The Black Snob

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Madonna + Justin + Timbaland = Meta Fake Negro Meltdown

4 Minutes by Madonna

I’ve been listening to Madonna’s new Timbaland produced single “4 Minutes.” I’m trying to determine if it’s gawd awful or genius. It totally sounds like a “Bad” era Michael Jackson song with a horn-infused hip hop “Dangerous” Michael Jackson edge. But MJ rip-offs aside, I can’t get over how self-referential this production is.

You’ve got Madonna, an artist who in the 90s who flat out said she wished she was black. And there’s Justin Timberlake who owes the success of his post-blond afro, boy band career to the work of black hip hop producers. Then there’s Timbaland, the genius, throwing together a mix that is one part The Jacksons “Can You Feel It” and one part a Mickey D’s bastardization of every beat Tim Mosley has ever created.

Then there’s Madonna, the “mother of reinvention,” still aggressively pursuing the youth market via Tim and Justin even though she’s fifty years old now. I’m not saying she should hang up the fishnet tights and crotch shots, but isn’t it getting a little silly? While her “Confessions On A Dancefloor” and “Music” were good, she hasn’t done anything truly earth shattering since “Ray of Light.” Her music has always been a live or die by the hot producers-o-the-minute she’s signed up with.

Then you have the whole inside joke of Madonna and Justin singing together. Justin, the ex-boyfriend of Britney Spears who Madonna famously got freaky with on the MTV Video Awards back in 2003 then did a duet on Spears’ track “Me Against the Music.” Justin who was all on Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson’s jocks. The same Jacksons Madonna was obsessed with in the 80s and 90s.

While this song is just kind of ridiculous for Madonna, it’s a stand-out for Justin. Madonna’s not known for her vocal chops and he basically over-powers her in the same way Beyonce’s ululating knifed up all his falsetto and subtlety on the second take of “Until the End of Time.” Madonna turns the ex-Mouseketeer into an R&B credibility God. Timberlake, no matter how you feel about him, has way more black acceptance and R&B cred than Madonna ever had.

When she bemoaned her lack of blackness in the 90s it was because she wanted to be taken seriously as an artist by the black community, but tragically, Madonna’s weak vocals kept her on the back burner. Despite making a serviceable R&B album out of “Bedtime Stories” she just didn’t have the shit it takes to compete in the brutal “Showtime At the Apollo” world of black music. And it didn’t help that black people already have one marginal singing pop sex Goddess. And her first name ain’t baby. It’s Janet. Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.

Until now Madonna always had the good sense not to do duets with black singers better than her (or white singers better than her for that matter). There were no *MJ, JJ, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz (and I don’t count “Justify My Love”), Patti LaBelle, Terrence Trent D’Arby, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Boys II Men, Mariah Carey or Beyonce collaborations. No George Michael, Boy George, Elton John, Michael MacDonald, Annie Lennox, Cher, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguliera or Fergie duets. No one who could make her sound like crap. She flirted with R&B disaster on “Take A Bow” with Babyface, but that turned out wonderful, mostly because ‘Face is such an excellent producer.

But Justin finally found a popular vocalist he could make sound like shit. He’s ripping up and down “4 Minutes” all elated at being the hottest thing on this hip pop concoction. You can almost see the MJ-esque pirouettes he’s is doing in the studio while resisting the urge to accent the whole thing with “hee-hees!,” “ooh-hoos!” and “Shamons!” All Madonna can do to keep up is repeat her the pop assist she gave Brit on “Me Against the Music.” And even though MJ is a hot mess right now, the production of the song gives me hope that Tim will save a beat or two for black music’s own personal Howard Hughes because if this had been a Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake production there would have been blood on the dance floor.

For real this time.

*Snob reader I Am Not Star Jones pointed out to me that Prince and Madonna sang a duet together, “Love Song” from “Like A Prayer.” I originally had him listed under Negroes Madonna avoided singing with. But she did not release it as a single, so on a technicality she was still playing chicken.

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Written by blacksnob

March 28, 2008 at 5:55 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Prince & Madonna did a duet together.
    I think it was love song on
    Like A Prayer.

    I am not Star Jones

    March 29, 2008 at 2:16 am

  2. and you called it but it will be:

    Michael Jackson
    Britney Spears
    JT

    produced by Timberland

    it’s coming in the 09.

    I am not Star Jones

    March 29, 2008 at 2:18 am

  3. Well, I’ll be durn. Prince DID do a song with Madonna. I technically don’t want to count it as she didn’t release it as a single (usual white pop singers like to grab their BBF – best black friend – and scream to the world “Look what WE made!” Like MJ and Paul McCartney on “Say Say Say” or George Michael and Aretha Franklin on “Waiting For Me.”) but they DID record a song, so I will point that out.

    So other than Prince, Madonna typically sings with people who can’t kick her ass vocally.

    The Black Snob

    March 29, 2008 at 2:41 am

  4. Name 5 people that you know personally that heard rhat Madonna/Prince song—or even heard of it, period, haha.

    Invisible Woman

    March 29, 2008 at 8:14 am

  5. Remember this is not the first time Madonna has worked with black producers. Does anyone remember 1994? In 1994 Madonna worked with Dallas Austin, Babyface, Dave Hall, these guys are superstar black R&B producers. Babyface gave Madonna her biggest hit of her career “Take A Bow” which was number one for seven weeks. Whenever Madonna’s career is in a funk she always goes black. I won’t be a hypocrite though I admit it I own Bedtime Stories. I really believe Bedtime Stories is a very underrated Madonna album and perhaps her best album. I also like Music I won’t lie I don’t own that album but it is a solid disc.

    Madonna is a shrewd businesswoman she knows how to change with the times. Don’t worry about Tim Mosley he is making his cash as a producer he also has a hit CD that’s selling millions of copies. Tim is also getting something out of working with Madonna and that’s media exposure. Also, Tim is introducing himself to middle America and acquiring a larger demographic and fanbase. So I guess it is a win/win situation.
    I don’t like Justin Timberlake though I can’t stand that guy the way he treated Janet Jackson was disgusting. Thank goodness Janet hasn’t talked to him she has forgiven Justin but she has moved on. And yes Justin is a white wannabe Michael Jackson. I respect Madonna more because she is her own person she uses the hip hop influences and puts her own spin on it. She’s still Madonna. Justin Timberlake mimic’s Michael Jackson he’s a complete fraud and a phony.

    Orville

    March 29, 2008 at 5:19 pm

  6. Also wanted to add Madonna and Prince actually dated in the early 1980s. It is interesting Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson are all turning 50 this year and they all know each other.

    Orville

    March 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm

  7. orville: I also own “Bedtime Stories” (so don’t feel bad). I also own “The Immaculate Collection,” “Eroctica,” “Like A Prayer,” “Something to Remember,” “Ray of Light,” “Music” and other greatest hits album that I can’t remember the title of. (GHV2?)

    So I guess, technically, I’m a Madonna fan. She makes very good pop music, so you’re not alone.

    Her dabble in R&B on “Bedtime Stories” was really good. I also liked “Take A Bow” and “Human Nature.” And who she selects as a producer also determine how good her album will be. “American Life” was dookie on the street it was so bad, but “Confessions On A Dancefloor” did great. I liked “Sorry” and “Hung up,” even though I didn’t but the whole album.

    And I still stand by the notion that if Madonna and Prince had a child together it would be the world’s funkiest baby. Both Madonna and Prince are masters of showmanship (that was also Michael’s talent too). They’re the masters at it.

    I just think “4 Minutes” is the ultimate inside joke. It’s just fascinating to me, like the Madonna-Prince-MJ angle. This whole Madonna-Britney-Justin-Timbaland confluence is rife with parody and pop self-fellatio.

    But I will give Madonna more credit than Justin. Madonna is an icon. Justin is still all on Michael’s nuts. It’s ridiculous.

    The Black Snob

    March 29, 2008 at 5:44 pm

  8. lmao @ “justin is still all on Michael’s nuts”. That is eerily correct. I was listening to “In The Closet” as I read your comment.

    Madonna is a troll, except for that song where she is a cowboy. That song is HEAVY.

    aulelia

    March 29, 2008 at 6:56 pm

  9. *”Tell Me” is that song I was thinking of when she is dressed in cowboy fashion in the video. Great song. Sorry for the vagueness.

    aulelia

    March 29, 2008 at 6:57 pm

  10. aulelia: “Tell Me” is an awesome song. It was her best track off the “Music” album.

    And “In the Closet” is one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs. I think “Dangerous” would be ranked higher as an album if MJ had cut a few tracks. “Jam” was kind of tepid, but “Heal the World,” “Keep the Faith” and “Gone Too Soon” all could have been cut. Even the title track “Dangerous” and the first single “Black and White” could have been trashed.

    I think all the filler detracted from the awesome songs like “Closet,” “Who Is It,” “Give In To Me,” “Remember the Time” and “Will You Be There.” Even “Why You Wanna Trip On Me” would have made a better single than “Jam” or “Black and White.”

    Fourteen songs were just too, too many songs on “Dangerous.” It really weighed down the whole album.

    But “In the Closet” is awesome. It’s almost right up there with “Beat It” for me. It’s no “Billie Jean,” but what is?

    The Black Snob

    March 29, 2008 at 7:13 pm

  11. hi black snob , i was reading charcoal ink , and aulelia mentioned this post.

    Madonna , I like her , i own bedtime stories and erotica . I think she is /was good for dance music . She was never black enough , where are her black men playthings? Take a bow was the best song she did , i love that song it is classic .

    Timbaland loves white european anything too much for me …. , he works my nerves , cannot stand him , and hated that he called out BS. It was a low blow .
    Can we all click our ruby slippers and make justin timberfake go away !
    sincerely
    byrdparker

    Anonymous

    March 31, 2008 at 3:41 pm

  12. Not a Madonna or Justin fan. I respect Madge more as a business woman than anything else.

    Timberfake makes me want to throw up he’s to craven and greedy for “blackness”.

    I’ve like Tim since his early years and his work with Magoo, Missy and the late Aaliyah (RIP).

    Danielle

    March 31, 2008 at 5:25 pm

  13. madonna’s quote from vanity fair this month’s green issue i do not know what the hell she is talking about , :
    quote

    “Yes, I know. I know exactly what you’re going to say. It’s very painful. Which leads us back to our question: When you think about the way people treat each other in Africa, about witchcraft and people inflicting cruelty and pain on each other, then come back here and, you know, people taking pictures of people when they’re in their homes, being taken to hospitals, or suffering, and selling them, getting energy from them, that’s a terrible infliction of cruelty. So who’s worse off? You know what I mean?” unquote

    no madonna i know not what you mean
    byrdparker

    Anonymous

    April 1, 2008 at 4:31 pm

  14. rdparker: Wha-what is that crazy mofo talking about? Witch doctors? How do you equate tribal witch doctors/voodoo practitioners with paparazzi?

    If you’re like me, um, voodoo doesn’t work cause it’s not real.

    Or if you believe in voodoo, paparazzi are worse than getting some roots put on you that make your privates shrivel up and die?

    Stop insulting witch doctors, Madonna. No one is going to feel sorry for people who spent a good portion of their life begging people to take photos of them because they wanted to be famous by any means necessary. I remember a certain someone in a certain concert film who was told by her then actor boyfriend that she wanted to do everything on camera.

    You reap what you sow. Plenty of celebrities are celebrities (Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Warren Beatty) without TMZ all up in their grill.

    The Black Snob

    April 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm


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