I Represent

March 17, 2013 4:17 PM

Nicki Minaj from a acapella rapping in 5/4 over an obnoxious beat with excessive handclaps for the odd time music challenge

posted by chrchr (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Is odd time rap A Thing? Because this is great, but not just because of the odd time.
posted by unSane at 6:08 PM on March 17, 2013

Not that I'm aware of, no. To me, this doesn't sound very hip hop. There's not much funk or swing to it. The percussion in particular strikes me as maybe industrial? That's not a genre I've devoted much listening time to. In the hours since I uploaded this it occurred to me that I should look around for funkier 5/4 rhythms. I know they're out there. "Take Five" is funky as hell, right?

So, I've been listening to a lot of DJ Screw tapes recently, and he seemed to delight in performing his signature pitch lowering on female MCs. Maybe he liked the gender bending effect. Here's an example with Lil Kim. That was basically the genesis of this, though it began with Nicki pitched down rapping over "Today Was a Good Day" in 5/4. That was actually kinda dull so I tried to perk it up with some handclaps. Eventually I just dropped "Today Was a Good Day" and kept the handclaps.

The handclaps themselves are another contemporary trend. This Nicki Minaj track is a pretty good example.
posted by chrchr at 8:12 PM on March 17, 2013

I wouldn't worry about the genre and just follow your nose with this. You can swing 5/4 just as hard as any other time signature if you want to. It's just a question of getting your head round it and woodshedding it a bit. But because most mainstream rap and dance is so RELENTLESSLY four on the floor (most people are using loops, not even making beats and those who are making beat seem to rarely venture out of 4s) , even a little bit of oddness in the rhythm instantly marks you out from the crowd.

What's interesting is that you don't fall into the default rhyme patterns. The same is true with other kinds of music: for example, if you write a 7/4 boogie it doesn't sound *anything* like ZZ Top even if you are using almost identical voicing and phrasing otherwise.
posted by unSane at 9:01 PM on March 17, 2013

can you tell I've thought about this WAY too much?
posted by unSane at 9:02 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think it's the rest of of us who haven't thought about it quite enoug, unSane. You're right. Just the fact that you can't have a snare drum on the two and the four means you're going to have a really different kind of groove.

Anyway, if you were curious what this would sound like over the drum intro from "Take Five", it would sound like this.
posted by chrchr at 8:39 PM on March 19, 2013

This is weird in at least two different ways. I like it. Always fun when people get into these time signature experiments -- it should be a natural thing with rap, in a way. Good job.
posted by edlundart at 9:45 PM on March 19, 2013

Thanks for listening, everyone. I didn't like this much when I posted it. I thought of it as more of a novel experiment. I think you've talked me into a more positive assessment. .
posted by chrchr at 3:31 PM on March 21, 2013

Well, I think that (mainstream) rap is now such a clusterfuck of cliches, the heavy metal of its era, that anything that disrupts it perks the ear up mightily.
posted by unSane at 4:57 PM on March 21, 2013

I disagree completely! There's *so much* weird stuff happening in rap right now that it might be hard for the casual listener to notice. Everything in this song except for the odd time (the pitched down vocals, the minimal bloop bloops, the snare rolls, and the hand claps) are very contemporary and nearly clché. If you were to take any of them individually and put them into any other kind of music it would seem arty and experimental. In rap it's pretty ho hum stuff.
posted by chrchr at 5:50 PM on March 21, 2013

Ha! Maybe a combination of differing on the term 'mainstream' and me being behind the times.
posted by unSane at 6:03 PM on March 21, 2013

Name some weird stuff, I'm all ears.
posted by unSane at 6:03 PM on March 21, 2013

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