Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mixtapes count

I endorse most of Julian Benbow's funny hip-hop-year-in-review story in the Boston Globe, but I wonder why he has a problem with mixtapes:
The closest thing to transcendence was "Da Drought 3," one more addition to the bottomless pit that seems to be Lil' Wayne's mixtape catalog. It was crisp and somehow compellingly incoherent. (Really, Wayne, when you were 5, your favorite movie was "Gremlins"? Really?) But still it was a mixtape.
Yeah, so? This year the best rap album was a mixtape...


Trey Stone said...

i gotta disagree here. i think Wayne's dope and i'll defend him against by-numbers purist "he's not saying anything" hate, but Drought 3 really highlights the difference between cohesive albums vs. mixtapes. Wayne's got talent but outside of a handful of standout cuts it doesn't sound really well-directed to me on it. Carter III's gonna be make-or-break, for whether he proves Curtis's "he can rap but he can't make strong records" point wrong (one thing 50 said recently that i actually agree with to a certain extent)

noticed you had Graduation at #2 in your other post but i'd put it ahead of Drought 3 easy, same with Jay's album.

Rob said...

Well we are not that much in disagreement, but what if Lil Wayne's particular talent for diffuse, semi-incoherent free-associative psych-rap doesn't translate into strong records? Focus has never been Wayne's strong suit, but the best moments on Drought 3 -- the Upgrade U freestyle, say -- were about his ability to expand to fill any setting. And that was some exhilarating shit to witness.

Yeah, his output hasn't been consistent or particularly coherent. If he is going to keep going, he is probably going to have to "grow up" artistically at some point -- just in the sense of vetting ideas, revising, editing. Focusing. But the pure verbal joy of his mixtape stuff, damn.

Kanye and Jay both released more mature, more consistent records in 2007. Absolutely true, and I did love both of those records. But for me they were not nearly as exciting as Lil Wayne's.