June 29, 2009

100 Calorie Gut Reaction: Jay-Z - "D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune)"

I assume he won't be throwing that sign up anytime soon, with his leaving Def Jam and all.

Anyway, I'm kind of cheating with this post, because I listened to "D.O.A." when it first dropped. I even Twittered about Hova's first single from The Blueprint 3: I said I didn't really like it, and that maybe it was more of a grower than a show-er. But since I hadn't really listened to it again until now, with the official video dropping, now is as good a time to revisit this as any.

Chicago veteran producer No I.D. (a huge influence on the other famous producer from Chi-Town who abuses Autotune on a regular basis) provides a Janko Nilovic sample for Shawn to cruise over (hey, Ivan, Hip Hop Is Read is actually mentioned on The Blueprint 3's Wikipedia page), which I have to admit he does effortlessly (the man even makes it a point to mention the producer's name no less than three times, from what I can recall - I can't even remember Common saying the dude's name that many times on a track). The song has definitely grown on me, but it's still not one of Hova's best works.

A lot has been written about how every blogger on the planet has talked shit about the overuse and abuse of Autotune, but that nobody really noticed until Jay-Z decided to speak. Because when Hova speaks, people listen. I don't necessarily believe that to be true, but the man has gotten some press for this track, so who am I to judge? My beef with this song is that it actually isn't as incendiary as everyone wants you to believe: Jigga's not saying "fuck Autotune" or anything like that. The closest he gets is stating that rappers are singing and "T-Pain-ing too much", but curiously, declines to name names. "The mixtape Weezy" gets a pass, even though Lil' Wayne is one of the biggest contributors to the pandemic, but Jay's boy Kanye, of 808's & Heartbreak fame, isn't mentioned at all.) He commands that rappers get "violent", but fails to do so himself.

As I mentioned above, the song has grown on me, but it's still not that great. Royce da 5'9" stabbed the shit out of the beatfor his "Redemption" track: hopefully No I.D. is on the short list to send some heat Ryan Montgomery's way.

Here's the video for "D.O.A." Is it bad that Hova kind of looks like Q-Tip if you squint and aren't really paying attention?



  1. Well, for me, the decline started with The Blueprint Album# 1. The production began to outshine Hova. His lyricism became a bit laxed or downright lazy without the inspiration of Big Jaz and Sauce Money and he surrounded himself with a bunch of commercial "yes" men. Hov has released some great music recently but he's not the same lyricist.

  2. i'm not a fan of jay-z much, just because he reuses so many b.i.g lines, including in this song, but video's pretty cool. i could see jay-z play some villain in some thriller

  3. Have never liked him, never will.

  4. RingpeaceJune 30, 2009

    Gotta agree with Level1Alt here, Jay just keeps biting Biggie's lyrics and it really detracts from the listening experience...if you can't write lyrics get a ghostwriter. That said, this song is okay and I don't believe it's inferior to Royce's Redemption(I don't like royce's voice too much)...Oh, and a very nice beat, great job by No I.D. diggin' this one up

  5. good song from Hova IMO: nothing more, nothing less... shit was a bit overhyped though.

    btw Max, here's a suggestion for your next album review: "Chemical Warfare" by The Alchemist. other than Alc's raps, shit was nice!

  6. RL's on-point. Blueprint only hinted at the laziness that was to follow.

    Where's he bitin BIG on this song tho?

    The beat obviously makes this song, and the video makes the song decent. I don't ever expect to be bumpin this and if this shit ends up on Blueprint 3, uhh... This song will be dated, faded, and hated by the time it actually drops 6-12 months from now. Not necessarily something you wanna tack-on if you are seriously looking to make another classic dude.

  7. RingpeaceJuly 04, 2009

    It's the line
    "Stop your blood clot crying, the kids, the dog, everybody dyin', no lyin'"

    It's from Biggie's Just a Memory

  8. "but Jay's boy Kanye, of 808's & Heartbreak fame, isn't mentioned at all."

    He mentions Kanye. "Ye told me to keep it 100"

  9. Yeah, I realize that Kanye is mentioned. I meant to write something to the effect of "Kanye gets a pass, even though he's one of the main perpetrators". But I flaked on that when I actually wrote the post. Oh, well. Thanks for reading!

  10. Seriously i never liked this dude.. the easiest thing i can come up with is he's too full of his jay persona which bores me... thank you jay "Death of Auto-tune" will make ppl use auto-tune way more now (as i'm experiencing right now) kinda like Nas did with "Hip-hop is dead" album although that term went to shit thanx to him and jay (yes i'm pretty sure jay had something to do with that concept album) *yawn* sry i just have a hard time picturing a mason rapper..

  11. yeah well nobody cares about your opinion, rick.