Mixtape 476: Nicki Minaj – Super Bass

Alright, so I’ve got a new idea, a new format, I guess. Instead of saying “this song is awesome” or “this is the song of the summer” forty two times this summer, I’m just going to make a mixtape (so to speak, this is the internet after all), and then “release” it as a zip file when it’s done. So this way, you can grab the songs you want, or grab the whole thing once it’s all done and assembled into a nice little package.

ANYWAY, back to business…

Nicki Minaj – Super Bass

Nicki Minaj. I know what you’re thinking: “but Craig, why would you like Nicki Minaj? You’re a male, you’re usually snarky towards the mainstream, you don’t like popular music (usually), you’ve never liked a female rapper before, why would you start now?” and so forth.

To that I say, how the fuck do you know so much about me? I’ve written, like, 3 posts, I don’t have that much personal info, and, ostensibly, we don’t know each other.

Beyond that, however, you’re right. I usually don’t like the most popular songs, I’m usually snarky and bitter towards the mainstream (is it because I’m jealous that they have gallons, literally gallons of success, while I blog for free on the internet? …maybe), and I usually don’t enjoy female rappers.

BUT, holy shit, this time it’s different. I’ve changed, I swear. That first time I heard Nicki Minaj’s verse on Kanye West’s Monster, I pricked up my ears. This chick had talent. Sorry, she had talent. She rapped with a sort of ferocity that is missing in music today. She has an anger in her rapping, but marries it with an ability to turn a phrase with the best of them, and a pop sensibility that I can get behind.

Speaking of pop sensibility, that floaty background, accented with the attack of the kick drum, the processed guitars, the synths, it all gives the song a light summer sound without feeling frivolous. It all contrasts so well with the drive and, again, ferocity Minaj brings to every verse, easing into a pop chorus. It’s never too much of a good thing, and leaves you wanting more.

Even when the chorus is little more than replicating the sound of bass coming from a car stereo (the “super” bass, I suppose), it retains something that pulls you in. Even when the track falters at the bridge, the chorus steps forth again, reminding you why you were enjoying the song so much in the first place.

Then, the song just sort of…ends. And you restart it, because holy shit, those verses, man.

So, song two of the summer mixtape for 2011, the:

Mixtape 476 – 2011

…is Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass.

1. The Dean’s List – Dear Professor

2. Nicki Minaj – Super Bass

Get your camera, baby

The Dean’s List – Dear Professor

The Dean’s List – Burn it All

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to proclaim a “song of the summer” early on, then to revise this prediction at least three to four times before I go back to school the next year. Last year ended with Cee-Lo Green’s Fuck You, which ended up being a pretty damn good pick, but started with something that even I’ve forgotten about by now, so who knows.

Regardless, I’ll throw my preliminary hat in the ring with The Dean’s List, and their song Dear Professor, off the genuinely enjoyable mixtape “The Drive In”

The song samples If I Die Young by The Band Perry, which is a perfectly…tolerable song in its own right…but tweaks it in such a way to create a bed on which they can actually craft a pop song.

ANYWAY, The Dean’s List manages to find something new in the chorus, turning a sombre song about dying young (obviously) into a joyful refrain for college life, parties, and generally enjoying the frivolity of youth. What better song for the summer?

The production is flawless, the flow is supreme, and the sound is fresh. Song of the summer (for now): The Dean’s List – Dear Professor

The Dean’s list is made up of Sonny Shotz, DJ Mendoza and Mik Beats, whose differing approaches to music create a fresh approach to the rap game, with a solid pop sensibility and a surplus of talent.

Also included is Burn it All, another standout from the Mixtape. I honestly would not be surprised to see these guys tear up the charts in time. Or, failing that, at least get the cred and recognition Wale and KiD CuDi are getting right about now.

www.itsthedeanslist.com

Until next time, houseguests, it’s been a pleasure.