More Jay-Z remixes

I like DJ Cheap Cologne’s Double Black Album (Jay-Z’s Black Album mixed with Metallica’s Black Album) a lot better than DJ DangerMouse’s Grey Album (Jay-Z’s Black Album mixed with the Beatles’ White Album). (Instructions on how to get both albums can be found on the Banned Music website. Basically you have to download the files with BitTorrent).
As I noted here before, the Grey Album doesn’t really work: the Beatles samples don’t fit well with Jay-Z’s vocals, but neither does the contrast between them make for an interesting enough tension.
Cheap Cologne’s mix, on the other hand, is a match made in heaven. It’s as musically convincing to me as Jay-Z’s original album was. The loss of funkiness in the beat is compensated for by the way that Metallica’s power chords meld almost seamlessly with Jay-Z’s rapping: the same kind of (over)emphatic (macho?) insistence is pounded into your head by both artists. In conventional gender terms, you might say that not only do Jay-Z and Metallica both exclude even the slightest trace of the feminine, they both do so in pretty much the same way, by creating a kind of totalized, hermetically sealed musical space in which no alternatives seem possible, no flexibility is permissible, your only option (unless you turn off the music altogether) is to submit utterly.
Which is finally my problem with both Jay-Z and Metallica: they are both very, very good at what they do, but I don’t particularly cherish what it is that they do.
Still more Jay-Z remixes are available via the Jay-Z Construction Set. I haven’t had the time (or energy) to assimilate them all — much as I like the project of remixing Jay-Z in all sorts of ways conceptually, there are still lots of other things that I’d rather listen to — but MC ScottD’s Hot Buttered Soul Remixes and Kev Brown’s Brown Album both sound pretty interesting.

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