Is “Numbers On The Boards” an ode to Jay-Z or a slight shot at Hova’s relinquished hustler persona? Are Kanye and Don Cannon channeling Hell Hath No Fury-era Neptunes? How much of a roll did Hudson Mohawke have in he production process? We’ll probably never get the answer to these questions, but one thing we do know is that Pusha T is back in all of his snarling glory. We’ve all known that Pusha sounds best icy, minimalist beats and it appears that he’s finally gotten back that made us fall in love with the Virginia Beach brothers back in the day. “Numbers On The Boards”
A few months ago, I wrote a little retrospective on British produces remixing (mostly) Southern hip hop and it looks like I might need to write an addendum soon. Glasgow native S-Type let loose the brilliantly bombastic Billboard EP earlier this week on LuckyMe and he’s already back for more, remixing Pusha T’s “What Dreams Are Made Of”. Like Billboard, this remix is all huge synths and cracking 808s, only furthering S-Type’s position as the don of triumphant, walking out of a burning building, “Down goes Frazier” beats. The track was supposed to be on a joint Decon/LuckyMe venture that would have matched Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, Lunice and more remixing various Pusha T songs, but the project never materialized. Stream and download below.
Powder face like a Geisha
First off, let’s throw on a veil of selective amnesia. Big Sean never outshone Pusha T on “Mercy”. That whole Pusha/Weezy “beef” never happened. Actually, let’s just forget everything post-2010 VMAs. Let’s take it back to the days when the Virginia Coke brothers were at their most ruthless and The Neptunes were basically infallible. You’re there? Take a second, take it in. Alright, so Pusha T just released a new song with autotune automaton Future on the hook and Yeezy behind the boards. Anyone hoping for a Lord Willin’ redux will be disappointed here, as Pusha is a different animal without twin brother Malice, but “Pain” has as much machinegun wordplay as any Pusha verse of yore. If you’re a The Wire nerd like I am, “Pain” is pure ear candy (could have been Travon/but instead I chose Avon). Stream the track below and use your own facilities to grab a download. Yeeuchhhhh.
Mr. West recently set the interweb ablaze by releasing a video for his Kanye & Friends banger (well, banger except for ‘Ye’s verse, even that’s aight-ish) “Mercy”.
Ostensibly, this deserves coverage on The Astral Plane because “Hudson Mowhawke played some instruments” in the production process of “Mercy”. But I like it for more than the involvement of my second favorite preteen lookin’ ass producer from Glasgow. DJ Nobody, or another slightly less flossy resident, has played this every week at Low End Theory since it’s release and fuck, people still get TURN’T to this song. I think this song is pushing things forward. It clearly falls into the trap aesthetic, it’s dark and looming, hangs out in a menacing minor key, and bangs along at a nice leisurely tempo. BUT THERE AREN’T ANY MACHINE GUN HIHATS. Can you even do that? Is that allowed? Of course. Things like Kanye’s dancehall sample, Big Sean talking about his favorite body part, and 2chainz being a boss carry the song rather than the elements of trap production that have been driving people bananas lately. I like that. I don’t want dark slow rap beats to turn into the “pissing contest” that dubstep has today. Obviously, who can make the craziest, waviest beat will be a lot better pissing contest than dubstep’s quest for filth and middle school fans, but I would hate to see American bass music get stuck in another rut. Luckily, the GOOD crew has placed a commercially successful beacon out there for producers to look at and say, hmmmmm, maybe more with less is the way to fuck the club up.