Like," T.I. steps (or should I say, swaggas...like us) in as exhibit A for Dead Prez's "real" hip hop beef. Lyrically, we're treated to absolutely nothing special... sex, cars, stacks, private jets, Patron*; clearly we've been here before. The only thing is, there's a reason we've been here before... we like it here. When Dead Prez decries "fake thug r&b rap scenario" they fail to account for the fact that probably 90% of people listening to hip hop ARE fake thugs. I mean, I'm afraid to TALK to girls... about anything really, and here's T.I. spitting SOME LIQUID MAGMA game at some random hook-up target. And yes, I understand it's misogynistic and materialistic but damn what a life it would be for one night.

"Hundred cant deposit, vacations hit the tropics, Cause everybody know it ain't trickin if ya got it, and you ain't never ever gotta go in yo wallet, Long as I got rubberband banks^ in my pocket."

I mean really... is there any question why this song works? It's straight up fantasy... the same thing that draws the nerds of the world to role playing games, sci-fi, and comic books is what makes mass marketed top 40 rap like this work. It allows us to LIVE the fantasy. Add this to the sickly sweet beat, demonstrated to the best effect in the last 20 or so seconds of the song, and it's impossible to not at least have a soft spot for this song. I would argue that beyond a that, the elements that I've described come together in this case to form a real textbook example of how to make the simple syrup of pop music work. One part fantasy to one part danceable and the final result will NEVER cease to impress.

Oh and also there was this, which was maybe the coolest thing I've seen this year.

*Coincidentally these items are all included on my tour rider
^ Tried to do this once and actually couldn't figure out how to wrap the rubberband around my money

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