The Songs We Can't Escape
"Brother Sport (Live)"
This shimmering, shrieking orgasmatron of a blisstide—ostensibly, I guess, about encouraging one's brother to pursue the sporting life with indefatigable vigor but really just about melting my face over and over again—wholly embodies the euphoria surrounding Obama's possible candidacy. Oughta be an easy lay-up. Swoosh?
On this track from his new The Block Obama mixtape, this Long Beach MC refers to the street hustler's consummate cool—an alleged negative of Obama's that his detractors like to harp on. They're projecting, of course, mistaking a calm confidence that's reassuringly presidential for above-it-all intellectual indifference. That sort of tarring scans better with the masses than racial epithets, but God willing, it won't get John McCain elected.
DJ GREEN LANTERN feat. DAVID BANNER, BUSTA RHYMES, AND TALIB KWELI
They appropriate an Obama sample that ends in a "Yes we can" echo, then (rightly?) celebrate the likelihood that he'll be cooling his heels in the Oval Office in a few months. Banner: "We just wanna see the kids smile and see a black president walk down the damn aisle of the White House." Busta: "Every single time he lock another town/Victorious with the vote, he give his wife a pound." Talib hails O as being like "the first black explorer," but also, as befits his relative worldliness, gives Green Party hopeful Cynthia McKinney a shout-out. Classy!
"I'm Having a Relapse"
Almost exactly four years ago, Shady dropped eff-Bush Anthrax envelope "Mosh" in a failed effort to make John Kerry our commander-in-chief. This time around—in advance of a new album that doesn't have a solid release date yet—he doesn't even waste his breath on politics, instead poking typically goth fun at his own addictions over the last few years. Not a bad idea, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
KIERAN HEBDEN AND STEVE REID
This phenomenal pair works from a sopping wet, improv-funk template here, thickening Reid's tittering stick work and Hebden's magic box of electronic samples into a savory roux. Their thrumming mind-meld throbs, expanding in size and volume, taxing along some conceptual airport runway—a sonic representation of a revolutionary movement incrementally taking flight, headed for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
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