Thursday, February 3, 2011

The reason so many people loved Rick Ross's verse on "Devil in a New Dress"

Honestly, this is a simple answer, it's the production. But in my opinion, there's more.

First off, the Bink! produced track (Mike Dean is also listed as a co-producer) is definitely one of the top 3 songs on the album (I'd throw "Power" and "All of the Lights" or "Gorgerous" in there as well). Secondly, Bink! did an excellent job of taking the sample from Smokey Robinson's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and interspersing the low guitar chords in the beginning of the song and then bringing in the serious guitar chords later. Part of me wants to think that Kanye may have gotten the original beat from Bink! and then made some tweaks to it with Bink!. Nevertheless, I'm sure Kanye could hear this track being played in a stadium ("stadium status", anyone?) and with that heavy guitar in there for the second half of the song, it would definitely appeal to the pop/rock crowds. Like Dave Chappelle (not me!) once said, white people love some electric guitar.

Chappelles Show
Electric Guitar, Drums or Electric Piano Pt. 1
Buy Chappelle's Show DVDsBlack ComedyTrue Hollywood Story

"It speaks directly to the soul of the white person, they find it irresistible." LOL!

Back to the topic (no J. Cole)...

Let's take the beat as the foundation for the song and then consider how the beat and verses are arranged. First off, the song is 5 minutes and 52 seconds long! Not cut for radio and long enough for the average listener to surmise that there's some sort of skit, interlude, or section where the beat just plays (I'm not sure of the proper musical/technical term for this) bridge. Kanye raps for the first 2 minutes and 50 seconds after which we hit the bridge.

From what I can tell and based in my very rudimentary knowledge of music composition, the bridge in this song serves two purposes. The first is to give the listener a better appreciation for the beat up to this point. And I don't mean appreciation in the sense that we should be impressed but an appreciation in the sense of what instruments are being used and those that have now been taken away during the bridge. The second purpose is to get the listener ready for the beat to come back but this time, with some serious guitar chords incorporated into it. The chords are actually brought in during the bridge (at about the 3 minute 12 second mark). The chords are brought back in and slowly drums are brought back into the beat and then the next thing you know...

This leads me to the point of this post. Ross's verse is nothing special lyrically. I've definitely heard better from Mr. Rozay and for those of you that still don't respect Ross's lyrical ability I submit to you Exhibit A, "Solemnly Swear" and Exhibit B, "Valley of Death". The latter of which I think may be Ross's most lyrical song ever, inspired by Curtis Jackson no less. As for his verse on this song, honestly the only gem in there is "when it comes to tools n*gga I'm a Pep Boy". And that is by no means an overwhelming piece of lyricism. Granted, maybe the "double-headed monster with a mind of his own" and "making love to the angel of death" lines are deeper than I can see. Yet-and-still, I don't think this is a stand-out Ross verse by any means and I'm a Ross fan. In the end, I think that the bridge helps Ross out tremendously and his delivery is what makes his verse memorable. Not to mention, Ross's verse also brings in that other fanbase/target market Kanye's trying to capture, the "streets". Whether you want to accept it or not, Ross's appearance on the song gives the song some "street credibility".

Overall, Bink!'s production, Kanye's verse, the bridge and Ricky Rozay's voice, delivery, and ad-libs (ughh!) combined with the beat and arrangement of the song makes the song special. It's definitely one of my favorites from the album.

BONUS COVERAGE: If you'd like to check out various samples used on the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, check the video out below:

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