The Black Snob

Politics. Pop Culture. Pretentiousness.

Archive for March 10th, 2008

Only YOU can prevent sample abuse

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I’m a lover of music. I own an insane amount of it and a very wide variety. I also am a fan of a well chosen sample that can turn a good song (“Fantasy” by Mariah Carey) into an awesome song (“Fantasy” remix featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard). But not all musical rip offs are equal. For every euphoric Dr. Dre/Parliament Funkadelic experiment there’s that horrible Sean “P. Puff Daddy Diddy” Combs and Jimmy Page nightmare produced for the Godzilla soundtrack.

Here are the good, the bad and the unholy pieces of crap:

Songs I paid full price for or got on sale

1. “Please Don’t Stop the Music,” Rihanna (“Wannabe Startin’ Something,” Michael Jackson)

I didn’t understand why I had the chorus of this song stuck in my head given that I would always turn it off two seconds into the techno-ish beat. Then, when I could take no more, I actually let the song play, found myself enjoying it, but noticing that it was very familiar to me and then if totally turned into “Wannabe Startin’ Something” from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album. And they didn’t just jack a hook. They jacked the whole damn song, complete with Jackson “Woo-hoos!” and “Hee-hees!” including the mama-say-mama-sah-mama-cu-sah. It was so blatant. I’m not surprised Rihanna needed the King of Pop’s help as she is such a marginal singer that she should that Jesus everyday that she was born physically attractive.

That said, this is actually a pretty good song, although that’s all based on the fact that they ripped off one of the best songs by Michael Jackson to sing out loud and fuck up all the lyrics because God only knows what Mike is singing on that one. Black people love this song. Possibly more than “Beat It,” but not more than “Billie Jean.”

2. “Cupid’s Chokehold,” Gym Class Heroes (“Breakfast In America,” Supertramp)

It helps when people rip off songs I already like and don’t do much to mess them up. The Snob loves Supertramp and “Breakfast In America” is an awesome song off of their most awesome prog rock album. Gym Class Heroes’ version track gets a little annoying after too many listens, but I’ll cut them a break. They’re new.

3. “Last Night,” P. Diddy and Keyshia Cole (“Erotic City,” Prince)

Normally I wouldn’t recommend ripping off a Prince sample, but Diddy manages to pull one off for his album “Play.” I was drawn initially to the song on the power of Keyshia Cole’s Karyn White-esque vocals and how the song sounded like a throwback to all the 90s New Jack Swing R&B I love. So around the fortieth listen it clicked in my head that this song was totally stealing the baseline from “Erotic City,” Prince’s greatest B-side. I can not put into words how wonderfully dirty this song is. Not as dirty as the “Dirty Mind” album, but plenty filthy to not get played on the radio. This is a hit for Diddy, who gets his sample rip-offs right about as often as he gets them wrong.

4. “Fergalicious,” Fergie (“Supersonic,” JJ Fad)

A Snob reader reminded me recently that Fergie bites hard on some JJ Fad for this catchy track. I don’t like Fergie much (and not just because she looks like her name should be manly Stanley), but I was all about JJ Fad back in the day. “Supersonic” is the jam. All three of Fergie stars are for ripping off JJ Fad because they deserve those stars. They can’t be treated like clientèle.

And they’re all way cuter than Fergie Ferg.

5. “Stronger,” Kanye West (“Harder Better Faster Stronger,” Daft Punk)

This isn’t the greatest use of a sample ever. But it comes pretty damn close. Kanye West is much better at sampling that Diddy on his best day. Kanye’s sample “hot track” ratio is much higher and Kanye is far more creative. Diddy just slaps the baseline down and hopes someone writes some good lyrics. Kanye at least chops things up, speeds up or slows down and tries to surprise.

The All Time Greatests

  1. Hard Knock Life,” Jay-Z (“It’s A Hard Knock Life,” the musical “Annie”)
  2. Cherchez La Ghost,” Ghostface Killah (“Cherchez La Femme,” Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band)
  3. Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems,” Notorious BIG, featuring Puff Daddy and Mase (“I’m Coming Out,” Diana Ross)
  4. Today Was A Good Day,” Ice Cube (“Footsteps In the Dark,” The Isley Brothers”)

One is the best and only use ever that I know of from a kid’s Broadway production. The second I can listen to any day, everyday. The third takes me back to fond memories of college parties, throwing our pretend rollies in the sky, and the last is, my God, the best use of a sample ever. Cube’s production team doesn’t do much but speed up the pace slighting on an Isley Brothers track and let Cube do his thing all over it, but it is masterful. This song is cemented in my mind as being one of the best things ever, next to Johnny Depp, Martin Scorsese films, Jill Marie Jones’ weave, central air conditioning, barbecue chicken pizza and Nike cross trainers.

Crimes Against Humanity
(and the original songs murdered in the following tracks)

1. “SOS” and “Shut Up and Drive,” Rihanna (“Tainted Love,” Soft Cell and “Blue Monday [cover],” Orgy)

It was bad enough when people kept covering the 1980s synth pop ode to stalkers and other unwanted lovers, “Tainted Love” (Marilyn Manson and Pussycat Dolls), but to do what Rihanna did was criminal. The Coneheads Movie was more gentle to it than you. And I’m pretty sure Orgy wants their cover of New Order’s “Blue Monday” back with your vocal assassination, coupled with what had to be, the world’s most tepid song with the world’s most insipid title.

2. “Hey Baby,” Bow Wow and Omarion (“Going Back to Cali,” LL Cool J)

When I heard this abomination on the radio over the weekend I knew I had to write this post. This is, by far, one of the most horrible songs I’ve heard, murdering one of my favorite LL Cool J tracks of all time. Nestled between “Jack the Ripper” and “I’m Bad” was “Cali,” a cool, jazzy Rick Rubin production that combined the edginess of 80s hip hop with the cool of commercialism. (The song originally appeared in a cinematic mangling of the Bret Easton Ellis novel, “Less Than Zero.”) Despite Bow Wow’s shout-out to Rubin towards the end of the song all the “wow” factor that initially made “Cali” genius was now as authentic as a jar of mild Pace Picante Sauce zapped with Cheez Wiz.

3. “I’ll Be Missing You,” Puffy Combs, 112 and Faith Evans (“Every Step You Take,” The Police)

I really didn’t want to rag on a song written as a dedication to Notorious BIG after he was murdered. But my GOD, this song is horrible! It is, by far, the worst Puffy sample production. The stankiest of the stank, and the shittiest of the shit. Never mind that Puffy’s eulogy was based on a song about stalking your ex, the hate is just too strong for me. Puffy had previously murdered David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and Lisa Stanfield’s “Been Around the World” in one song. I still remember that Web site dedicated to stopping Puffy from ruining their 1980s high school soundtrack. Someone stop this man before he kills again.

4. “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill),” Wyclef Jean featuring Akon, Lil’ Wayne and Niia (“C.R.E.A.M.” Wu-Tang Clan)

Being that I already hate Akon, I was predestined to not like this track, but as I listened to it, it started to grow on me and then the chorus showed up. Granted, this song does not directly rip off the outstanding creepy piano plinking in Wu-Tang Clan’s hit “C.R.E.A.M.,” but it does commit a drive-by execution on its chorus. And this new song is, yet again, about strippers. And while this is a slightly more progressive song about strippers n’ golddiggers, it still feels exploitive. Not as exploitive as T-Pain’s “I’m N Luv Wit A Stripper,” but they’re rolling around in the same ballpark.

The Crappiest of the Crap

  1. Ice Ice Baby,” Vanilla Ice (“Under Pressure,” David Bowie and Queen)
  2. Can’t Touch This,” MC Hammer (“Super Freak,” Rick James)
  3. PE 2000,” Puffy Combs (“Public Enemy No. 1,” Public Enemy)

The first two seemed like good ideas at the time. Harmless even. And they may still be harmless now, but considering the genius that went into both tracks by their original, not fully mainstream, yet very popular creators. But Robbie Van Winkle and Stanley Kirk Burrell took all that was interesting and funky about these two songs and turned them into a generic smoothie of McHits that I liked when I was 13 and did not like as I grew older.

The last song is truly a capital offense. As if it weren’t bad enough for Puffy to strap Sting to table and give “Every Step You Take” a lethal injection of cloyingly trite, Diddy had to strap on the “suicide vest of suck” and blow up Public Enemy’s premiere thesis on the status of the black male in America, “Public Enemy No. 1,” and turn it into an exiguous screed on Diddy’s alleged “edge” and non-existent cool points. How one man can slap together either brilliance or crap depending on who wrote the rhymes versus who’s rhyming is mystifying.

Sometimes I can’t remember why he was originally famous at all. That Shiny Suit Man.

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Written by blacksnob

March 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Posted in hip hop, music, pop culture

The Internet Makes People Crazy

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Obviously, The Snob is a pretty big fan of the internet. As a political, cultural, history nerd, I was in reference section heaven. The internet could settle sports debates between me and my father. (Like the great “Who Told Tiger Not to Bring the Fried Chicken or Whatever They Eat” to the Masters when Tiger Woods won for the first time. In your face, Papa Snob! It was Fuzzy Zoeller!)

I don’t know how I researched things before the internet. I’m sure it was with something wholly inadequate like the Dewey Decimal System. But there is a dark side of the internet. Not the super dark side with all the pedophiles and spambots, but the part that makes people insane.

Case in point, NBC’s comments section tied to their TV clips. I didn’t want Saturday Night Live this weekend so I got caught up after I’d heard some grumbling on the internet about their latest attempt at political humor featuring Obama and Hillary. I watched it. It’s debatable as to whether it’s funny or not. But I didn’t have any partisan reasons to not find it funny this week. It was just lame like their early Hillary Clinton sketches during the fall.

I’m just not feeling Amy Poehler’s Hillary and you all know how I feel about Fred Armisen’s shitty Obama.

But I guess they get an “B-” for effort, right?

Anyway, some Obama people were all kinds of pissed because they felt this sketch, yet again, was pretty garish in their depiction of Obama as some George W.-esque dumbass who makes a 3 a.m. call to Hillary after he becomes president of the United States. In SNL’s defense, this crappy sketch was created as a TV ad Mock Hillary created to make Mock Obama look bad. But the sketch is so heavy-handed that I could see why Obama-lovers were furious.

Some folks thought it was funny. Which is evident if you read the comments on the SNL site. But gradually, as more folks posted, the comments got more and more bizarre with the pro-Hillary people and pro-Obama people opening up in a rash of message board warfare Obama spambot jargon and page after page Clintonista propaganda.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Acting like a douche does not help Obama. And it especially doesn’t help the whole “Obamamania is a cult” meme running rampant. Seriously, people. I know it’s the internet but grab a-hold of yourself and exercise some restraint. Do I have to put you in the Negro timeout corner with Flavor Flave and New York? And I don’t care if you’re not a Negro, I’ll still put you there, right next to Karrine Steffans and Eddie Murphy. By the time they’re done regaling you in all their Fiddy Cent sexcapades and Johnny Gill-based perversions you’ll never stray from the talking points again.

Now this doesn’t mean there weren’t insane Clinton supporters (because, hells yeah, there totally were as they mounted an insurgence and took the board back …), but I, personally, hold Obama supporters to I higher standard considering there is a steady stereotype brewing that has gotten uglier and uglier as Obama’s gotten closer to the nomination. So we don’t need this to turn into a nightmare scenario like that Clinton supporter who stabbed his brother-in-law who liked Obama. While that didn’t get much national play, I’m sure if it had been the other way around CNN would be doing four-part specials with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the malicious affects of the Obama Kool-Aid Kult.

I can’t share much of the spambot with you as SNL only leaves up the 25 most recent pages of comments and most of the Obama spambot was up yesterday, but here’s a sampling of another outbreak of “The Good, The Bad and The Tom Cruise Crazy” on the internet entitled “When Partisan Anonymous Posters Hijack Your SNL Thread“:

Obama supporters who can’t take a joke

Boycott SNL, If Hillary steals the nomination -boycott the election. Two weeks in a row of allowing the Clinton Campaign to manipulate you and continue to manipulate the American public. Why not do a skit on the multiple personalities of Hillary? Or the CLinton list of scandals. (that would take an entire season of SNL skits) Why not do a skit on the nasty, negative race she has decided to run. I wonder what funny skit SNL will come up with in November when McCain wins and we lose for four more years. I don’t think it will be funny then.
Vote Obama
March 10 – 1:18pm PT

Hillary supporters who think they can kill people with CAPS lock

Ken Starr already tried to prosecute them in the 90’s nothing happened. Could it be because they were INNOCENT. The REZKO issues, are linked TO AN IRAQI BILLIONAIRE, AUCHI, WHOM GAVE REZKO MONEY, WHOM THEN DONATED TO SEN. OBAMA, WHOM HAS GIVEN BACK THE MONEY TO CHARITY, BECAUSE PEOPLE FOUND OUT ABOUT IT. The MILLION DOLLAR HOME OBAMA HAS PURCHASED HAD AN AJOINING GARDEN, WHO WAS PURCHASED BY REZKO’S WIFE. OBAMA HAD THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS DISCOUNTED OF HIS PURCHASE. I WONDER WHY? YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT INSURANCE DEALINGS? WHY DON’T YOU ASK MICHELLE OBAMA WHOM ALLEGEDLY WORKED FOR A HOSPITAL WHO MADE MILLIONS DENYING INS. CLAIMS TO PATIENTS HOW MUCH SHE MADE? I DON’K ABOUT YOU, BUT I’M DEFINETLY LOOKING INTO THIS. WHERE’E THE TRANSPARENCY?
BAMBOOZLED
March 10 – 2:02pm PT

FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY!! I LOVED IT. OBAMA (WHICH RHYMES WITH OSAMA AND HAS HUSSEIN AS A MIDDLE NAME) AND HIS LITTLE FOLLOWERS GET ALL ****** OFF IF THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS GOING THEIR WAY! ALLS GOOD IN THE WORLD AS LONG AS HILLARY IS NOT FIGHTING BACK AT HIS DIRTY TACTICS. WHAT WIMPS!! VOTE HILLARY 2008!!!
VOTE FOR HILLARY 2008!!
March 10 – 1:43pm PT

People who take their Jewish conspiracy theories one Jew too far

An Israel 1st Agenda? It isn’t as much the content of biased “comedy” in favor of Clinton as the timing of these shows and ‘The Daily Show’ which assailed Obama as close to the eve of “Super Tuesday” as the show’s schedule permitted. How to explain 2 shows, liberal bastions, suddenly turning on the more liberal and freshest of candidates? There’s the egocentric NYC connection to non native Clinton but reflect on the unholy pressure exerted by and within the Jewish community on any member who doesn’t hold Israel up as the ultimate concern of American Jewish worth … (T)he NYC media, is dominated and controlled by Jews. A quote by conservative Ben Stein when asked if Hollywood were “run by Jews,”; “I managed to disqualify myself by saying that while Hollywood was not really “run” by anyone…, if Jews were about 2.5% of the population and were about 60% of Hollywood, they might well be said to be extremely predominant in that sector…” Again do your own research.
SNL_unfunny_since_75
March 10 – 1:44pm PT

Someone who came on an SNL thread to bash other shows

BOYCOTT the Daily Show. Jon has shown his intelligence by planting his nose so far up hillary’s a$. BYE-BYE JON!!!!!!!!!
Jon Stewart
March 10 – 10:22am PT

Good arguments by people who may be sane

I am boycotting SNL, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report because they sometimes show my candidate in an unfavorable light and it makes me cry in my pillow about the injustice of comedy. Boo Hoo! I’m so sad!
Boycott Bob
March 10 – 10:21am PT

(W)ho is this actor playing Obama? Man does he suck. That’s probably why they are shilling so hard for Clinton, so they don’t end up with four years of that guy.
Jim
March 10 – 1:34pm PT

Isn’t blackface racist? Guess not.
chad
March 10 – 12:30pm PT

The bottom line is we need to make sure that John McCain isn’t the one picking up that phone at 3 am…under any circumstance. It’s just comedy…news people need to be responsible, not comedians.
Coco
March 10 – 1:42pm PT

I liked it better when the writers were on strike!
Terry
March 10 – 11:45am PT

You said it, Terry! I liked it better when the (SNL) writers were on strike too. The rest of the writers I missed very, very much.

And yes, Chad. Blackface IS racist. Thank you for noticing. And yes, Boycott Bob, we are all taking this a tad too seriously. But this is the internet. What can you do?

Written by blacksnob

March 10, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Posted in 2008 election, Politics, SNL

Random Bits

with 5 comments

Snob reader Peggy Sue hipped me to some Obama for Obama coverage. I’d heard a few things about the city of Obama, Japan rooting for Barack Obama for president, but I hadn’t blogged anything on it. The video above is a shorter flick I found on YouTube. Peggy sent me a link to a series of Obama videos made by an Obama supporter who actually went to Japan to do a four-part series on her visit there. Here’s Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.

I, personally, think it’s hilarious. Mostly because I’m guessing that the town of Obama has figured out that if Obama gets the nomination, then the presidency their town will get lots of publicity and ideally, some tourists. Which leads to lots and lots of yen.

It’s natural to be all “Go Obama!” Hope, Arkansas loved to brag about Bill Clinton as their first native son and fellow Arkansan to gain the presidency. And when I lived in Midland, TX, the hometown of Laura Bush and where George W. went to secondary school, the city of Midland wanted to turn the two houses the Bushes lived in into museums. They even contacted Poppy Bush and Barbara to find out how they decorated the house so they could recreate it, but the Bushes wrote back that they lived in so many houses back when Poppy was hopping around in the oil industry that they didn’t even remember what it looked like in either house.

In other random news. Did you know that LL Cool J has a clothing line?

It looks exactly like a less colorful version of Ed Hardy’s. Fancy that. I guess everyone’s going with the tattoo-styled clothing nowadays.

And seriously, isn’t there a point when you stop dressing “young.” I’m not saying LL is old. But, um, he’s not exactly Jack the Ripper, King Hercules anymore. He’s been in the game since he was a teenager in the early 1980s. He as to be in his forties now.

And who doesn’t have a clothing line or cologne in hip hop? Rap has turned into one giant consumer-driven in-joke. I like the entrepreneurship angle, but the more mainstream and commercial it gets the farther it gets from any artistic creativity. It seems so stagnant in the mainstream. There are still some great, talented artists out there, but in St. Louis all the radio plays is the most ignorant southern-based rap they can find. All the songs are about dancing and fucking or fucking while dancing. Or claiming to be some thug of some sort in love in some kind of sexual way. And everyone is usually high or drunk. Mostly drunk since most rap stations fade out illegal drug references now with all the n-words and mentions of gun violence.

And they all have Akon singing on it and I loathe Akon. When did Akon become the new, annoying version of one-note singer Nate Dogg. At least Nate Dogg was kind of cool. He couldn’t carry a song by himself, mind you, but he could take a song to the next level.

Written by blacksnob

March 10, 2008 at 1:33 pm