Artist: Minty Fresh Beats, with an unofficial assist from Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Radiohead
Title: "Wrong Prayer"
Producer: Minty Fresh Beats (better known as Max Tannone)
Album: Jaydiohead (2009)
Quite a while back, I kinda-sorta demanded that at least one rapper sample the music from Radiohead's "I Might Be Wrong". Not only is it one of my favorite Radiohead tracks, the music itself is perfect for spitting over: the darker melody and off-kilter drums would work perfectly for whoever was willing to take it on with something other than boasts 'n bullshit. In whatever post I wrote all of that in (I forget which, unfortunately - there's over one thousand posts on this site, and I can't be bothered to dig through all of them right now), someone brought to my attention that, in fact, my request had already been filled. Because of course it had been. From your lips to God's ears, or whatever the fuck that saying is for the two of you who are more spiritually-minded.
Now technically, "I Might Be Wrong" is still up for grabs, I suppose, because the subject of today's post is a mash-up that can never officially be released to paying customers, lest the subject is willing to do battle with lawyers from all angles. New York-based producer Max Tannone, who once went by the pseudonym Minty Fresh Beats, hence the title of today's post, dove into the mash-up craze of the last decade to throw two artists together that, typically, would have no business being in the same room: the very financially successful rapper Jay-Z, and musicians-for-the-people rock group Radiohead (who won't be sharing space with Hov at a TIDAL press conference anytime soon). Of course he called the final product Jaydiohead, but that's probably the most predictable thing about the project. (Even though he can't legally sell the thing, you can easily find it online at the man's own website, along with his myriad other mash-up projects.)
Instead of focusing on just one Jay-Z album or one Radiohead album (see: Danger Mouse) as a means to challenge himself, Tannone elected to flip through all of the band's catalog at the time, including bonus tracks, b-sides, and even lead vocalist Thom Yorke's solo career. The furthest back the man goes into Hova's discography would be to 2001's The Blueprint, but that's most likely because he was looking for a specific tone of rhyme to fit his chopped-up Radiohead samples. And also because acapellas of the older material may be harder to come by. I don't know. I'm not his biographer. Maybe he really wanted to use "Dead Presidents" or "I Know What Girls Like". The world may never know.
"Wrong Prayer" is a combination of "I Might Be Wrong" and American Gangster's "Pray", a track I apparently liked when I first wrote about the not-a-soundtrack American Gangster, but damned if I can remember anything about what it sounds like today. It features Shawn Carter's betrothed, Beyonce, reading, well, a prayer, sounding one hundred percent like she's doing her man a solid and has better things to do, like running the world, but hey. Smashing the two tracks together gives Jay's bars an urgency that he hardly ever has these days, being a goddamn billionaire and all; the pulsing beat gives the song the feel of a paranoid career criminal scanning the room, clocking all the exits. Also, it sounds fantastic, so good job, Tannone.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go listen to some guy who refers to himself as a "chef" even though his partner-in-crime tends to be the one who makes all of the references to food.
Do you agree or disagree with this selection? Discuss below.
-Max (not Tannone)