Listen: To Hip Hop Beating Itself to Death

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Each week Heidi Klum informs me that the saying in fashion is “one week your in, the next week your out.” Hip hop needs to heed her words; the leaked songs for T.I.'s new record Paper Trail taste like rabbit droppings leading to a shithouse.

“Swagger Like Us”, on paper, should be in consideration for the best collaboration of 2008. I expected a cornucopia of bravado quotes for me to drop in regular conversation because I'm a swagger jacker. And while the beat has swagger in its saw-toothed synths and lifted M.I.A. sample, T.I. sounds like the only one who was actually interested in proving swag.

T.I., “Swagger Like Us” (feat. Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne)

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I am convinced Kanye West had another accident, except this time he's stuck with a vocodor in his lips. Mr. West compares himself to Christopher Columbus and Mick Jagger… to which I offer no comment. Jay-Z flashes brilliance with his throwback stutter style, but then decides to tongue kiss Kanye's vocodor and sing “Hovah.” Kanye might call you his big brother and sure, Lil Wayne might kiss his daddy, but no Mr. Carter, you are not a singer. (Lil Wayne sounds souped up on tussin, end of story.) T.I. closes up shop like the king he proclaims to be. I don't read the Source anymore, but if they still do “Hip Hop Quotables” T.I.'s verse should be in the September issue.

So I sound a bit curmudgeonly and you might be thinking, “he called it rabbit shit, but then had good things to say.” Well, I'm conflicted with “Swagger Like Us,” but “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna is where I lost faith.

Remember this internet phenomenon?

Ok, I still laugh at that a little, but, please, behold an abomination:

T.I., “Live Your Life” (feat. Rihanna)

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I don't care if Jus Blaze is playing a joke, or experimenting to see if he can twist an awful Euro-club song into a hip hop hit, “Live Your Life” has my head in my palms laughing on the outside, while I die slowly inside. Hip hop seems to have dementia, or Alzheimer's, perhaps brought on by a heavy bludgeoning by means of a vocodor cord.

I implore millions of remixes of this song that have nothing to do with the numa numa guy that focus in on T.I.'s verses. In conclusion, Kanye is a vocodor-cyborg, Jay-Z is getting senile, T.I. is spending too much time on the internet with Jus Blaze, and Wayne dropped a classic, and then spent all his money on syrup.

Normally, I turn to Young Jeezy as a default, but “Circulate” has me thinking he's the only heavy hitter who's not afflicted.

Young Jeezy, “Circulate”

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