Monday, April 16, 2007

‘pause’ tape

let's play ‘pause’

T-Pain’s inspired use of discontinuous vocals on the remix to Unk’s ‘Two Step’ has in turn inspired this post. It is the beginning of a collection of favorite moments of affected hesitation… or faux verbal flubs… or just beautiful uses of negative space ('nuff respect due to El-P) that imitates the ‘less assured’ speech patterns of regular talk, not often attributed to the kings and queens of confidence kicking.
We want affects!

10. T-Pain on ‘Two Step Remix’ (Unk, Jim Jones, E-40)
“Take yo’ left foot, put it out in the front and do it …….. uhhhhhlike this… Can’t nobody do it quiii…… iiiite like this”
He’s more of a ‘ternt sanga’ nowadays but he has ‘rappa’ swagger through and through and his syllable-stretch in the dance instruction is amazing in an otherwise hum-drum remix. When the DJs cut that part up the two-steppers should go nuts.

9. Q-tip on ‘Everything is Fair’ (A Tribe Called Quest)
“You don't have to say a word…………. That's all ya heard”
Gunshots are often employed to punctuate verses these days but Q-Tip used a particularly dramatic collection of rounds to take a breather in this urban reportage.

8. Doug E. Fresh on ‘Self Destruction’ (The Stop The Violence All-Stars)
“This is all about, no doubt, to stop violence But first let's have a moment of silence…………. Swing!”
Only Doug E. could get away with a silent ‘prayer’ filled with beatboxing.

7. Ad-Rock on ‘The New Style’ (Beastie Boys)
“Feel the beat...mmmmmmdrop!!!”
Technically not a verse but that weird drag into ‘drop’ has to be one of the oddest Ad-libs in a career of odd ads.

6. The Fresh Prince on ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’
“They left the keys to the brand new Porsche. Would they mind? Ummm, welllll, of course not!... I'll just cruise it around the neighborhood…Wellll, maybe I shouldn't…. Yeah, of course I should”
Maybe not as flavorful as Kangol Krew storytelling but Mr. Smith still had style in his conversational flow.

5. Big Daddy Kane in a live routine
“Bed-Stuy brother comin’ from the Brook hood…………. drop shit and still make it look good!”

BDK may have topped his “E-e-even if I stutter, I’ma still come off” line with this great (now classic?) routine. The first time I saw it I was fooled.

4. Biggie on ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ (Jay-Z)
“If Faith had twins she’d prob’ly have Tupac’s… Get it?... Two… Pacs…”
Explanation never makes a joke funnier particularly within a rap but once again Biggie shows his genius by taking an incomplete pun (What’s a ‘Pac,’ man?), his only contribution to the mythical coast-v-coast ‘war’, and flipping it into one of the most oddly memorable lines in rap history.

3. Special Ed on ‘I Got It Made’

“I make fresh rhymes… daily… You burn me…? Really?”
Ed’s distinctive, halting rap is made up of odd phrasing and pausing but none top the delay before the question “Really?” It’s brief but at the time his original style made it seem huuuge.

2. Das EFX on ‘They Want EFX’
“So one two…um, buckle my… um shoe …”
The jibbedy-jabber jaws were masters at making even nonsense syllables sound dope. The, um, hesitations were just as important as, um, the stiggedy-iggedy stuff. And anyone who says that rap needs, um, ‘content’ in order to have relevance is obviously sleeping on this classic.

1. Jay-Z on ‘Friend or Foe’

“Friend or foe, yo, state your biz… mmm you tend the dough? Ahh , there it is…me, i run the show, oh, and these kids… You can understand that, right?... ‘cause if this is not so, ehh, god bless…”
Maybe the greatest transformation of rap into screenplay monologue, Jay breaks his flow up into non-rhythmic talk with all sorts of fake verbal ticks and tricks yet still stays within the realm of rap. If you call this ‘spoken word poetry’ promise you never, no matter the weather, eva eva eva eva eva eva eva come around here no more.