Young Jeezy ft. Jay-Z & André 3000 – “I Do”

As you may have noticed, things have been quiet here for the past month. My previous post notes that I was in Ireland for two weeks (maybe I’ll post a couple of my favorite pics from that trip on here once I finally get them online), and I’ve also taken over as music editor for the Donnybrook Writing Academy, the wonderful blog for which, as you’ll know if you follow The Ashtray Says, I started writing album reviews at the beginning of the year. So I’ve kept busy learning the ins and outs of Donnybrook, and as that will probably be the primary outlet of my music-blogging energies in the future, I’m not really sure what The Ashtray Says is going to be/how often it will be updated from now on. I’m sure you’re all heartbroken. Not that it’s ever been a very consistent blog, and I guess it’ll remain what it’s been — an outlet for my writing about things, music primarily, that doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Without a doubt, I’ll continue my tradition of doing some completely excessive year-end lists, so check back about a month from now for all that.

My real reason for writing this post: to encourage you to listen to a song that, one day after its release, has become one of my favorite (if not my flat-out favorite) hip-hop tracks of the year. It’s off Young Jeezy’s endlessly delayed fourth studio album Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition, due out December 20 on Def Jam, whose superpower as a label seems to be delaying things, endlessly.

Well, “I Do” is a song too strong to be detained by the villainous Dr. Def Jam and his insidious Song Dungeon. A version of the song consisting of 3K’s verse leaked sometime in 2010, and I came across it when it was posted on Kanye’s blog in the midst of Summer 2010’s G.O.O.D. Fridays onslaught. (It was the best of times…) I was smitten, and unaware of the song’s origins, mostly wondering why it was only two minutes long, for god’s sake! Later, a snippet with Jeezy’s hook also leaked, but not until yesterday did the full version surface — complete with Jeezy’s verse and, BONUS, a killer verse from Hov (in which he displays more charisma than anywhere on Watch the Throne!) — when it was played on Funkmaster Flex’s excellent but obnoxiously-tagged Hot 97 radio show. Soon after, a high-quality, non-tagged version appeared, and I now feel I can die a happy man.

I’d go so far as to call the track the second coming of UGK & Outkast’s untouchable “Int’l Players Anthem.” Over a soulful and exuberantly joyous beat (this one by unknown producer M16), the emcees continue the grand tradition of appearing to rap earnestly about fidelity and commitment (“I choose you,” “I do,” etc.) while remaining their usual incorrigible selves. YJ mostly describes the things he’s gonna do to ya when he gets you out this club and into his bed, just barely squeaking in some stuff about loyalty at the end. Jay-Z continues his epic troll of the entire human race by extending the narrative that kicked off with the parallel success “99 Problems” and “Crazy In Love” — you know, the one where Beyoncé floods the charts with devastatingly awesome pop songs about love and Jay-Z slyly places “A Bitch” at #100 on his List of Problems. Or, as here, appears to be talking about marrying the Queen of Earth but is actually cryptically rapping about being “married to the game,” be that the rap game or, you know, the crack one.

Of course, 3 Stacks is different: here as on “Int’l Players Anthem,” his verse eschews rappers-refusing-to-be-sentimental territory and delivers a verse to make your heart melt. Only rather than kicking things off, he’s the anchor leg. As if you needed another reason to stick around — despite my aforementioned cynicism about Jeezy’s and Hov’s true intentions, the song’s bursting warmth and effervescence makes it easy to pretend they really are rapping about true love and marital fidelity, making this both a multi-layered piece of hip-hop deftness and one of the feel-good anthems of the year. Just some grown ass men rapping about a grown ass subject.

Young Jeezy, Jay-Z & André 3000 – “I Do”


~ by toren on November 19, 2011.

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