Sunday, August 28, 2011

A song a day: Jay Z and Kanye West - No church in the wild

I don't know when it became the fall back position for hip hop and r'n'b stars to make songs that sound like early 90's eurotrash techno but it seems to be everywhere at the moment. Simply hire David Guetta and instant hit ensues. It looks like Jay Z and Kanye have been looking backward too on this track and I guess the reason I like this song so much is that it reminds me of prime Massive Attack. The dark insistence of the bass coupled with the menacing repetitive riff sounds like a sped up version of something from Blue Lines or Protection. It isn't trip hop by any stretch of the imagination but if we recast the song this way:
Jay Z = 3D/Daddy G
Kanye = Tricky
Frank Ocean = Horace Andy
I think you can understand what I'm saying if you know Massive Attack at all. While like I both these guys I think Kanye has been doing the most consistent and interesting work of the two (sorry Jay, I'm not about to forget that album with Linkin Park). That being said, Jay Z sounds rejuvenated here and the song which essentially explores the Godless hedonism of the hip hop lifestyle is compelling because of it's dark undertow. So far the best song off Watch the Throne for me.



  1. I have never been a fan of Hova. Everybody around me seems to really like his flow, but I always find him to be the least compelling thing on any of his songs. Kanye, on the other hand, is usually amazing. But I've tried to listen to The Throne. Repeatedly. Absolutely nothing. Less than nothing, it actually has lessened my enjoyment of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I was a pretty big fan of Massive Attack, and an even bigger fan of Tricky. I wonder if you aren't maybe right on this- like Massive Attack, it really didn't catch my interest once my favorite part (Tricky/Kanye) wasn't involved. The difference being that in this iteration, Tricky did the solo albums first, before Massive Attack. Would I have been a fan, if Maxinquaye, Pre Millenium Tension and Angels with Dirty Faces had come out before Blue Lines? Watch the Throne seems to indicate, nope, not at all.

  2. I came late to Jay Z and was largely persuaded on the strength of the 99 Problems and the Dangermouse Beatles mash up - to be honest I like that American Gangster album more than the Blueprint stuff. That being said, I find Kanye infinitely more listenable and interesting. Apart from this song, I'm not really enjoying The Throne much either. I'm not really sure what it is about this song but it reminds me of Daydreaming off Blue Lines although it sounds nothing like it. It's an interesting hypothesis but I think Maxinquaye would have smacked me over the head no matter when I heard it - such a great record.