The Grey Album
The Intronet; 2004
I can't really say that I'm all that familiar with this Danger Mouse kid. A few months ago, when I went home for winter break, I was going to pick up that album he did with Jemini, but I couldn't really afford it. That shit was like $23! Either it was an import or those crackas at Vintage Vinyl were trying to rip me off.
But after listening to this shit, I'll definitely at least download the rest of his shit or order it from some place with decent prices. Unless you've been living in a cave the last coupla weeks, I'm sure you've heard of this shit. It's been all on MTV and in the pages of Rolling Stone. Hell, it's even got its own day coming up.
The thing about it is, any dumb ass could've come up with the idea of combining Jay-Z's Black Album with the Beatles' White Album and calling it The Grey Album. Hell, even I pioneered the idea of doing the same thing with Weezer's Blue Album and most people don't consider me a genius.
But this Danger Mouse kid, he actually came up with some shit that's way better than the Black Album. Obviously it's not better than the White Album, but come on... And really, who was still listening to the Black Album at this point anyway? I heard that shit only went gold.
For starters, this shit is just plain interesting to listen to. It's the Black Album meets the White Album, so it's already got a certain coolness to it, but if that's all it had, you'd only listen to it once or twice and then toss it aside. You know, like all of the other Jay-Z albums.
It's what DM does with these beats that just boggles the mind. I mean, sometimes he manages to find shit to sample on the Beatles' album that's relatively obscure, but sometimes he justs does a straight 8-bar loop of "While My Gently Weeps" like Eminem was gonna use on "Hailie's Song" until George Harrison's corpse found out.
But when you hear the way that shit syncs up with the drums, which syncs up with Jay's voice the way they do, man, that's a work of fucking genius. Hip hop genius at least, don't get me wrong here... You don't even really get that shit you get where, on a mash-up, the vocal just doesn't fit quite right with the beat. This shit is rather fluid.
On an entirely unrelated note: A coupla years ago, I had this mash-up with this one Destiny's Child song (I think it was "Independent Women") over that 10cc "I don't like reggae, I love it!" song. That was my shit and I didn't even particularly care for either of those songs. I didn't like that mash-up, I loved it!
Easily, the freakiest shit on the whole album is hearing Jay do "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" over fucking "Julia" of all things. Hearing it for the first time was one of those "shit your pants" moments that's so rare in hip hop nowadays. It's basically just a brief snippet of Lennon's voice and guitar over some hard drums all syncopated Timbaland-style. But it's so awesome.
Like I said, shit like "What More Can I Say" over "WMGGW" and "99 Problems" over, you guessed it, "Helter Skelter" seem a little bit obvious, but the genius is in the execution. I could've come up with the idea, but nobody could've made that shit work like Danger Mouse did.