Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Hypnotize" (1997)

82. Notorious B.I.G., "Hypnotize" (April 26, 1997, #1, 3 wks.)

In which I acknowledge a by now likely all too obvious lack of grasp of so many things hip hop—it isn't that I don't like much of what I hear of it, but that I do so, when I do so, from a maddening remove, through a glass darkly like, that makes me feel I am probably not actually entirely getting it. It's as if I could be the butt of the joke at any moment. But something about this—and disregarding the proximity of Biggie's death, which had little direct effect on me, I was late to hearing about that too—charmed me immediately and forever. The churning, stumbling well of ponderous rap that issues from the nether regions of a man obviously very large (you can hear that in the way he breathes even, barely wheezing the words at times), contrasted with the perfectly rendered tone of smitten adoration of the chick singers, is just a pure delight. He: "Girls walk to us, wanna do us, screw us / Who us? Yeah Poppa and Puff / Close like Starsky and Hutch, stick the clutch / Dare I squeeze three at your cherry M-3 / Bang every MC easily, busily." And they: "Biggie Biggie Biggie, can't you see, sometimes your words just hypnotize me." And he: "Uh uh huh, uh huh." It has always struck me as almost perfectly slyly hilarious. Biggie has even got his own sidekick sycophant yes-man to accompany him, darting in and out of the rap, which is nearly as rich. Finally there's the Herb Alpert sample ("Rise"), as inspired as everything else going on in this glorious brew. It's just terrific.

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