Friday, June 3, 2016

Song of the Day #312 - Kanye West - Champions (ft. Quavo, Travis Scott, Desiigner, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Gucci Mane)

I'm about to go Gucci in the Gucci Store!

Yesterday I said I was ready to care about stupid shit again and nothing made that more evident than listening to this song this morning and feeling so excited I knew in my heart I must be dumb. A good feeling. I heard about and tuned into the radio stream a mere two or three minutes before he played it, a sense of synchronicity that tangentially cuts the dreadful orb of injustice in the pit of my stomach, even if just an atom deep. It is more than enough.

Cruel Winter is coming! After four years, it's finally coming! Kanye says he only needs to mix it a few more times but uhh we'll see. At the very least, we have *this*, the officially untitled lead single with a feature list like someone's delusions, a beat that's cold and clean and hot and dirty, and more hooks than... some pirate joke, I don't know. Everyone's on point - not so much A-game, which implies some sort of universal objective standards, but their game, the ultimate form of that.

Quavo says "camera" like Jenna Maroney and "chandelier" such that it rhymes with that. Travis cements his status as one of the true hook masters of modern hip hop, especially ones themed around saying a large number. Big Sean is still Big Sean, hitting that sweet spot of endearingly corny while still a little impressive that defined his career way back on Cruel Summer. 2 Chainz drops a "yeaaaaaaahhh" ad-lib halfway through the hook and justifies it with stuff like "I wear pajamas to Ruth's Chris", "I put the real in gorilla", and the insta-classic "My new bitch gonna pull me a new bitch, then pull me a new bitch, see that's a snowball effect". Gotti's "More shit than a Pamper" is pretty questionable but he goes hard on stuff like the double-dirty "Let's fuck up the neighbourhood", and I'm enamored even by "I just got head in a Phantom", cause it's close enough to Thugger's immortal "I fucked her then wiped off my dick with the curtains inside of the Phantom". Desiigner makes "Panda" noises and if that's all he does for the rest of his career it'll be good enough.

The two big winners are Kanye and Gucci, though. "I'm about to hit the Ye button" could be the defining Kanye meme of the summer. "Fresh out this debt in this motherfucker" should be the death knell of one of the most poorly understood and misused Kanye memes, but who knows how the unbased internet will deal with it. And man okay when I first heard this, and I heard the "I'm about to Gucci in the Gucci Store", I had this amazing feeling where it took me like an instant to realize what the line meant, a complete "step", and I was able to begin thinking something like "aw, that's nice and topical, given that Gucci just got out", but then I was listening to Gucci Mane himself. It was electrifying. This is fresh 2016 free Gucci Mane, tossing references back to Kanye's verse and saying he's "about to put his Yeezy's on", as good a tribute as you could ask for.

But even better than that is, after all these other guests, after we think we've reached as far as we can, Gucci returns, with a huge proper verse... this is a trick Kanye's mastered as early as the double Jay on "Never Let Me Down", but he unleashes its power only rarely. Partially because few verses truly deserve that degree of hype... and this is one of them. Hype. Yes. That is a good, sustaining, emotion.

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