Track 18 Wins Again
Soulja Boy Tell 'Em
From Souljaboytellem.com (Interscope)
If you couldn't have guessed by the ubiquitous blink-beat of "Crank That" and the (hopefully) soon-to-be-ubiquitous microfarts of "Yahhh," all 14 tracks on Atlanta strip-club/school-dance/ Grammy-stage sensation Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's debut are pretty much just four-minute ringtones. These songs weren't caressed into ringles by executive producer Mr. Collipark (likely, he just flipped Soulja's hooo's into ohhh's) but are naughty by nature: the skeletal, fire-alarm punk of a 17-year-old who produced his entire record on his PC. (If snap scientists D4L were the Germs, then Soulja Boy is, I don't knowHalf Japanese?) The trick to embracing his spare tracks is succumbing to his sounds: squiggles and thuds left choking for air over cavernous swaths of negative space. "Booty Meat," track 11, is a deep Miami bass-kick and rattle-pop combo, with some tinny ascending notes custom-fitted to honk from a dime-sized speaker. But the climax comes 90 seconds deep, long after the second chorus, and long after you thought you'd guessed how this movie ends. Rushing a hair-raising half-step up, a rubbery bass plays one simple but volcanic brain-bludgeoning note, like Bootsy Collins sitting in with Flipper: doom doom doom. It might be a preset, so give half- credit to Fruity Loops.
"Paint Still Wet"
From Supply & Demand
(Disturbing the Peace/Def Jam)
As good as a fake UGK song gets, "Paint Still Wet"track eight on the debut from Atlanta duo Playaz Circleis a worthy successor to mega-single "Duffel Bag Boy," stuck in the center of a motionless album in desperate need of one. (Not helping: Playaz paterfamilias Ludacris still donates his better guest verses to Chingy and Fergie and Khaled and anyone but these guys.) The chorus ("She don't wanna freak me/She wanna freak my car") remains a few integral vowels away from the UGK song they're biting, even on the dirty version. (Read: They're aching for radio play.) Dolla Boy likes to ride solo, but when he finally gets the girl, he seems more preoccupied with her scratching up his upholstery. Tity Boi doesn't need the status symbol, as he's occupied with himself, elbowing the beat and melody out of the way, letting his vocal drones own the track: "I don't really wannaaaaaaaaaaa/Start no dramaaaaaaaaaaa."
"Who Do You Believe In"
From Made (Rap-A-Lot)
Track nine of a 12-song album, Scarface surveys "this generation of thugs" with distressed eyes, like Biggie's "Things Done Changed" from the perspective of a man pushing 40 and trapped on the other side of the generation gap. His neighborhood is a ghost town full of crackheads; his friend dies of cancer; he can't watch TV because it's nothing but war and xenophobia; he's paralyzed by both sadness and unconditional love for his city. The question central to "Who Do You Believe In" is asked, but supreme beings are never really mentioned or approachedXTC's "Dear God" from someone too set in his ways to ever really lose his religion.
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