Good Ass Job: Not the next Illmatic?
Like Eminem's Recovery, Kanye West's Good Ass Job, or whatever it's gonna be called, looks like it could be one of those things that seemed like a good idea, but it turned out to be some ol' bullshit.
Since I published my post the other day on how I'm no longer nearly as psyched for the new Eminem album as I had been, because I find the lead single kinda guy (unlike that "Despicable" freestyle, which was the freestyle equivalent of tits), the tracklist for Recovery hit the Internets. It was posted by RapPravda, which is secretly co-owned by Eminem, and hence probably shouldn't report on Eminem, or at the very least should issue some sort of disclaimer. You can't tell too much about how an album will sound based on its tracklist, aside from the fact that, if it's got a lot of generic song titles, like "On Fire," the artist might be out of good ideas, but I notice Recovery has songs with Pink and Rihanna - which can't possibly be a good thing. Even if you're gonna have songs with R&B chicks singing the chorus, those aren't the two you wanna get. Rihanna can't sing for shit. That may have even been part of the reason Chris Brown put a shoe on her. I'll always love Pink, from back when she was a wigger (remember that first video she had?), but I can't stand her music. The only other features on the album, besides Pink and Rihanna, are Lil Wayne, and someone named Kobe, who may or may not be Kobe Bryant, of the LA Lakers. Admittedly, that could be cool, if it's the long-awaited response to Katelyn Faber's "Kobe, Tell Me Why My Ass Bled." But something tells me it isn't.
I was never looking forward to the new Kanye album the way I was looking forward to the new Eminem album, but I did kinda like the idea of it. Even a Kanye West album produced by the likes of Pete Rock and the RZA is bound to suck balls, because it's gonna have Kanye West rapping all over it, but I figured at the very least it might have a positive effect on hip-hop - or, a more positive effect than the typical Kanye West album anyway. Whatever Kanye West puts out, we're gonna be hearing it on the radio ad nauseum, even if it's just a bunch of songs in autotune about how he secretly fantasizes about killing his ex-fiance, to the tune of songs by Phil Collins and Tears for Fears. In this new song "Power," he congratulates himself for the (actually rather marginal) commercial success of 808s & Heartbreak, despite it being such a bad idea, but I'm not sure if it should really count for anything, if there's nothing to suggest that there's a certain low he could reach where he wouldn't go at least 1x platinum. He might be like Jay-Z, in that sense. At any rate, I figure there's worse things we could hear on the radio than what we've led to believe Good Ass Job will sound like. Who knows, today's youth might develop an appreciation of real hip-hop just yet. They might pretend to anyway, if Good Ass Job performs well in the marketplace. Those cynical fucks.
But it looks like Good Ass Job might not sound any different from the first few Kanye albums. (The horror!) So far, all we've heard from it is "Power," and there's nothing about that song that suggests to me real hip-hop, of the Rock the Bells/aging fat white kids in cargo shorts variety. Instead, it sounds like something from one of the first couple of Kanye albums. Literally. Like some douche took one of the songs from College Dropout, or Late Registration, loaded it up in whatever computer program people use to make rap music these days, deleted a few of the samples and replaced them with those samples from King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man." I read an interview the other day with the guy Kanye hired to produce "Power," after he heard some beats the guy did on a mixtape by Rhymefest. He seemed shocked and elated that he'd gone from working with Rhymefest, i.e. the absolute depths of obscurity and career failure, to producing the lead single on the new Kanye album. I was more concerned with the fact that Kanye is bringing in people to do his beats for him. I could see bringing in guys like Pete Rock and the RZA, to capture a certain sound, but why would he need someone else to produce the same shit he's been producing? Has he gotten that lazy? Does he hire a special guy to press the button on his sampler that speeds up classic soul records, lest his finger get dirty? Tha fuck?
Let me guess - the fact that Kanye purchased a knockoff version of one of his own mid '00s-era beats and released it as the first single from Good Ass Job was hardly any accident. The idea all along was to produce something along the lines of Late Registration, his most commercially successful album. (I just checked.) All that talk about bringing in collaborators an aging hater such as myself could appreciate was just a PR move, in case people were still pissed about 808s & Heartbreak, and the incident at the MTV Awards. Pete Rock and the RZA might still show up on the album, albeit in highly diluted form, but they were essentially used for their street cred, similar to VH1's arrangement with Fab 5 Freddy. I hope they were paid well.