20 May 2010

hiphop in the cold world

This isn't so much a post as a home for a comment that kept getting swallowed by the form over at Poetix, where Dominic posted Cannibal Ox's 'Iron Galaxy', noting the 'cold world' sample.

Imagining a hiphop appendix to Cold World, you would have to start with the GZA. And there are innumerable references to ice as diamonds in the millennial burst of bling. But those, like Raekwon's 'Glaciers of Ice' and 'Ice Water', have nothing to do with the cold world as Dom discusses it. MOP are getting there. The first Company Flow album is Can Ox's obvious precursor, both produced by El-P, both radiating toxic coldness, sensibilities profoundly disturbed, not just out of tune, but at war with, mainstream normativity. The first two Mobb Deep albums have a brutalized sociopathic chill to them. I can sort of imagine Ulrike Meinhof nodding her head to them, despite the get-money mindset. And more recently (ish), two Clipse tracks have especially cold veins. Ride Around Shining:

...there's a highly synaesthetic (to me) overlap between the coin-scraped-over-piano-innards sample, 'ice' in the lyrics and the affectless chill of the delivery. It's about a certain joy, a certain exultation in success, but it articulates that pleasure through a sonic lip-curl: no fanfares, no choruses, no excess, just that refrigerated skeletal production. And equally, Mr Me Too I think screams materialist anhedonia and disenchantment:

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