Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Listening to Mystikal's Tarantula again today - what an amazing album! Maybe in the future albums like Tarantula and Trina's Diamond Princess will come to represent a lost moment between the two waves of southern rap attack, when the scene's big stars were no longer certain of what they should sound like and so tried to sound like anything and everything. But while Trina's album is a riot of costume-changes (bhangra! sped-up soul samples! etc.) Mystikal managed to concoct the perfect blend of grunting crunk and sparkling pop-rap; even the track produced by Juvenile is disarmingly fragile, all effervescent synth flutters and agile syncopated beats.

Perhaps it's his commanding presence as bandleader that makes the distance from Neptunes organo-funk to mechanical bounce seem so neglible. What's always heartening though is how the harder gangsta tracks ("Big Truck Driver", "Pussy Crook") are just as captivating and distinct as his Neptunes-assisted James Brown impersonations (although perhaps the better way of putting it is that Mystikal doesn't need the Neptunes to do James Brown, and he brings that hilarious energy to even his most misanthropic, self-consciously baller moments).

As always though, I find myself returning to "Oooh Yeah", a gloriously slinky bluesy sexfest that, if it were ever so slightly faster and harder, would be the dancing song ever. How can you possibly argue with a chorus of "Oo-oo-ooh yeah! Oo-oo-ooh yeah! Clap clappa that clappa that ass clap clappa that clappa that ass that ass! Wop-wobble that wobble that ass wop-wobble that wobble that ass that ass! Oh-oh-oh-ohh yeah, oh-oh-oh ohh yeah!"

If only Ludacris's Chicken & Beer had the same sustained intensity! Or, alternatively: if only Ludacris could pull off his ill-advised soft-soul detours with the same untouchable confidence with which Mystikal tackles James Brown funk. The Ludacris/Mystikal comparison returns to me frequently because the two guys are the great showmen of rap, whose every line drips personality and charisma without any requirement of Andre 3000-style pantomime.

Ludacris's peaks are higher and more thrilling than Mystikal's, I think, but he's yet to make an album as consistently engaging as Tarantula. Chicken & Beer comes as close as his previous albums, but it's frustrating to see that he hasn't managed to dislodge that bar: for every "Stand Up" or "Blow It Out Ya Ass" there's a "Diamond in the Back" (a rather bland Banner-ised country-hop number based around "Be Thankful For What You've Got). Mystikal does well precisely because he can't or won't play around with his gruff but lusty vocal formula; Ludacris by comparison is increasingly diverse but while this allows for variety (Chicken & Beer is if nothing else a saisfyingly wide-ranging album) it also spells unevenness.

But I've run out of time for this post so maybe I'll talk about Ludacris later!


Post a Comment


everything here is by tim finney



mail me... here



Jamesy P

Patrick Cowley

It's About (Lopazz & Casio Casino's Maxi Mix)

Glass Candy
Sugar & Whitebread

Beats International
Dub Be Good To Me (Smith & Mighty Remix)

Depeche Mode
A Pain That I'm Used To (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)

Girls Aloud
Wild Horses


Bobby Valentino
Gimmie A Chance

Freeform Five
No More Conversation (Richard X Remix)


House Is A Feeling


A Wild Young Under Whimsy

And So This Is Christmas

Anthony Is Right




Bowling Ball

Breaking Ranks

Chantelle Fiddy's World of Grime

The Church Of Me

Cis Don't Like It Easy

Clap Clap Blog

Country Glamour

Cucina Povera

DJ Martian

Doubt Beat

Everything's Usable



Freaky Trigger

Freelance Mentalists

Freezing to Death in the Nuclear Bunker

Gel & Weave




The House at World's End


I'm So Sinsurr


Josh Blog


">Lex Scripta

Home of Matos

Must Try Harder

New York London Paris Munich

Orbis Quintus

The Original Soundtrack

Pearls that are his Eyes

Pearsall's Tunes

Philip Sherburne

Pop Life




Quicksilver Shapeshifter

Radio Free Narnia

Sasha Frere-Jones

Shards, Fragments & Totems

Silver Dollar Circle





Spliiiish (Atommick Brane)



Vain Selfish and Lazy

Why I Stopped Smoking


Words, Words (??????): A Catalogue of Errors

Worlds of Possibility



February 2004

January 2004

December 2003

November 2003

October 2003

September 2003

August 2003

July 2003

June 2003

May 2003

April 2003

March 2003

February 2003

January 2003

December 2002

November 2002

October 2002

September 2002

August 2002

July 2002

June 2002

May 2002

April 2002

March 2002

February 2002

January 2002

December 2001

November 2001

October 2001

September 2001

August 2001

July 2001

June 2001

May 2001

April 2001

March 2001

February 2001

January 2001

July 2000

June 2000

May 2000



Daft Punk


Ian Pooley


Artful Dodger

The Loft