Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mismatched: Jigga Man & Timbaland

So a lot has been said and contemplated of all the leaks from Jay-Z's new album that are almost coming on the daily. And the general consensus has been pretty negative. It's quite unfortunate. What the internet has been able to get its hands on are the two lead singles, "D.O.A." and "Run This Town", as well as the three joints produced by Timbaland on the album. That's the good news. Well ... honestly that's great news.

I've never been a Timbo fan. I think the majority of his beats get by solely because they're different-ish sounding. And while that may have worked for "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" (which inevitably endeared Jay to Timbo for forever) or a bunch of random bouncy R&B joints, he doesn't actually cut it for hip hop anymore.

First song off the Jigga/Timbo train was the unfortunately dull and plodding of "Off That". Most fanboys were looking crazy forward to what Drake could do on a song with Jigga, but it turns out all he could pull off was a hook. And while I appreciate that Jay wished to inform the world that he is way more advanced than us in all forms of livelihood, it's just too bad he couldn't have put a single line in the song that was memorable. And Timbaland throws in his familiar little Justin Timberlake ad-libs, but unfortunately ... the listening public was off that about four years ago. Maybe the only saving grace of the song is the fact that the term "fid-uck" is pretty humorous. I wonder if they have to bleep that on the radio. Hmmm.

Then was "Reminder", but that served a lot more as distracting techno nagging than it did as a serviceable backdrop to support Jay's lyrics on. One of the comments I saw that I laughed at was someone saying that Timbaland must've hacked into their Fruity Loops library. And that might be what happened. The beat is crazy annoying. It's some sonically unpleasing violin-ish scraping and random heavy effects on some run of the mill drums with a random sproing thrown in. And the worst part is that Jay kills it on here. He comes off sounding heavy and lyrically straight, especially on his third verse culminating in a hilariously non-hidden Joe Budden subliminal. But every time the vocodered chick on the chorus comes in, you wanna shank yourself in the ear. It's honestly that bad. I need a remix of that one pronto so I can enjoy Hov's lyrics more often on it, cuz this one as currently slated is definitely getting the skip button treatment on the iPod.

The latest was "Venus vs. Mars". Now this one I actually super enjoy. But that's prolly just cuz Jigga uses the same low and punctuating flow that he did on his first American Gangster single, "Blue Magic". I sweat that song, and the look works on here too if you appreciate his continuous line-by-line cultural references and uber word play. And while the laid back and almost yawning beat works pretty well with it, I can see how some people would hear this and just get kinda bored. There's no lush instrumentation behind it. Really, there's not much inspiration detectible at all and its lack of a for real hook sucks pretty bad, too. I've never been a fan of the anonymous throw-in female voice trying to seduce me on any given rap song. They usually come off more annoying than sexy. That said, I really like that this is a different kind of joint, which keeps it fresh for me, and I think it will fit in great under the context of the rest of the album. All in all, most people's complaints involve Timbo on this one, not Jay.

So basically ... Timbaland doesn't inspire Jay-Hoffa anymore. That's what it comes down to. Either he gave the Jigga man a second rate beat tape or Timbo's fallen off altogether from the peak he had reached with Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, and JT. At least in the public's eyes. I personally have had a grudge against Timbaland ever since Cee-Lo tried to run with his collabo "I'll Be Around" track as the Soul Machine single. It sucked and was completely unrepresentative of the rest of the album's geniusness. But whatever.

Regardless, I have definitely not lost hope for BP3. I mean, the Swizz Beatz joint is most likely guaranteed to completely blow, but I refuse to believe that Kanye and No I.D. could forsake the people any further. It's unfortunate that they didn't helm the entire project as reported ... but hey, Timbaland said he was taking care of the entire thing before Kanye did. Thank God that didn't happen. I firmly believe Jay-Z's still got it on the emceeing tip ... but apparently only while in studio sessions with certain people.

... but do take my word for it.

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