Thursday, October 1, 2015

Song of the Day #211 - Young Thug - No Way

And I get mostly green like a salad

I was helping my dad at our church today and I saw a piano and as I uselessly tried to recreate little melodies that I could hear so clearly in my head and sing along to very precisely I once again mentally kicked my past self for not having learned piano, and felt the kick of my future self for the same reason, but he was also getting kicked by his future self, and then you feel a little OK.

It might feel a little unfair that there are people out there who can listen to this beat once and then sit down at a piano and recreate it but there might not be many who have the inclination to, based on some disappointing preliminary searching on Youtube. Thus we must conclude that, in becoming so skilled at piano, they sacrificed some ability to enjoy Young Thug. Things are fair.

It might feel a little unfair that Young Thug is able to listen to a beat like this and instantly see the possibility of that hook, that initially counter-intuitive idea to both stretch out and stutter a "no way", probably coming up with every lyric of the song in less time than I've spent listening to it. No, I'm almost sure of that, because I am stupidly addicted to this song. It seems like every line about pussy or money. In fact, I figured it out: of the 44 unique lines in this song, 20 have to do explicitly with those subjects. This is maybe the sort of thing an ignorant hater might use to disparage Young Thug, but this is how it actually works: this song really isn't about anything; making it have some sort of central theme or message or something would actually detract from it, it would shift focus away from the visceral experience of the flow over the beat; but Thug can't rap about nothing, so he sticks with these subjects, where you can just sorta say whatever you want without it actually meaning much.

The really impressive thing is that for six years he's being doing this and he still manages to say some pretty surprising things that still just mean "I'm rich" or "I have sex". Like he comes up with these intricate flows, each one unique and beautiful and snowflakeily delicate, and he can just instantly think of a million new lines like this that fit over it. Pitchfork had a good article about his work process that basically confirmed what I had already assumed... Like really think about it, think about how this song came about, from London on da Track laying down that simple piano riff, to Thugger feeling out all the intricacies of the hook, the flow of the verses, the timing of everything, how it all added up to this, each element never explicitly leading to the next, jumps of insight all over the place, it's really beautiful, almost unfairly so.

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