Credibility Suicide? Get Lady Gaga’s Producer on the Line

At this very moment of typing, I’m feeling like a Civil War deserter, unfortunately apprehended, and now being walked to my death, hands tied behind my back, the firing squad positioned 15 yards before me. Their rifles loaded, held by itchy fingers and sweaty palms. The gun-holders’ collective bloodlust materializing into saliva, as they realize that they’ll be able to pull their respective triggers within seconds.

That’d be a much better way to go out than a guillotine, I’d think; at least you can see your killers when in front of a firing squad—size them up, search for remorse in their eyes.

Of course, this site’s message board hardly has the power to flat-line a brave (foolish?) blogger, though that doesn’t make this any less nerve-wracking. Imagine the sensation that comes with standing on the edge of a cliff, moments before you take a leap of faith, or file a potentially hazardous blog post.

Okay, here goes—two of 2009’s hardest beats have come from music genres other than rap, and I wish that some MCs would turn each into mixtape cuts. Production that consistently makes my face turn into a knot, as if I’ve come down from a drunken stupor and found myself in bed with a lady club-rat that hasn’t showered in days. Instrumentals that are as worthy of 50 Cent’s “aggressive content” stamp as his “Death to My Enemies,” or “Crime Wave.”

I’m talking about two far-from-rap songs (one pop, the other R&B) in particular, one of which has no business being on XXLMag.com, really. And I know this, so please refrain from littering the comments section with “Why the fuck is this zombie-looking freak on XXLMag.com? What is this—Perez Hilton?”

The records I’m speaking of are Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Alicia Keys’ new “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart.” Yes, two of 2009’s hardest beats, tracks that should serve as motivational fuel for rap producers to step up their own “aggressive content.”

“Poker Face” (Instrumental)

“Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” (Instrumental)

Hardcore hip-hop has always been my preferred sound, which explains why early Mobb Deep, anything Gang Starr and all songs Wu-Tang comprise my all-time favorites list. Why—in light of XXLMag.com’s weeklong celebration of Dr. Dre’s now-10-year-old classic LP—“Bang Bang” is the record I most replay off of 2001.

Whenever “Poker Face” and/or “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” come on the radio, I can’t help but increase the volume (with windows rolled up to their brims). I’m unable to bring myself to lip-synching or audibly chanting the words, now, but the beats are undeniable, as far as I’m concerned. And they always make me wonder, “Where are the rap beats that pummel the senses as hard as these?” I swear, when Kid Cudi’s “Make Her Say” surfaced, I was disappointed; I would’ve preferred Cudi and Kanye to jump on the original “Poker Face.”

There’s no grand proclamation to make here. Just the opinion that Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys have dropped two of this year’s hardest records, in my ears. Is it wrong for a lifelong rap head to show love to Lady Gaga’s brand of poppy “aggressive content”? In a public forum full of cyber-haters ready to pounce on such un-hip-hop feelings? Or do some of you agree with what I’m saying here, just not to the degree that you’d ever take the initiative to say it out loud? I don’t blame you, if that’s the case. I literally battled with my instincts as to whether I should jump out the window here, only to land face-first on the gravel as those squad rifles proceed to burst.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to bump Snoop Dogg’s new shit, “I Wanna Rock.” That shit goes quite hard….as does this new Lady Gaga record “Teeth” I just discovered, off her new The Fame Monster release.

Damn it, there I go again. —Matt Barone

  • Enlightened

    ARE. YOU. FUCKIN. SERIOUS?

    You had me click on that shit thinkin you might be onto something?

    That Lady Gaga sound like a bullshit techno song they would be playin in some rave club with a bunch of people on pills thinkin it’s the shit.

    That Alicia Keys beat sound like a “We Are The World” remix being played on a bullshit Casio keyboard.

    You need to switch up your drug of choice homie.

    • AZ40

      Kinda co-sign that poker face is st8 up techno and that alicia keys joint sounded like some rock and roll shit, they kinda hard but not no “turn the volume up sht” you want some hot beats try the boy Black Milk from detroit

    • meck

      for real i clicked on that shit to thinking it was something hot what the fucks wrong with this dude. i f someone remix this on a fucking mixtape there career would die slow..

    • megagavelli

      enlightened put down an excellent description that was spot on both… damn, i was kinda excited to hear some fly beats that i had missed–

      that alicia joint really, honestly does sound like it was made on one of those casio joints they keep on display at target–for real

      fukin fail

    • http://www.facebook.com/maxprofit Max Profit

      I been thinkin that for about 2 years now.
      R&B cats don’t sing over R&B music anymore they just pick hot beats and run with it.
      Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Keri Hilson, Neo had some hot beats.
      Rappers seem to have lost the art of picking good beats.

      Ghostface & Cam are still the best at jumpin on great beats.

      Two mixtapes I like “No Ceilings” & “Burn after rolling” got plenty of R&B beats.

  • FUCK

    “Run this Town” is a sicker beat lol at this nigga thinkin poker face is a good beat lmao

  • LOL

    I think that “sweet dreams” from beyonce is a pretty nice beat. Def better than these two u selected wtf?? Dont switch up ya drug of choice just let me hit it, cus u GOTS to be super high thinkin these are the hardest beats out lol

    • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

      ^^co-sign. sweet dreams is kinda sick, i heard it on No Ceilings & didnt know it was Beyonce’s song til the next day when i saw the video. shit go hard.

      im bumping that Clipse, Door Man instrumental. that shits insane.

  • Zway07

    He’s got a point. I wouldn’t say those are the hardest beats to come out all year, but they both were a lot harder than some of the hip hop songs to come out in 09

  • http://-- gaddic

    BANG bang fav track of 2001?

    What the hell thats probably the weakest track on the CD?

    poor blog and poor taste in music

    • Enlightened

      Hell yeah! Co-Sign like a mu’fucka.

      Bang bang? Especially talkin about the “hard”ness of beats? What’s up with this dude?

  • Capt. Obvious

    wow u can’t be serious…please delete this post before someone important reads it….okay the lady gaga beat is just average in my opinion and kinda annoying. The alcia keys beat is different but not the hardest…i think rick ross (deeper than rap) had sum of the hardest beats this year along with swizz productions!

  • Moving Sideways

    This is what the internet would dub an “epic fail” on your part Matt.

    #1 “Poker Face” is a house song, it has the same kick drum on every beat that “Flashing Lights” did, except “Flashing Lights” had soul brought in with the strings, “Poker Face” on the other hand is soulless and irrelevant.

    #2 That Alicia Keys song has some hard drums ok, but so did some Tears for Fears songs, which is what that song sounds like.

    The toughest beats right now are “9x Outta 10″ off that DJ Quik and Kurupt album, “Blow The Horns” off that new M.O.P. Also, if you’re going to use any R&B, the only R&B song I’ve been liking lately is “Why R U” by Amerie.

  • Smel

    I would have to agree with Enlightened. And I’m especially disappointed because I like Gaga’s music and persona (totally unrelated to hip hop), and thought you might really be on to something, but these 2 choices are DEPLORABLE.

    I’m not going to cast your theory aside totally, that other genre’s beats are overshadowing hip hop beats this year (seems like most of what is called r&b this year is singers half-rapping over beats), but you gotta come harder than these 2 choices.

  • D

    Keep taking the tablets.

  • John Cochran

    You lost me dude. But I cant knock your opinion. Maybe if someone was rapping on them I could see your vision. Hard drums alone dont make “hard beats”. If you think of some of the best Alchemist beats for example, it’s more about the dark tone of the beat than how hard the kick drum beats. It’s ironic though how r&b and pop singers elect to use more aggressive beats while rappers are starting to use the softest shit possible.

  • yoprince

    you wildin with this one. not cause you picked pop, r&b records but those beats just aren’t HARD. dare i say poker face is a great record, but that beat isn’t hard. like the first five seconds of that a.keys record may be hard.

    hardest (and best) beats of the year:

    absolutely – DOOM (Madlib)

    on to the next one – Jay-Z (Swizz Beatz)

    so ambitious – Jay-Z (pharrell)

    successful – Drake (noah ’40′ shebib)

    Best I Ever Had – Drake (Boi-1da)

    crack a bottle – eminem (dr. dre)

    lose your life – Snoop,Pusha T,Jada(Alchemist)

    Wasted – Gucci Mane (FATBOI)

    Break Up – Mario,Gucci,Sean Garrett(Bangladesh)

    Make Her Say – KiD CuDi (Kanye)

    Hyyerr – KiD CuDi (Crada)

    Oh Let’s Do It – Waka Flocka (Don Beatz)

    D.O.A. – Jay-Z (No I.D.)

    the entire Rick Ross album (the Inkredibles, JUSTICE League, the runners, Drumma Boy, DJ Toomp)

    Catalina – Raekwon (Dr. Dre)

    Black Mozart – Raekwon (RZA)

    D.O.A. is easily the best beat of the year tho… too bad jay-z wasted it.

  • Brooklyn

    those two beats were wack. i like the beginning of that beyonce song “video phone”, if that shit was looped it would be hot. the thing now though, is that producers that used to primarily do rap beats are now producing for r&b and pop stars. so, r&b/pop music now has harder beats than they used to, and sometimes better beats than rap songs.

  • OG Matt Herbz

    What the fuh? This is the worst drop I’ve ever read outside of a Byron Crawford post. Trust me, if you were facing me on that firing squad, I’d have no remorse in emptying the clip in your face not so much for your lame set up above, but also for your horrible opinion. Every man is entitled to their opinion, yes…but NOT YOU.

    You are banished from ever mentioning Lady Gaga again on this site, and for 10 days you will NOT go by the name Matt. You shall simply be knows as “Ho-Barone” until the 10 days are up. You have disgraced this site, your family, and anyone who shares a first name with you. I see you in the streets, then I’m going to run into you…I see you in the club, and you’ll be wearing my drink…I see you on Ebay, and you’ll get some negative feedback. Walk the plank…

    –OG Matt Herbz–

    • NotoriousAGC

      lmaooooooooooooooo
      COSIGN

  • meck

    this dude is fucking homo

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Lay off the triple stax Matt. Them tracks are not hard @ all.

    You should be sentenced to go run after a $20 bill in front of Broadway traffic on a windy day for this one…

    • BIGNAT

      mwhahahhahahahaha

    • http://www.sylermusic.com Syler

      Yo $yk, what’s good man? Email me, get at it through my website. I wanna send you two new cuts from the upcoming project.

  • Shawty J

    Come on, man, you’re joking right. You had me wondering if I was missing out on something, but that’s clearly not the case.

    “Poker Face” is a generic techno song. It’s not good, it doesn’t go hard it’s actually kind of annoying. It gets good around the chorus when the instrumentation picks up, but that’s about it

    “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart” – I like the drums but that’s about it. Sounds like something Kanye would produce, but it’s still not really something I’d bump.

  • BIGNAT

    matt you are wrong homie you must be listening to music while stuck in a k hole or something. that is the only way songs like this will get stuck in your head.

  • MindState

    I fuck wit GaGa, she’s different and dope to me. I dont like all her shit but still I can say I’m a fan. Fuck what any one of ya’ll hip-hop nerds gotta say about it too. BUT I dont think “Poker Face” is her hardest joint, “Love Game” bang way harder than that. If you say that beat aint dope you lyin to yaself straight up.

  • Yams

    Matt Barone—How did you get this fucking job. All these post are bull shit. Hire people that actually know whats going on not just the next Asher Roth as white boy with connect like i know yall did, you dumb fucks (xxl).

  • http://www.myspace.com/slotchmusic ms_spittuh

    Now I’m an up and coming emcee and I don’t think I’d spit to Poker Face, but I do find myself listening to that and her new song Papparazzi (how ever the fuck u spell it…) quite often…. and I’m mainly a Wu fan lol

  • mikel

    this is the dumbest god damn thing ive ever read, poker face is an average pop beat and the broken heart one sounds like a premade beat on an old shitty keyboard

  • OD Matt Berbs

    Kids, drugs are bad.

  • ri067953

    Yo, whoever writes this blog is steadily coming with some corny shit….someone needs to fire this muthafucker!

  • Escobar9300

    Dog you need to slap the shit out of yourself for thinking it was a good idea to have any blog about Lady Nutsack on a fuckin’ site that hip hop heads congregate. Makes me sick that this bitch gets discussed on the same site we have conversations about legends like BI and Pun. You should be ashamed of yourself. FAIL.

  • kedordu

    THE HARDEST HIPHOP BEATS ON AN ALBUM SO FAR ARE FROM THE ONLY BUILT FOR CUBAN LINX 2 ALBUM .. DEEPER THAN RAP IS FULL OF VERY GOOD RNB BEATS . BY THE YEAR END CLIPSE WOULDA HAVE ALBUM OF THE YR THO . I THINK

    THE NUMBER ONE HARDEST BEAT THIS YR GOES TO DJ KHALIL ”KINDA LIKE A BIG DEAL” .
    THE HARDEST RNB BEAT IS ALSO DJ KHALIL ‘COULDVE BEEN YOU .

  • Georgia Boi

    The production on “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” is dope, but I don’t know about hardest beat of the year. The reason why it may sound like a Kanye track is b/c it’s produced Jeff Bhaksher (producer of Game’s “Documentary” off The Documentary). Jeff has been co-producing tracks w/ Ye since 808′s. He even has credits on BP3.

    “Poker Face” has a cool beat, but I thought “Love Game” had a better and harder beat than “Poker Face” of the songs that I’ve heard by Ga Ga.

    I personally think 50′s “Death To My Enemies” is the hardest beat to drop this year. Not necessarily the best, but the hardest beat that was actually dope. Other dope beats this year:

    Big Boi- Shine Blockas
    Lil’ Wayne feat. Gucci- Steady Mobbin’
    Birdman feat. Drake & Lil Wayne- Money To Blow
    Raekwon- Catalina
    T.I. & Nas- Topless
    OJ Da Juiceman- Make Da Trap Say Ay
    Gucci- Wasted
    Jay- D.O.A.
    Jay- Already Home
    Jay- Venus vs. Mars (simple and subtle, but dope nonetheless)

  • ee bubble

    this writer tricked us into watching him come out the closet, i dont believe this

    LOL the hardest beats of this year, who let him put this up

  • suge

    I had never heard “Pokerface” untill this article had come out, it is straight, thought it is a liitle out there. That Alicia Keys joint, I peeped the video last weekend, and we’re on full agreement mode on that one. It’s about time Beyonce stopped getting the hardest tracks of the year! (U know i’m right, B-day II is tougher than BPIII production-wise)

  • bongolock

    tell em og!!!!

    this was horrible

  • http://xxlmag.com Ben

    I see potenial with the Ak song, but poker face? Get off the x while blogging homie.

  • Iglooo Sensei

    Embellished creative writing disjoints audiences anticipation, nevertheless invoking a “foreal, sun?” defect controlling reflex and subsequent GI reflux. A nasty aftertaste in the mouth means most wont eat it again. Its given aspiring writers either one to grow on or cause to tighten up submissions.

  • http://crimcitywimp.blogspot.com Ross

    Enlightened said it best up at the top.

    It breaks my heart that you qualified the “hardness” of these beats with Wu-Tang.
    Not the same league, sport, or chamber.
    Shame on your family.
    Dishonor to your clan.

    Fail.

  • chillin mayne

    yo, are u sure thats the original poker face instrumental??…sounds like a bootleg somebody made on fruit loops or somethin

  • http://www.32weekspregnantultrasound.com im 32 weeks pregnant what does my baby look like

    greats tips excellent post