Jr. Birdman and Robin: Dynamic duo blow up late-night Batcave
Borrowing an unforgettable mental hook from my sixth-grade teacher, it was "b-e-a-utiful!" That's how Mr. Irwin taught us to memorize the spelling of the word beautiful. But I'm using it here to describe the amazing Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke performance I caught earlier this week on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
I'm hard pressed to recall seeing such a riveting hip-hop performance in a very long time. I mean, these cats -- a most unlikely pair -- grand-scale killed their collabo song, Shooter. I was so impressed that I'm actually considering buying the solo CDs of both artists, neither of whom previously were even blips on my radar screen.
With their steamy, high-energy set on Leno, out both have stepped from their respective anonymity. (In my mind, at least.) They gave the audience grown-up, funk-rock fusion mayhem. A far cry from anything that most of today's rappers (except Jay-Z and OutKast) seem to understand the dynamism of. This rock hybrid, I maintain, is one of the next frontiers that hip-hop should more fully explore.
Having largely ignored everything remotely associated with the Birdman's Cash Money label, it took me many months of hearing Go DJ before I finally "got" Lil Wayne's gravelly, Miles Davis like voice. Once I finally paid attention, I realized his voice is, indeed, quite distinctive in the sea of rap growls and mumbles. Can't say yet that his writing has my soul flipping, but he sure seems to think he's stepped up this aspect of his game, based on this interview... But hey, I dig Seinfeld and N.O.R.E. -- both of which are about absolutely nothing. So even if Lil Wayne's not as clever as Hova, we might still be Friends!
As for Robin Thicke, son of Alan Thick from the sitcom Growing Pains, I vaguely recall a song he released several years ago. I also vaguely recall liking his singing chops. Whatever. Point is, Robin Thicke definitely gives it up blue-eyed soulfully on this Shooter track with Lil Wayne. What a voice! Reminds me a bit of my #1 guy from London, acid jazz prince Lewis Taylor. Or Kenny Loggins.
Apparently, Shooter was originally Thicke's song. Perhaps this is why he drops his intro verse and the hook so sublimely. See how good it is to share? Now, thanks to his making space for this rap guy, more music lovers of the universe will know and appreciate them both.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that Robin Thicke's now signed to the Neptunes' Star Trak label. If Pharrell and Chad can do for him what they helped Justin Timberlake do in terms of solidly cross-over, I will gladly cop Thicke's CD when it drops in February.
Correction: I really like pop star Justin, but hopefully the Neptunes will keep Robin in the more mature, neo-soulish arena his sensuous voice seems to beg.
For more on Robin Thicke, check out his Vibe.com interview by blogger Clay Cane here.
And don't miss this dynamic duo's instant-classic Jay Leno video at 3030Media.net. I can't imagine that Jay-Z and The R. will ever collaborate again. So for my money, this Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke jumpoff qualifies as the Best of Both Worlds part 2.