On That Note

Album artwork - Watch the Throne

This week has been one for the books. After listening to "I'm On One" unedited from explicit lyrics, I realized how much better the flow of the song is.  The artists seem to mesh so much better in the natural state and the texture of the song completely changes.  Thanks a lot Tipper Gore.  Also, I discovered that Cyndi Lauper is native to Queens.  Even more importantly was the fact that I found myself bobbing my head multiple times to the phrase "Ball so hard."  This happened in normal activity, but its frequency increased with the amount of miles I found myself away from my house while on my Lemond.

What's the greatest "one-liner" in hip-hop, rap, or music for that matter?  Who is the hero to deliver this phrase that will eventually finds its niche in pop culture?  Many award this title to the flow of the contemporary American rapper Lil Wayne.  While I'm not terribly familiar with enough of his material to agree or disagree with this claim (though after discovering that the rapper freestyles all  of his material I was forced to give respect where it was due [if Wayne didn't freestyle all of his material, I would not respect his artistic endeavors, though I must say I still think he is overrated regardless of whether or not he freestyles]), I think I may have discovered a one-liner that, though might not necessarily be the greatest, is surely in contention for such a position and gets me going every time I hear it.

Enter Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Ni** in Paris" from their collaborative album Watch the Throne.  The track infuses everything about music that makes music what it is.  Lyrically superior (though not the absolutely best ever [see above]), melodically engaging (Kanye, though, like Wayne, is unfamiliar to me in general, has phenomenal sense of melody and harmony) , a healthy 140 BPM [this song has really opened my eyes to the importance of tempo.  The tempo totally makes this song - imagine it being slower or faster.  It just works, my goodness], and rhythmic diversity (Jay-Z's raps are nothing short of amazing rhythmically) are notable aspects to this three and a half minute instant pop culture classic.

"Ball so hard" is spat many times throughout the song.  Each time, I think "Man, Jay-Z delivers the crap out of that line.  I'd give a lot to be able to do that."  The way the phrase is articulated rivals Eminem's phrasing in "Forgot About Dre" and leaves me speechless.  I hope the same happens to you as you consider it's place among the great one-liners.
"Ball so hard."


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