D.O.D.O.A.

I finally listened to Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” the other day. I must say, the shit is less than impressive. I know. Uncool to say, right? A hater like Ron Mexico’s supposed to be digging that shit, right?

Hmmmmm.

I drove for about 12 hours this past weekend with only a few CDs in the rack. A 1993 Dancehall compilation, The Purple Tape, Bacdafucup, Just Tryin Ta Live, Soul On Ice, Hell Hath No Fury and It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot only accounted for about 8 hours. After “Niggas Done Started Somethin’”, I found the local “Blazin Hip-Hop & R&B” station. By hour 10 I seriously contemplated driving myself off of the road.

This marked the first time I’d listened to mainstream radio for longer than twenty minutes at once in several years. The only time I ever hear a “Blazin’ Hip-Hop & R&B” station is when I’m in the back of a cab. Usually the driver gauges my melanin level and decides, “I’d better put on HOT 97 before this negro gets hostile.” Little does he know, I’d much rather listen to the BBC News or the classic soul station he already had on. Anyway, I’ve never had a long enough ride to truly gauge how terrible shit has gotten for “urban” radio.

Back to this weekend. Hydroplaning in disgust, I just wanted the repetition to end. Every song’s subject was “swag”–rap and R&B alike. They all lacked poetry, sincerity and an intangible I can only describe as “soul”. They all abused Auto-Tune. They all made me never want to go back to the awful place that is Hot/Power [insert station number here]. I’m not among the radicals who believe Auto-Tune has no place in music whatsoever. Some of that shit is hot fire. However, there’s no excuse for being held hostage by Clear Channel or Radio One and forced to endure Auto-Whine for four hours straight at any point.

Thus, I understand the frustration of Jay-Z–a man twice my age incensed by the state of popular negro music. Every artist and label with mainstream access is leaning on the Auto-Tune effect like it’s a necessity for hitmaking. However, there’s no reason to make a diss record speaking out against its use en masse. All a nigga like Jay-Z need do is merely show niggas how it’s done otherwise. Make some Auto-Tuneless bangers and move along. He definitely needn’t make a diss track to effortless, talentless, insincere Auto-Tune music that sucks worse than… well, effortless, talentless, insincere Auto-Tune music.

I wasn’t excited for an Auto-Tune diss track in the first place, but since American Gangster showed that Jay-Z had shaken off the Kingdom Come Washington Wizards Jordan rust, I thought, “Maybe this shit will be doper and smarter than it sounds.” Instead, I was greeted with far worse than expected–a half-assed bitchfest. The shit’s whinier than most of the bullshit Auto-Tunery that makes the radio dial unturnable.

Ironically enough, a little Auto-Tune on the wayyyyyy off-key chorus melody would have made D.O.A. a little hotter.

Lesson? Don’t throw on a cape and crusade against shitty music. The only way to defeat shitty music is to make the hot shit. Ain’t nothin worse than listening to a track calling out wack shit when you’d never play said track twice. Maybe Jay-Z felt he needed something other than his own Jiggafication to get the people behind him for Blueprint 3. It’s a shame he doesn’t realize that such insecurity is the same as the one making rapsters-ternt-sangas blow into plastic dicks like there’s no tomorrow.

Questions? Comments? Requests? I spit Hot Power. ron@ronmexicocity.com

[Blogger's Note: Kingdom Come wasn't Jay-Z coming "back like Jordan wearing the 45" at all. It was the nigga we'd rather not remember as wearing two knee pads and laboring to keep up with Steve Francis.]

  • PURPLE HULK

    1ST

  • $ykotic

    Pierzy! Commission!

    • $ykotic

      “Tie goes to the runner” Public Enemy

      • Pierzy

        Mexx, this is why you have to get SiriusXM!!!!!

        • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

          you ain’t never lie, p! i need that shit somethin turrble, kinney.

        • latino heat

          Sirius isn’t too much better then FM radio. the biggest difference is theres no commercials. the mixshows are cool, but if you listen to the regular shit on there it’s just as repetitive as FM radio just with dirty versions instead of clean versions. if you listen to Rude Jude’s show on Shade 45 even he bitches and talks about the playlist they have to stick to for the most part. the ti’s are gonna control what you listen to no matter if you pay for it or get it for free.

  • $ykotic

    AHHHHH. Mexx was bumping “Soul On Ice”!

    “Ironically enough, a little Auto-Tune on the wayyyyyy off-key chorus melody would have made D.O.A. a little hotter.”

    I actually said that to my team and they laughed @ me. I emailed them this post.

    I’ma watch the darts thrown @ you for this one.

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      “sonset” will forever by my shit. new york deserved every bit of it… and i was there.

  • klutch

    i cosign that death of autotune is wack i can say that cuz i aint in the industry and i dont have to be on jay-z nuts

  • http://www.sylermusic.com Syler

    co-sign, and phenomenal blogger’s note

    • $ykotic

      My dude.

      Can’t get that “Down Before” cut out of my head.

      I passed the address along. Don’t know the outcome, but sh*t it’s a start.

      DON’T GIVE UP. You’re on to something.

      • http://www.sylermusic.com Syler

        Good lookin out $yk I appreciate it. I’ve been in the studio the last few weeks in my hometown, NYC (Cutting Room, where Pun did Capital Punishment), posted a couple other joints. Check em out when you get a chance. Just trying to make moves.

        Mex, I am a die-hard Knick fan too (Jimmy Dolan and Isiah set us back about a decade unfortunately), but when he did come back wearing the 4-5, I wasn’t expecting much, until he dropped the double nickel on us at the garden.

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      hahaha. thanks! feelin it from the heart.

      as much as i detest jordan (knick fan), it was sad to watch the end of his career. no one wants to remember that man in a wizards jersey… not even wizards fans.

      i still get scared he’s gonna dorn his way onto the bobcats roster sometimes.

      • BIGNAT

        yeah but old head jordan still was able to put up a couple 40+ point games. also we get to laugh hard at the wizards because they said jordan. was holding back the development of there team. now they have won how many championships since he left. they can not even hold a team together for one season.

        now the funny thing about the jay song is it is produced by no id and kanye. kanye has no pride he should have went at jay for dissing auto tune. he made a whole album with the shit.

        • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

          great point on kanye, ‘nat!

  • Master CHeef

    damn, every other joke on this website for the past year has been about how sick of auto-tune we all are. I’m hoping jay’s influence really does shut that shit down.

    Just get somebody who can actually sing. Or just rap.

    • http://thepiratebay.org/user/MaxProfit Max Profit

      Radio is dead! And So are CD’s!
      People gotta understand that if you wanna hear what you like then hook you i-pod/mp3 up to your car stereo.
      When the radio stations don’t get any listeners any more they will be forced to play what the people want.
      I figure it will be at least another 2 years before radio figures it out.

      • valdez

        good point!

  • Cashkidd

    Im a big Jay-Z fan but I have not heard this auto tune diss yet and im not interested.
    I really would like if would get some production from preemo just timbo and swizz he drop some of his best lines on their production. Kanye and No I.D. are good im just not interested in hearing them right now. Im assuming they produced the track because i keep hearing they are doing a bulk of the album. I could be wrong though

  • anutha_level

    actually, the track is moreso what inclines me to knod my head…not necessarily his content. objective drop tho.

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

      I saw it somewhere floating on the ‘Net & started to rip it. But, I hesitated. I didn’t want to be disappointed. The title alone was enough to deter my enter-button pressing.

      Maybe if he had given it a real name. Or maybe its just the act that “fight gimmick with gimmick” doesn’t equate to “fight fire with fire”.

      • anutha_level

        true points. jay z has been guilty at times of trying way too hard to set trends and get a following.

  • Ron Mega

    Uh dude. Jordan dropped 51 pts in a game at 38 yrs old. He wasn’t that bad with the Wizards, but his team was.

  • Epinz

    What it is syk?

    I aint to fond of that shit either. I just think that niggz is so thirsty for that good shit that they’ll drink anything that sounds diff than what’s on the radio, even if it aint that good….especially comin from jay!!

    • $ykotic

      E what it do? Get $!

      Cats be acting like Jay is the “Cisco” of rap right now when truly he’s “Miller”.

      Feel me?

  • http://www.xplosiveworld.com xplosive

    Co-sign this entirely. Should have just bumped Just Tryin Ta Live 8-9 times. That disc never gets old under the right circumstances.

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      one of my favorite albums ever. it’s never been out of the rotation.

  • HipHop since 94/98

    Jay spanked the whole industry on the hand with this one,it was just a light hearted “dont stick the paper clip in the socket junior type of tap”.But someone with clout had to say something,spare the rod and spoil the child and thats whats been goin on in this industry for the past 3 years.I think this is a victory for jay cause the 40 year ol dropped one song and created a buzz quicker than your favorite “33 but i’ll say im 24 year old til the smoking gun pulls up my birth certificate” rapper.You know the ones who get all these rave reviews because they shit sounds different,and all these blogs hop on their privates until them soundscan numbers come in,then they start screaming the say stuff a WHITE CHICK SCREAMS AFTER GETTIN CAUGHT IN BED WITH A nigga somewhere in wyoming.What happened to the days when niggas really had talent and could be artistic and sale,cause all these new catz wont sale simply for these reasons
    1.they be on the internet too damn long
    2.they read or post too many blogs
    3.they listen to bloggers oranyone or everyone.
    4.they make music based off of the next cat,rather to capture the same raves or to be different to kiss the critics ass.
    5.everyone knows everyone,no one has that star mystique no more thanks to myspace,youtubes and blogs.
    6.they doing everything except making music.

  • $ykotic

    Just caught it right now.

    Mexx was that acronym a clever way to say DOODOO?!!

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      haha. no, not quite. just death of death of autotune.

  • Lastgreat1

    I don’t get people, ya’ll complain about auto-tune, cut down those that do it, beg for the day when artist would stop useing it & when you get a person that stands up & says what you’ve been thinking, you start defending auto-tune. But i figured if this blogger had wrote that he was happy about the D.O.A. song then all of these comments would be too. LOL, SHM

    • http://www.myspace.com/onemanprod Oneman Beats

      I was waitn for someone to dead this Autotune shit. everybody use it cause its a safe way to get a hit. That aint hip hop. he need to talk more about this tight jean situation. Its horrible when fat boys are wearing tight jeans and making them hang on down. THATS GAY. mi no deal wit dat bizness there.
      Im just wondering if Jay still got the power to actually change the game or will people ignore it.
      Its a cool record i say its worth listening to it 5 times thats it

  • Lastgreat1

    I don’t get people, ya’ll complain about auto-tune, cut down those that do it, beg for the day when artist would stop useing it & when you get a person that stands up & says what you’ve been thinking, you start defending auto-tune. But i figured if this blogger had wrote that he was happy about the D.O.A. song then all of these comments would be too. LOL, SMH

    • BIGNAT

      @Lastgreat1 no bitches cosign auto tune thats why it is still being used. once ladies stop shaking there ass to those songs and falling over these niggas. like if they can really sing then it will die. plus half the time rappers just using it because it is what sells. like i can like a autotune the first time i hear it. then the second time i don’t because it’s like this fool can’t even sing

  • Epinz

    @lastgreat1

    Not at all homie. We don’t hate auto-tune, we hate unoriginal auto-tune users! And if j woulda put out a quality record, I would props him up, but he didn’t, the shits mediocre!

    And fuck the blogger, if I agree wit em, cool, if I dnt, I dnt!(No shots, just how it is mex)

  • oskamadison

    DOA is bangin’!!! It’s not Jay at full capacity but it surely beats the hell out of Jockin’ Jay-Z. And that track is gully./

  • oskamadison

    As far as the use of autotune goes, if I never heard it again it would be too soon. T-Pain don’t really need it even. Get his ass a vocal coach and get his chops up, he’ll be alright. Too many talentless, lazy cats jump on yet another trend and sink it. Next on the to-kill list: the use of the word swagger, or swag.

  • El Tico Loco

    I’m worried about what they gonna kill to death next, I dealt with James Brown samples,g funk, saxophones, chipmunk samples, now autotune so for real what’s next nobody worried?

  • HNIC

    I actually dig the hell out of the beat that No I.D. & Kanye jacked from this ill composer by the name of Janko Nilovic. Check out the original beat on YouTube. The song is called; “In the Space”. In my opinion, it’s the hottest beat to come out, thus far, in ’09.

    As far as Jigga’s verses, I can understand where he’s coming from. Although, I agree that he does sound a little lazy with his rhymes, especially the “Na, Na, Na, Na…” chorus. That was my only complaint regarding this track.

  • DV8

    even though I agree the autotune craze has gotten out of hand. This track was uncalled for. Jay is too old for people to care what he thinks anymore. He is running out of things to build his buzz off of. Back in the day he had that grip on hiphops psyche (throwbacks, button ups, etc). I think Jay timed this wrong. He should have saved it until just before his release date. At least that way he would have probably sold a couple more albums.

    “The Mike Jordan of Recordin” is taking that name to heart. He is definetly Washington Jordan. Maybe he can drop a occasional 40-50 on us still but hes looking foolish trying to gain attention running around with kids half his age.

  • meech

    Death of Auto Tune is just as obnoxious a beat as any Auto-Tune song out.

  • http://wwwplasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

    just a few things ron mex. long time reader of xxlmag, but have not commented on your posts very often. generally, they can be very funny. yet still, a few things:

    if all you brought on a road trip were those albums (the newest one being HHNF), without bringing along anything else, you need to wake up and explore modernity (no auto-tune). heard of this new underground artist named eminem that released an album? how about this guy dilla? of course, if you don’t recognize any of those names (they’re so new!), perhaps you could have copped de la soul’s new album “are you in”, and listened to that (oh, you remember, they were those hippy guys!). i swear to gawd, you would have loved it, could have spared yourself all that nasty radio garbage, and then given us a post that didn’t just diss father time, but also showed us that you might be a little bit progressive (if not aware) yourself.

    peace, and let me know what you think about this kewl new album by these guys from queens, it’s called “raising hell”. i heard it’s fresh.

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      not that i have to explain myself, but it was just all i had in the car at the time, leading to the radio disaster.

      thanks for the suggestions, though. i’ll check those out. when do they come out? are those rap albums?

  • http://invisiblemanhood.wordpress.com Drew Breez

    Thank you for talking about the lack of “soul” in black music. That’s all too lost in the discussion, causing people to believe that we’re griping about modernity versus nostalgia. Not it at all. Good Black music and hip-hop music does not function without soul. It doesn’t mean just a good voice or some good lyrics. It means the fusion of emotional weight and brilliant song-making. Lemme find out XXL has a new MVP of critical analysis. You guys might alienate the teens with all this high-minded shit lol. And then, THEN, the TIs will find replacements.

    Be careful. Remember the Chapelle show skit with Paul Mooney. Remember.

  • http://www.plasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

    yeah, they are rap albums that are made out of rap music even, no filler. they rap and get rappety! according to the chronological sequence of your aforementioned omnipresent coach and buggy collection, all said selections hail from the future. can you dig it? it’s a bit weird though, some of the songs are not even analogue, but with much practice (and perhaps more road tripping, you made need this thing called a “cd player”), you might develop a penchant for music that sounds clear and distinct. however, i make no promises. bueno suerte senor mexico y feliz cazando!

    • DV8

      you are tardy pimp….Mex is up on his hiphop. He was being sarcastic about those last questions he asked you. Like he said it was all he had in the car at hte time. Which I totally understand because I stay bumpin my old classics myself.

      Classic CD’s from the past > the radio anyday

      Damn I miss college radio (circa 92-97)

      • http://www.plasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

        didnt know if i should respond because i wasnt sure if pointing out how stupid someone is is very cool, but damn man, you are really, really stupid.

  • Brass Tacks

    Damn off target with this one my man.
    D.O.A. is way hotter then the effortless, talentless, insincere Auto-Tune music that you compare it to…

  • Eljoy

    Well written. I strongly agree with the D.O.A. song. It’s beneath Jay to make an trend dissing type song. It cheapens his legend and makes him look insecure. Almost as if he’s hating on it because he’s not good at it. Jays not a harmonizer so of course he can’t relate to the movement, but to hate on it makes him look bad.

  • KF UK

    Blogger’s Note: Kingdom Come wasn’t Jay-Z coming “back like Jordan wearing the 45″ at all. It was the nigga we’d rather not remember as wearing two knee pads and laboring to keep up with Steve Francis

    HILARIOUS

    I agree with the only way to make music not shit is to step the game up. That C.D you had from back in the day, mex do you think solja boy or faggoty lil wayne would be the “headline” names if the standard of rap had continued? I mean look at the turn of the millenium, compared to now.

    I think that with all things in life it takes someone rated as “hella cool” to make a stand against somthing before any of the other people would follow. Hip hop just isnt that individual anymore, and as soon as someone comes off with something different they are either a. laffed at untill they disapear (think young berg and transformers bullshit) or b coppied to DEATH (think t pain and his ugly ass dreds..)

    I agree with Jayz saying hip hop will be stagnated if everyone just wants to sound like everyone else…

    Im just waiting on Blackout 2, if thats a FAIL i mayaswell just give up on hip hop forever….

  • Jhon da Analyst

    I’m from NY but I was in HI when “Soul on Ice” dropped. I heard “Sonset” and I was like damn, this nigga got heart. Ever since then along with the title track I’ve been a fan.

  • te noh

    Mex, what up? Here’s the deal, mayne:

    This song wasn’t for us. This song was for the kids, the people who actually go out and buy the music. I taught a unit to some kids (middle school) last semester on the history of hip-hop, 1975-88. I asked these kids to define hip-hop and give me a hip-hop artist. They said hip-hop is soul music with autotune singing, and that Chris Brown is a hip-hop artist. Wrong, and wrong. Now, these same kids are all over this new Jay song and are moving on past Autotune. I told them Autotune was wack, but they didn’t care because I wasn’t Jay. Co-sign the person who said you needed someone big to make a statement. Now, these kids are all about hard rhymes. Granted, they have the attention span of goldfish, but they buy the music. Music that gets bought gets produced and released. So, maybe this song isn’t such a bad thing. Besides, the beat is ill.

    • DV8

      good point…..we cant have these kids running around thinking blasphemy like that, SMH.

      • te noh

        Yeah, they thought Kanye was an “old school” artist. I had to correct that, too.

        “If we’re not schooling the youth WITH wisdom
        then the sins of the father will visit the children
        And that’s not keepin it real…
        that’s keepin it – WRONG”

        • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

          that’s a very valid point. maybe the kids do need to be told directly. but, as you say, they have the attention span of goldfish. so ultimately, they’re not gonna be affected by what’s said, but by what’s done. they need to hear and experience hot shit for themselves, not just be lectured about it, no?

          and i’m not knocking jay’s influence. it’s still great. but if jay-z talks a big game and puts out weak shit, his influence will wane. just like a 10-year-old watching wizards jordan. we could tell him about how great jordan was, but if he didn’t see it for himself, all he can relate to is kobe.

          it was the same as a 10-year-old ronnie seeing a washed up moses malone. i heard he was the shit, but all i saw was a tired old man. this olajuwon/patrick/shaq/david robinson nigga, however…

          speaking of centers, i watched robert parish stay in the game farrrrr too long and tarnish his legacy by being the 45-year-old nigga on the end of the hornets bench instead of “the chief”. that was a transition i got to watch first-hand from young. it makes me sad.

        • te noh

          Mex, you and I agree about a lot of points.

          Of course the kids need to experience that hot shit, that hot hot shit. But, as you detailed very well in your post, commercial radio sucks donkey balls. I admit, my point is largely hypothetical. The kids like the new song. They will probably buy it off itunes or something. TIs will take notice, and maybe some hot shit actually gets played on the radio, which in turn allows them to hear and experience hot shit for themselves, which in turn allows more hot shit to be produced and released, rather than shelved to make way for the latest clown on the cover of XXL. Of course, this is all just American optimism.

          “D.O.A.” is not Jay’s best work. But, these kids don’t know that. They like the song. They don’t know that the song is highly suspect placed against “Can I Live” or “Meet the Parents.” So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not exactly buying your analogy to Moses Malone. You saw a washed-up star and recognized him as such. Jay may be a little washed-up, but the kids don’t see it that way. Again, the goldfish thing. The kids who didn’t give a crap about “American Gangster” love this song, even if it’s not exactly a “Takeover” for the Autotune era.

          Again, great post and great response. I just disagree.

  • http://yahoo nacho libre

    somebody need to put you in the negro please section!!! i gurantee you have written more sh!tty articles then jay has made sh!tty music. not saying that you aren’t good at what you do or anything its just more rappers you can have in the negro please section then a dude who has held us down for more than six summers, a half a billionaire, a man knocking down beyonce and the fact that he made reasonable doubt should give him a pass at the least. you could have got a years worth of negro pleases if you would have went to photoshoot for the cover last month!

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      haha.

      i’m not above reproach. nor is jay-z. negro please is case specific. why would you assume my discussion of a particular action is an attack on his entire life and career?

      by all means, you’ve got the right to “negro please” anything i say or do just the same.

      • BIGNAT

        negro please? it’s NIGGA PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!! say it loud and proud

  • http://yahoo nacho libre

    sorry for the delay i was at lunch, you know us corporate thugs have to eat to! and its not that i feel like you are attacking his career or his catalog i just feel like jay is doing what he always does. he creates his own lane, from things that he has his opinions own that are current then goes in and he could go super hard on the track but instead he dumbs it down a little because thats what current rap consumers want! it aint right but that is what he does to get the media talking. he could make songs like black thought but he knows that doesnt reach the masses this is the same man who sampled that he is out for presidents to represent him so of course he is going to get to the money. man my first day posting and i got ron mex to reply. peace god.

    • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

      he ain’t been rhymin like common since. interesting point.

      i don’t think it was even the dumbing down that makes me not like the song. the beat is kinda annoying and the lyrics just didn’t move me. jay-z is my favorite MC and i’ve enjoyed TONS of his dumbed down shit. sometimes it’s necessary.

      i can’t call it. the track didn’t move me. and the real point is that he shouldn’t have tried to fight fire with fire, so to speak.

      p.s.: i try to be as accessible as possible, holmes. it’s nothin.

  • te noh

    Mex, you and I agree about a lot of points.

    Of course the kids need to experience that hot shit, that hot hot shit. But, as you detailed very well in your post, commercial radio sucks donkey balls. I admit, my point is largely hypothetical. The kids like the new song. They will probably buy it off itunes or something. TIs will take notice, and maybe some hot shit actually gets played on the radio, which in turn allows them to hear and experience hot shit for themselves, which in turn allows more hot shit to be produced and released, rather than shelved to make way for the latest clown on the cover of XXL. Of course, this is all just American optimism.

    “D.O.A.” is not Jay’s best work. But, these kids don’t know that. They like the song. They don’t know that the song is highly suspect placed against “Can I Live” or “Meet the Parents.” So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not exactly buying your analogy to Moses Malone. You saw a washed-up star and recognized him as such. Jay may be a little washed-up, but the kids don’t see it that way. Again, the goldfish thing. The kids who didn’t give a crap about “American Gangster” love this song, even if it’s not exactly a “Takeover” for the Autotune era.

    Again, great post and great response. I just disagree. You know. It’s not just lecturing either. There are little rocker kids out there who know AC/DC and Led Zep and the Rolling Stones, and these kids are young too. That is a problem in hip-hop, that we don’t teach our history to our kids and call shenanigans on crap like Autotune. See my Gangstarr quote above.

  • Thomas

    The Jay record was hot. Come on now. But, that’s your opinion. Let’s not forget that Jordan avg 21 points as a 38/39 in a league against guys 15 years his junior. http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

    I think Jay is like Mike was at that time…only fighting against his own legend.