DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.
Eminem – “Guts Over Fear” feat. Sia
syvo: Hmm. Not sure I’m a fan. I was thrilled to see these two forming a kind of bleached-blonde duo, but disappointed with the sappy, self-serious delivery, mostly on Eminem’s account. I’m publicly on-record as being a huge fan of Recovery, but my respect and enthusiasm for Slim has been waning since MM2. This track hasn’t done anything to reverse that course.
BK: Well I’m feeling it!
Yes, I am an Eminem apologist and will be forever. And yes, I still hated Encore (his worst effort by far – one of the worst albums I’ve ever owned in fact) and hated Relapse as well. Recovery was a pleasant surprise, but I’ve always been hoping he would regain the stature and quality he had on The Marshall Mathers LP. As one of the best rap albums of my lifetime, there’s a good chance he’ll never get back to that level.
I still respect the effort with every album he puts out. A lot of artist go through the motions, and I never get the feeling Eminem is giving less than his best (except during the period he was too drugged-up to do much of anything). Sia is a welcome addition to the song, and I’ll be pumped whenver his next album drops.
Grimes – “Go” ft. Blood Diamonds
syvo: I still consider myself on the fence about this song; it’s good in the abstract, but I miss techno-pixie Grimes. Nonetheless, I dig this video a lot. We have Ms. Grimes being carried around by strange looking bros and dancing under neon lights in front of a fish-eye lens. She almost has a spark of Madonna in here.
BK: This song seems vaguely familiar. Hmm….
Regardless, you’re spot on about the Madonna influences. I also sense a little bit of Puffy and Mase with that fish-eye lens (I was waiting for the blow-up onesies.) The video is fairly run-of-the-mill, and I think that does this creative track a disservice. She is capable of better visuals, and I hope her next single features a video that is more reflective of the song.
It’s still a Dope track though.
Zola Jesus – “Dangerous Days” Video
syvo: OK, I think I worship this video too much. Zola Jesus’s latest video puts viewers in touch with our deepest pagan impulses, expressing a distinctly Wiccan worship of nature that is sure to define her upcoming album, Taiga. Nikka looks as gorgeous as ever, sporting a fuzzy cape and gracefully goth makeup as she worships Mother Earth. Can’t wait for this album!
BK: You definitely worship this video, and I LOVE that about you.
This is another example of an excellent song outshining a slightly simplistic and slightly boring video. The locations are beautiful and the animal furs are cool enough, but I think the song works better on its own, bumped as loud as possible with the bass up. Your enthusiasm might just change my mind though.
Run the Jewels – Blockbuster Night Part 1
BK: Run the Jewels has been one of the best rap acts out for the last few years, and this is a spectacular entry into their ever-expanding canon. It reminds me of vintage Redman and Method Man (or old Wu-Tang records) with the flawless back-and-forth wordplay.
And the BEAT. Holy shit. It’s phenomenal. At only 2.5 minutes long you’ll need to listen to this one on repeat. I will be.
syvo: Wow, this is a great track. I’m a fairly huge El-P/Company Flow fan that lost touch with anything after Fantastic Damage, so it’s great to see him making great music again. King, you’re right: this warrants a few repeats.
Say Lou Lou – “Instant Crush” (Daft Punk Cover)
BK: At this point, I’m starting to feel like the Say Lou Lou fan club because we’ve featured so many of their tracks, and if you hate this band then I am very sorry.
However, this track is an excellent cover of an excellent Daft Punk song. I didn’t get into Daft Punk until a couple years ago (I was extremely late on that one, I know) and I was fortunate enough to still be awed by the release of Random Access Memories. Say Lou Lou does this track justice and then some. It’s a great Friday jam too.
syvo: Correction: if you hate Say Lou Lou, please kindly close this window and get a clue. These girls rule and the music they make is perfect. I normally wouldn’t be down with a Daft Punk cover, because like, wtf is the point of that, but this is actually great! Easily a million times better than the crappy original version. Then again, filtering just about any song through the filter of Scandinavian dream pop is sure to be a success.
DOPE Digest Throwback – Ma$e – Feel So Good
BK: Is this the worst quality audio and video ever featured on this site? Quite possibly. But for a song as amazing as Ma$e’s 1997 classic ‘Feel So Good,’ I just don’t care. There is a better quality version here for all you audiophiles, but if you’re like me you’ll miss the shiny suits, the classic 90’s rap-video fireballs, and the Puff Daddy. Oh so much Puffy (Uh-huh… Come on.)
This is one of the songs that cemented me as a life-long fan of hip-hop. It’s ridiculously catchy and came at a time when Bad Boy Records was as big as there was in music, rap or otherwise.
And best of all, it still holds up! Hell, I might like it even more now. syvo, lets grab our bedazzled blazers and hit the strip. Papa needs a new pair of shoes!