Tuesday, January 24, 2006

For the Keeeds

Ebony and Chai Tea

Trina f/ Lil' Wayne - "Don't Trip" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Yummy Bingham f/ Jadakiss - "Come Get It" (mp3)
(purchase here)

When I was about 20, I briefly T.A.'d at a junior high school in Berkeley, CA. Being in the throes of college righteousness, working with teenage musical sensibilities was refreshing, to say the least. For example, one of my students had an immense thing for Lil' Wayne. She didn't really take interest in classwork, certainly had her share of personal issues to work through, but would become as light as a feather at the mere mention of Weezy's name. "Lil' Wayne," her normally booming voice dropping to a breathless whisper, "I love Lil' Wayne..." intoning her devotion with a slight southern lilt. Really, it was a wonder to watch a child hardened after only 11 or 12 years of life melt for a minute to talk about how she would one day marry a 16-year old heroin-abusing rapper. She felt a bond and reached for it. Needing a common point of interest, I did my homework and, long short, ended up trading anecdotes with her on the wisdom of Weezy F.

I bring up this student mostly because I admired her sensitivity to coupling. For a kid to take interest in an Elvis or U2 is easy; they're so dolled up, after all. But for a kid to take interest in a Jerry Lee Lewis or a Hot Boy, well, that is what they call 'living on the fringe.'

An editor reminded me the other day of the popularity of thug rapper-femme songbird pairings. Kinda like a fruit-infusion twist on a lemon-lime classic, the combo varies little from the legacy of the ebony-ivory type (mis)match. "Look! We can cross lines! Anything can happen." Yet, most of these pairings were hardly revelatory, let alone all that believable. Ja and (fill in the blank), I'm lookin' at youse.

Neither of today's selections are all that new, but rather refreshing in the glut of flotsam floating about the radio. The Baddest Bitch makes the comparison with Gladys Knight and the Pips, but "Don't Trip"'s feature is squarely on her main dip and her. The aging prude in me makes me a little squeamish hearing Mr. (other) Carter intone, "And on the hush hush / We need some quiet time," but, hey, the kids are in love, so let the freaks have their way atop Mannie Fresh's heat.

On the other hand, 19 y.o. Bingham hopefully isn't getting anything else besides her beat turned out (yes, I know I am sounding like a 40 y.o. father; mind you, I still work on occasion with kids -- yes, kids -- this age) on "Come Get It." An apparent Just Blaze prodo, she sagely informs us of the story behind Jada's collabo: "He's featured on it," she said, "because every street record has to have a rapper on it." Hey, her words. In any case, this Queens native, De la favorite and muzack biz royalty (her father is Dinky Bingham, Jr., producer of New Edition, Kylie Minogue, Guy and others) with the high whine actually feels out a great counterpoint to 'Kiss' gutteral throat.

Admittedly, neither cut is burning up the charts at this point. But to hear 'em floating around gives a bit of hope: the kids are all right... you just gotta trust 'em sometimes...


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