Thursday, July 28, 2011

Song Review - "Otis" by Kanye West & Jay-Z Ft. Otis Redding

My regular readers know by now that Otis Redding is my favourite singer of all time. They also know that Otis’ version of “Try A Little Tenderness” is my favourite song of his.  I blogged about it here:

So last week Kanye West and Jay-Z released the first track from their upcoming collaborative album Watch the Throne. It’s called “Otis” and it features a sample of “Try A Little Tenderness”.

Otis feat. Otis Redding by watchthethrone

Starting out with 30 seconds of Otis, the song then becomes a back and forth between Jay-Z and Kanye.

I like the track, particularly the use of the sample of “Try A Little Tenderness”. However, I’ve got a few problems with it.

First and foremost is Jay-Z.  Suffice it to say, I’ve never been a fan.  I don’t see why he’s considered a great MC. He’s especially bad on collaborations since I think he gets his hat handed to him by whoever track he’s guesting on.  (Examples: “Black Republican” with Nas, “Pressure” with Lupe Fiasco.)  Here he’s especially bad with Kanye lyrically running circles around him.

The second problem I have is the subject matter of the song.  It’s swagger rap, talking about how rich they are and what possessions they have.  If this song is a tribute to Otis Redding, using his most famous song, what they’re talking about doesn’t seem fitting.

Finally, if you’re going to do swagger rap using Otis Redding as a sample, do it right. Do a cover version of “Tramp” with Nicki Minaj on the mic in the Carla Thomas role.

“Otis” is an OK track.  But it could have been so much better.

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