Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mink Made Of Coyote

Okay, pretend you're a sexy young model... a slender beauty with candy-colored hair and the world at your fingertips. I know, you were pretending that already, right? Great, no judgement here. So we're on the same page: you're this model, you're popular, getting into all these industry parties, and you meet pretty much the most popular rapper in the world. Of course he likes you, it's a whirlwind romance, and he hooks you up with your own musical career as a glamorous rapper on a major record label with the biggest producers.

Life is breezy until now people start to judge you. Now that you're in the international limelight, you're being judged by more than just the industry insiders you charmed in their penthouse gatherings. Are you really musically talented? Did you earn your position? Maybe after Faith Evans and Lil Kim you're the third girlfriend this guy has propped up and it's getting more and more transparent, and it's looking pretty bad for you. The pressure's on, everybody's looking, you're sweating under the spotlight. Your long-advertised album got stuck in the system... hyped up promo copies were spread all over and then it was never released.

Epic Records dropped you, but you've got to keep your name out there until your big name friends can get you safely secured at a new label to begin your second "debut album." You've got to regain that buzz, recapture the fans, prove that you're not some fake sell-out, you're more than tabloid gossip fodder, you're an artist, damn it. You're a true talent, you're smart, you're dynamic; the world needs what you've got. So what do you do?

You remake "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice.   lulz

Yeah, apparently if you're Charli Baltimore - or one of the "brains" managing her career - you think the ideal comeback single for your troubled ingenue is the most infamous crossover pop song by the genre's least respected one-hit wonder of all time. Whaaaa?

Why? What is the thinking here? Was everybody in her camp so out of touch that they just thought: she's great, "Ice, Ice Baby" was great - perfect match! Or maybe it was somebody's idea to "own" the hate and criticism she was getting? Like, this would turn the tables on all her haters. Maybe it was meant to show that the world's most hated MC and the world's most hated track had would show us all by setting the streets on fire with this amazing new version. Maybe it was meant to be ironic. Who knows?

What I do know is that the second album wound up getting shelved, too; and Def Jam dropped her just like Epic. This single, simply titled "Ice," never even made it to the consumers, only pressed as a promotional white label advance for radio and mix-tape DJs. The world's most obviously, singularly bad idea somehow didn't seem to work out for them.

But, fuck it, it's a fun record. The record goes back to the original Queen sample and uses more of the original record. This has a dual effect. On the one hand, it makes raw and tough than the original "Ice, Ice Baby," which winds up with a more pure hip-hop feel (ouch!). But, on the other hand, it feels lusher, smoother. It's more "musical" simply by virtue of having more of Queen's instrumentation in it, and that winds up giving it a more feminine feel.

Because it came out years later, Charli gets the benefit of being able to come with a more relaxed, naturalistic flow. I mean, hell, I love the hyper, bombastic flows of the 80s and early 90s; but Charli comes off more mature and in control with her fully modern (for the time) style. Then you can double that because she's got Mase guesting on here. Conceptually, her rhymes are the most cliche, "everything everybody criticizes about the Puffy era of rap" stuff... loosely strung together non-sequiturs, bragging about being a "bad bitch," with impossible riches and silly claims of violence ("I even put nines in niggas' scrotums"). But hell, there's a reason so many people wrote that stuff - because it's fun and catchy, and it all works great with Charli and Mase back-and-forthing it over one of best suited for hip-hop basslines ever.

It's not a great song you can take seriously and honor alongside Melle Mel's "Message." It's the kind of record you put on when the argument gets too heated. She talks about her guest, "all I wanna do is get his cake and sit on his face." Face rhymes with Mase!

There's nothing on here but the one Main mix on both sides. What more would you want anyway? In 2011-2012, Charli mounted a big comeback, where she recorded a third, unreleased album. The bigcartel is still up here; but I wouldn't recommend throwing any money into it, since it still has a "September 25, 2012" pre-order date. But you really only need one Charli Baltimore chumpie in your collection, and this here is it. Everything else in her catalog is either leading up to or leading away from this record. "Ice."

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