"you can't bring the future back"

Sunday, August 23, 2009



it looks like jay-z decided to funnel "off that" to the internets and the blogosphere has had the track in it's clutches for the past 24 hours. my review for this track can be summed up in two words: utter garbage.

to begin, the production is fecal matter at worst and lukewarm at best. i doubt that there is a soul that would consider this to be among timbaland's finest offerings. it's shameful that timbaland would even qualify this track as an adequate backdrop for jay-z and drake. in the early development stages of blueprint 3, timbaland claimed that he was producing the entire album. after hearing "off that", i think we are all grateful that his statement was merely ambition and not the truth. it's quite possible that this is all timbaland is capable of. it's possible that he spent what remains of his talent during his escapades with justin timberlake and nelly furtado. it's possible that he produced "off that" without the aid of danjahandz. that's a lot of possibilities, but i would conclude that timbaland simply settled. the thumping and powerful drums that were his trademark and sought out by "super producers" like kanye west were conspicuously absent. the melody was simple and lacked the intense layering of his r&b work. the intermittent sonic additions seemed to detract rather than add. "off that" was bland. it was an effort devoid of actual effort. honestly, the last timbaland production i appreciated was "ayo technology". years ago, he said hip-hop was boring to him. i guess he had to bring his musicianship to meet that standard...

for me, it's difficult to review jay-z. historically, i accept that jay-z is a revered icon in hip-hop and that he's widely considered one of the greatest mc's ever. personally, i have never liked jay-z as much as his rabid fans or hip-hop luminaries in general. i consider the blueprint to be a classic album. i think the black album is mostly great and i enjoyed a handful of tracks from reasonable doubt. my main gripe with jay-z is that he gets extremely lazy with his lyrics and he's apt to jump on whatever the bandwagon is in regards to ad libs, flow, and other lyrical trends. lyrically, the final verse on "off that" is an exemplary display of garbage. he takes note worty lyrical shortcuts like "fidduck" and needless repetition. it seems like he's competing with timbaland to see who's willing to accept mediocrity first.

the last piece of the puzzle is drake and unfortunately, nobody thought it would be a good idea to let him flex his lyrical prowess. he's relegated to chorus and bridge duties and there's little to even grade him on. he sounds like drake. he flows like drake. nothing else happened for him to even matter in the overall context of the track. if "off that" was supposed to be a widely anticipated showcase of the old and new, it completely failed. if drake was allowed to deliver a complete verse, he might have saved the track. at the least, it would temporarily put a stop gap on the dude's head in his lap fiasco.

despite my scrutiny, "off that" has a chance to become one of the last few hits of the summer and prep jay-z fans for blueprint 3. for the common music fan, i think the track will quench their desire to have the three heavyweights together and they won't mind or notice the faults. that is unless they were searching for the next "my love" because "off that" falls short of even decent pop music.

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