Tom: I know, I know, it’s rap. We don’t normally cover anything like this. But this one’s a bit different.
Tim: Hmm. Is it?
Tom: It is, and here’s why: it was designed, from the hook to the lyrics, to appeal to the mainstream. It’s off a double-album called “Urban Ammo”, created by rapper (and US Pimp My Ride host) Xzibit for use as production music: for film soundtracks, movie trailers, and wherever they can’t afford to license Big Commercial Tracks.
Tim: “Urban Ammo”. Yes.
Tom: So if, listening to this, you thought “huh, this isn’t usually my thing”, then you’re right: this is marketed not at folks who actually buy ‘proper’ rap music, but at middle-American cinemagoers and TV-watchers. Note there wasn’t a single word in it that had to be censored. It’s all the style, without the substance.
Tim: “Style”. Interesting choose of word.
Tom: But what style.
Tim: Oh, we’re sticking with it. Okay.
Tom: First of all, that is an absolutely amazing hook. Second: it’s Xzibit. This isn’t some two-bit has-been or never-was: the man can rap.
Tim: Second, yes. But first, really? There’s a hook, sure, but is it amazing? It’s just a guy speaking instead of rapping, though admittedly with vaguely melodic inflections here and there. Potentially with the piano underneath it could be, but I’d want something vastly more melodic before it could be described as ‘amazing’.
Tom: Huh. Given that you’ve been in favour of some rather… tuneless tracks in the past (Icona Pop’s I Love It, for example), I’m surprised this doesn’t qualify for you.
Tim: Well, if you remember, I didn’t hugely like that when I first heard it, but then Icona Pop’s later releases were so good that I ended up listening to it quite a bit and it grew on me a lot. Can’t see the same thing happening here.
Tom: This, I reckon, could’ve been a proper Top 40 commercial track given a bit of remixing and some good marketing. Instead: you’ll hear it in the background of films and TV shows somewhere, filling in where otherwise there’d be silence.