Thursday, January 16, 2003
two hot hiphop tracks out right now sample the same source - sadly, I can't place it, but it's the snare-and-bass tattoo underpinning both ja rule featuring ashanti's "mesmerize" and "tell me" by new duo smilez & southstar. the commonality shows up for ja for what he's becoming: fat and happy. he's simply coasting on his success, neither pushing himself nor his records ("let's see, if I do another duet with my girl ashanti, it's a guaranteed million-seller, right?"). smilez & southstar, on the other hand, are hungry and fresh. smilez - a huge rarity in the rap game as an asian rapper getting a hit - reminds me of lord tariq (remember his steely dan-sampling "deja vu" with peter gunz?), only more interesting. his partner southstar is less impressive, but provides a solid vocal counterpoint. the production on "tell me" is vibrant and up, vibrant with life and love; "mesmerize" is simply another irv gotti joint, complete with all that implies. smilez & southstar are a pair to watch in 2003, no doubt.