Via BoingBoing comes a link to the “Grey Album“, a remix of Jay-Z’s Black Album with the Beatles’ White Album. I downloaded the album and am listening to it now. I’m emphatically not a fan of gangsta rap – by and large I hate it and the emphasis on thuggery and misogyny. Worse, I hate the effect it has on black kids, making them act like stereotypes out of the Grand Dragon’s wet dreams. The first time I saw an able bodied kid with a cane effecting a fake limp to be more “street” I shed a tear.
This is a very interesting album. I’m listening to it now. Since I don’t listen to Jay-Z, I have no idea what any of the originals sound like. The Beatles samples do impart a different gravity to the songs than I would have expected. The one that knocks me out is “Allure”, a fairly thoughtful examination of the self-destruction of the hustler lifestyle and the problems with straightening out. I’ve listened to that one over and over, and for the life of me I can’t place the sample that makes up the core of the instrumental backing. I still find some of the lyrics troublesome but I’m particularly interested in the songs where the music either undermines or lends some ambiguity to the message of the words. It is definitely worth a listen.