Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Ragga Ragga Ragga 2004 is hot and all - the new beats just continue to be ridiculous incredible. But the vocals on most of the tracks are mixed way too high, and they usually just kind of grate and get in the way of the music. It's like, hey Vybz Kartel, shut up, I'm trying to hear this beat! It reminds me of how the worst thing about Elephant Man's Good 2 Go was Elephant Man himself - the beats were amazing, but Elephant Man wouldn't get out of their way or even work with them. He had to sort of run all over the place on top of them, almost ignored them. One of the things that made, like, late-90s Cash Money so great was the way the vocals were mixed low enough that they ended up being just another gear in a huge, slick machine - you could pay attention to Lil Wayne if you wanted, but it was just as easy to tune him out and just listen to the laser noises. Ragga x3 2K4 seems to be going for hardcore bluster, but I'll take Sean Paul/Wayne Marshall smooveness over Vybz Kartel splutter any day of the week. The best tracks on the comp are the ones where the MCs stay low and get in the pocket. You know who's really good at doing that? Bounty Killer! I'd forgotten how great that guy is; he's got a more compelling presence onstage than just about anyone I've ever seen live, and he keeps his growling from overwhelming the tracks. The new jacks just don't seem ready to do that. One of the frustrating things about the current dancehall boom is that it generates great single after great single but seems totally unable to come up with a classic album, not even a compilation. Or if it has, I haven't heard it. Is Ragga Ragga Ragga 2003 better?

Speaking of smooveness, how slick was Bill Clinton on Monday night? He is like the white Jay-Z. I have no particular love for the guy, but it already seems like millions of years ago when politicians had that kind of effortless charisma. The TV presentation of the convention was just fucking terrible, by the way. One of the things I don't like about going to protests is the way I know I'm not going to get my picture in the paper unless I wear Kiss makeup and ride around on a unicycle. If five hundred thousand perfectly normal people and one guy dressed like Uncle Sam on stilts show up to a protest, Uncle Sam is going to be the guy on the front page of the paper the next day. You'd think the networks would get their shit a little bit more together to cover a major-party political convention, but no. The camera always manages to find the idiots in the Dr. Seuss top hats. Or Michael Moore sitting all stoney-faced and stroking his beard and wearing a blanket, looking like Rasputin or something. Or fucking Jerry Springer. Jerry Springer got on camera. Come on now.