jus a little bit

Obviously this came out ages ago, but I feel like posting about it now that it’s all over. It’s easily the best single from The Massacre so far, although I might be overrating it quite a bit due to low expectations. Still – it is mesmerizing, thanks to that piercing, eastern-tinged melodic loop, a pretty, hypnotizing flute that contrasts nicely with 50’s deep-voiced, vaguely dangerous come-ons. I always end up disappointed, though, when the drums/bass enter so suddenly partway through. The melodic hook loses its power – that minimal, unsettling majesty – and sounds more like generic g-unit beat #2,345 (big drums, big ominous minor-key bass, predictability).

But the song actually sounds more ominous BEFORE the drums and bass enter, I think. Without the concrete double-time from the hi-hat, the track relies solely on 50’s barrel-heavy vocals for rhythmic stability, and minus the Heavy-Bass-Thump (copyright g-unit, 2003-2005) lie the song’s greatest charms – the tenous connection to past-50 Cent hits, and an awkward yet sublime sense of discomfort.

I think the Neptunes have been doing some good work in this area lately, like that Q-tip song Emil posted a while back, or the Drop it Like It’s Hot Remix. The lack of a massive, predictable bass boom gives the song great power in the context of the 808-dominated pop charts; its use of minimalism works like negative space in art – the absence of HUGE drums makes the song sound massive, important, and helps it stand out in the mix. Certainly this method has also failed the Neptunes (see “Broken Glass” from Kweli’s album, or a good number of tracks on the Slim Thug leak) but when it works, its a refreshing switch-up in between “How We Do” and Lil Jon club banger #6,217.

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