Every week there is a new bunch of freestyles. But seems there is no one reviewing them. So introducing...
Freestyle of the Week reviews
Despite abutting, as it does, a review/essay--predominantly essay--on Rick Ross' freestyle treatment of the very same song, one would not expect to find much in the Game's rendition, by way of comparative analysis. This is because, for most of his career, Game has occupied roughly the same end of the Voice-Skill spectrum as Rozay, hovering comfortably closer to the former rather than the latter.
The most striking imagery from Drake's "Started From The Bottom" visuals--edging out a bevy of comely, Isis eyelinered women and a preponderance of ridiculous dances, including a spiraling, hand spinning, maple-leaf-in-an-updraft maneuver and a high stepping, elbow locked march suspended above Toronto in front of a black and gold, owl emblazoned billboard--comes early; Drake and a topless Bentley, white as a blank page, white fur, white pants, white shoes, white shirt, gleaming silver jewelry, creeping along the road in a manmade cacophony of too perfect snow, moving fast while the skeletal branches in the background remain still.
While we are here, we may as well address that savage little concern creeping in the periphery of all things related to this song, the dead-eyed, be-fanged question of cultural appropriation, i.e., is it ok for a white guy from West Philly, among other places (including, to be fair, a stint in Harlem) to release a song called "Harlem Shake" with apparently little to no knowledge of the term's origin, and thereby unleash upon us all a torrent of progressively derivative—and irreverent— "Harlem shake" videos? If his pleads of ignorance are true, I do not bemoan Baauer so much for creating the song; after all, one could readily have performed the true Harem shake to it. No, the blame lies not with Baauer, but with Filthy Frank, from whom the first video sprang, and the ebola like nature of the meme's structure and ludicrousness. Basically, it would have been a surprise for this to not catch on. And would it truly be better if everyone was doing the real dance, anyway? At least in this way, the dance itself is spared from what would surely be a brutalizing.
At first blush--and there will be many more to follow, if the listener is of the demure and/or tad prudish variety--Trey Songz' "Fuckin' Problem" treatment appears to be a touch disappointing, a worthy enough, rather explicit sex rap over one of the slinkiest, coquettish beats around that is predominantly disappointing because it is not the masterful example it could be of Songz finally staking his claim as successor to R. Kelly's crown by laying down a sex sing-rap over what is one of the slinkiest, coquettish beats around; handling the track, so to speak, as he claims he does a woman.