Entertainment news and musings from a pop culture geek

Friday, September 30, 2011

In Defense of "Ghetto Techno"

There's a story floating around that places Jay-Z, Kanye West, No I.D., Timbaland, and Don Cannon* in the studio. The year is 2009 and they are debating arguing how Jay should unroll the Blueprint 3 machine. Timbaland, typically [post 2007], is in favor of the Jigga man putting out a poppy, radio-friendly Z-100, tween suburban-girl ready song to hook the masses. One can only imagine Kanye, the living embodiment of one of Hov's most reliable creative inspirations, calling this the dumbest fucking idea possible. During it all No I.D. is in the corner, silently and humbly working on a beat, which Ye instructs him to play. It is hard hitting and sounds decidedly nothing like what the radio currently has to offer. Kanye outlines that a song over this beat should be against everything that's wack in hip-hop right now. And we all know how the story finishes: Jay takes the beat home, comes in the next day with what is now known as "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-tune)," shocking even Kanye with his denouncements. "That's too far nigga!"**

*Random I know, but come to think of it Hov on a Don Cannon beat could be gold. See: "Go Crazy"*

**Kanye's response to the second verse line "you niggas' jeans too tight/your colors too bright, your voice too light" over the intercom while Jay was laying the verse was hilariously kept in as an ad-lib.**

Later, during the suspicious flurry of Timbaland-only BP3 leaks, one song that got a lot of [negative] attention was the leftover "Ghetto Techno." The track was panned on the internet by Hov haters and Stans alike, as pop-pandering bullshit and an example of why the game needed to put Timbaland on sabbatical, including yours truly Mr. Rex. I recount the story above to say this: "Ghetto Techno" was without a doubt the song Timbaland was pushing Jay to use as his first single. And you know what? It's actually not as demonic as you thought it was on first listen. When I first heard "Techno" I despised it. These days the song has taken up permanent residence in my sprawling Recently Played playlist.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wish the song was the first single--I'm not even sure I ever want to see it grace an official tracklist. The first single from a returning artist (Hov was 18 months removed from his last album around the time) should be reassuring, not a complete departure from one's signature sound. The legion of Hov haters and Illuminati conspiracy theorists would've pounced on it mercilessly and the hype for BP3 would have been nil. But as a simple, insignificant throwaway? The track is fun as hell. You can't tell me that you wouldn't sing along without a care if it were Pitbull cleverly instructing you to "survive more shots than Pac had" on the hook instead of Jigga. The beat bangs. And my God is the patented Jay-Z wordplay intact. "...in the club getting bucket after bucket like Kobe," but the real highlight is @S_C_'s genius Twitter flip:

Honey's white but she dance black
had to ask the lil broad how she dance like that
But me? I'm doing me just goin hard
got a table full-a Ace like a deck of cards
fiends roll the green up
we got 1 Oak lookin like a lil Wilhelmina
but I ain't doing nothing that can get back
cuz I know half the club wanna twitter that
Tweet tweet--I smell a bird--and a rat

"Ghetto Techno" isn't what we want to hear from Jay-Z. But it's quite far from his worst song. See for yourself:

Tell me how much a Stan I am in the comments:

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