“Better slip you an Ambien”

It seems like I’ve been hearing about Mr. Jay-Z a lot over the past several months — perhaps because he recently published his autobiography, Decoded,  and he’s been doing the circuit of talk shows to promote it. I heard a pretty good interview with him on Fresh Air late last year, and saw him in an rather awkward interview on Letterman some time ago. I haven’t read his book, but I admit it sounds interesting. It’s on my list of “music books” to read someday, right behind Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life, a good Lou Reed biography (any recs?), and Dylan’s Chronicles, Vol. II when it comes out. His compelling life story aside, what’s really standing out in my head these days about Jay-Z is a performance of “Empire State of Mind” he did on Saturday Night Live last year. Did you happen to catch it? It was one of those of too-few-and-far-between SNL music performances that left me thoroughly satisfied. Powerful. Good energy. I can’t find that clip on the net, but I did find this footage of the song on You Tube, and it’s just about as good. I think it’s rare to hear rappers and hip hop artists sound as good live as Jay-Z does. It’s a fine song, too.

Well, after publishing the Jay-Z entry I felt I ought to add another word and a clip from some hip hop all stars, taking me for a long ride in the Way Back Machine, who after all these years can still drop rhymes like nobody’s business. One of the commentators to this next video wrote: “Beastie + the Roots = Premature Ejac.” While I don’t agree with the results of this equation (and I’ve never seen the abbreviated “ejac” before!), I do agree that the Roots sound mighty awesome backing the Beasties.

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5 thoughts on ““Better slip you an Ambien”

  1. wildbillyscircusstory

    I agree this song really sticks in your head and Alicia Keys has an amazing voice, though Mr. Z has some explaining to do to this Garden Stater for moving the Nets out of New Jersey to Brooklyn. I like this version a lot because you can really hear the DJ scratchin’ out the rythmn.

    We actually bought the Keith Richards book and Sam is reading it, though I’m not sure I will. As for Dylan bios, I thoroughly enjoyed Bob Spitz’s book; I consider it the finest on the subject that I’ve read. Never seen a Lou biography. Maybe we should write it! First line: And on the Seventh Day, God created Lou – and it was good.

    Reply
    1. peashoot Post author

      That’s actually not Alicia Keys in this video, but Bridget Kelly, whom I believe Mr. Z hires for most live performances (she was on the SNL performance). I rather like her better than Ms. Keys, who strikes me as way too over dramatic whenever I’ve seen footage of her performing. That just doesn’t fly with the smoothness of Mr. Z. While Ms. Keys sounds good, I’d rather see Ms. Kelly (who I think sounds good, too).

      Reply
    2. peashoot Post author

      We could write a pretty lengthy memoir with chapters (and sub-chapters) based on Lou Highness-based episodes in our lives. Name a tune, and I can think of a few stories in which the song played some sort of role — many of them evoke your old garden apartment on Columbia.

      Reply
    1. peashoot Post author

      Yeah, the Roots are pretty damn cool. And the BB are still super dork dope. They almost look silly, but they sound too good to brush them off as too old for this stuff.

      Reply

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