Sunday, December 13, 2009

A feaverishly Productive Weekend!

It's mid-December. And every year around this time, two very inter-related things happen to me.

First (if I'm a student, as I am this year), I start getting all schmaltzy for my hometown, as one of my by-annual visits starts to approach. Second, I start procrastinating.

A lot.

I look for any excuse not to study for exams. Don't act like you didn't/don't do it.

Aaaaannnnnnnnnyway. If you breathe air and have ears, as I do, then you've probably heard Jay-Z's new jam, Empire State of Mind about every third time you walk into a deli in New York. And if you don't live in New York, maybe the same can be said, I don't know.

Hearing this song all the time has pumped me full a kind of strange, two-years-ago nostalgia. And as an unabashed lover both of my current city and of my hometown, I can't help wondering whether it is intended in some way as a response to Kanye West's uplifting and enchanting Homecoming (y'know, maybe one of those silly regional rivalry things that seem to go on a lot in rap... and in sports and lots of other cultural arenas, for that matter).

If you're working feverishly to be unproductive like I am, I'll leave you with some questions to fill up your mind and your time:

1)Which is the better video, and why?
2)Which is the better rapper, and why?
3)Which is the better city, and why?

Discuss.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, that song seems to be everywhere in Chicago too.

    1) neither is particularly good. Each is roughly what you would expect for a song about a City. I like the aerial view in Empire State of Mind. I think the combination of top view, photo montage and performance are a little cluttered. So is the transition from black and white to color. I'm also sorta partial to the Kanye Video because he's filmed most of it on one of the architecture boats. After working those boats for a summer you really appreciate the views from the Chicago River. I'd say though, that it's roughly a toss up. I think the consistency of the West video is nice though.

    2) Jay-Z. Kanye isn't actually very good. He's got very good production values. His lyrics usually pretty uninspired and his abilities are only alright. That being said, I'm not sure why Jay-Z came out of retirement. Jay-Z at his prime is better than Kanye at his prime. Homecoming is about as good as Kanye can be to me.

    3) Chicago.

    4)Which is the better song? Homecoming. I hope this trend continues though. These songs might be a little bit low on content, but they're pretty pleasing.

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  2. I love Empire State of Mind, but have kind of had this desire to create a short film (music video of sorts) with real New York footage set to the song...like one that shows the crackheads on the street in Harlem, and more of the ugly reality of the places he name drops - next to the glitz and the glamour of Sinatra at the Opera, which is just as present here.

    Sorry that doesn't answer your question. I haven't seen either video.

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