Friday, April 8, 2016

Song of the Day #296 - Kanye West and Jay Z - HAM

A million out the door, I'm about to go HAM

I could only find this live performance but it's pretty good. I'm sure everyone has this song already.

My dad bought a bunch of ham lately because it was on sale, and for a church dinner, and I think some other reason too, so I've been eating ham 2+ meals a day. It's one of those things that's really tasty and desirable all the way up until some tipping point and then it turns into this bizarre pink slab that looks nothing like food. I'm getting close. But I'll never get tired of saying ham, one of the most fun words ever. I think a lot about this video, and the shaky way he says "h-haam-buh". And I've been thinking a lot about the exact opposite of that, which is how they say "ham" in this song.

When this came out in early 2011, I was listening to Flockaveli pretty frequently (like maybe 20% of the time I wasn't listening to it inc. times I was asleep), and Lex Luger beats were the soundtrack of my heart. His story is almost stupidly inspirational... he didn't know anyone was listening to his stuff until he heard it on the radio, and didn't realize he was talking to Kanye on the phone until half an hour in. Suddenly he's producing for two of the world's biggest rappers. He went... ham.

I'm pretty sure we'd been saying "ham" for a few months at that point, I'm not sure where it came from. It was just yet another word we used while playing Smash, interchangeable with "cute", "beast", "swag", "nutty", etc, etc... they just sort of drift in and out of the vocabulary without any clear origin or termination. Usually, though, the feeling is that we're influenced by hip hop music, but I can remember thinking that this was somehow the other way around... And like, when Kanye says "Like Eli, I did it", that's a reference to this video, right? That was really memetic among my friends at the time, especially remixes like this, which almost made my April Fool's list...

I dunno, I can't really describe it, it just felt somehow like this song was being made for me. It isn't a feeling I get in hip hop often. And then at the end, when they supercharge those iconic Lex Luger drums with gigantic operatic voices, sort of confirming some canonical lineage, it was like... confirming that my individual tastes were in line with some greater achievement, some greater movement reaching a point of victory. I was 20 years old. Now I eat a lot of ham and think of it again.

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