Not gonna lie; “Under Pressure” sucks balls. Its unfinished nature sucks. Dr. Dre’s doofy, Wyclef Jean-style “Sak Pase” line sucks. Jay-Z’s #FakeDrake rapping sucks. That hip-house beat sucks. Hell, even those tagged, annoying screams from my NMC brethren sucks.
What really sucks, though? That underwhelming feeling the hip hop collective experienced upon first listening to the track. I mean, this was supposed to be the gateway song to the album that was years in the making, the album Dr. Dre started talking about back when I was in junior college. From that long-scrapped “concept album” about a hitman that was to be narrated by Denzel Washington (no, seriously) to the time he vowed that – after he was sucker-punched at the VIBE Awards six years ago – it would come out. Then tracks that were supposedly slated for the album would pop up on other rapster’s albums. Reference tracks got leaked, with Ludacris and T.I. essentially rapping what were to be Dre’s verses. There’s even a Dr. Pepper commercial with the guy. Despite it all, we get expensive headphones, really expensive laptops and more expensive headphones with Lady Gaga and Diddy. And not one. Damn. Song.
Until yesterday afternoon.
And this is what we get in return? A hip hop version of Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction?” I’ve shitted out much harder stuff than “Under Pressure,” and they were far less painful on my bowels when I did so. If there was any shred of buzz for Detox it may have subsequently been ethered with the release of this track.
People should have seen this coming, however. Dr. Dre’s work with Jay-Z has never been groundbreaking, save for “The Watcher II” and “Watch Me.” But “The Watcher II” was a rehashed beat of the original, while Irv Gotti of all people produced “Watch Me.” I never understood how two of the most influential minds in rap can’t come together to simply make one good song, and when they do either the beat or the raps falters. In the case of “Under Pressure,” however, it’s both. Maybe it’s an age or pride thing.
Whatever the case is, the anti-climactic release of “Under Pressure” has left a few scratching their heads, some questioning and many let down. Add to the fuckery that happened in New York a few days ago (all of that for a free Hanson concert? Sheesh), and it appears that hip hop’s been having a down week. I hate to say this, but perhaps Detox should stay vaulted for a little bit longer.
Needless to say, I won’t be playing “Under Pressure” at any gigs soon.