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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, really. And I know this, so please refrain from littering the comments section with “Why the fuck is this zombie-looking freak on 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’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

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