In May of 2007, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Lupe Fiasco released the Thom Yorke-sampling “Us Placers” as the super-group Child Rebel Soldier (CRS) on West’s Graduation-teasing Can’t Tell Me Nothing mixtape. Seven months later the trio put out a video for the song. Then for three years, save a remix, silence. Like The Commission, Crooklyn Dodgers and Fantastic Four before them, CRS seemed like a broken hip-hop promise. Fast-forward to this Friday and Kanye West, traveling in Japan and possibly caught in a lurch with his weekly promise of new music, dusts off Child Rebel Soldier’s “Don’t Stop!” for public consumption. Or let’s just hope it’s old because Lupe says he’s a hero “like Jack Sparrow.”
It’s fast, punchline-laced and lacking a hook. (“Who need a chorus? We do it tyrannosaurus,” raps West.) It was nice of them to let Pharrell go first, because he’s clearly outmatched as a rapper (though not a bragger), but by the end it’s none too noticeable. West is most rambunctious and records at least one classic Kanye joke: “For the hate in advance, pull down your pants, make ’em kiss both cheeks like we livin’ in France.” If it is indeed an old track, rest assured not too much has changed.
And if there was ever a time for a CRS take two, it’s now. On the first go-around in 2007, Kanye was bracing the world for Graduation in September, Pharrell co-starred on Jay-Z’s American Gangster in November and Lupe’s The Cool dropped December. This November we’ll see an album from N.E.R.D. and Kanye, while Lupe’s long-delayed Lasers was finally granted a release date, too.
And if we never hear from CRS again, they can claim to be undefeated.