Friday, 7 May 2010

2004 Ja Rule featuring R Kelly & Ashanti: Wonderful

Another hip hop/R&B hybrid, on the one hand 'Wonderful' conforms squarely to type with a tick box bingo card lyric/rap wall to wall with "gangstas", "ho's", "niggas", "pimpin" and "bitches" and which skirts close to the point of parody. But then on the other, 'Wonderful' slow breathes with a gritty grindhouse menace on a picked clean 'Superstition' riff and a lyric of doubt and insecurity ("If it wasn’t for the money, cars and movie stars and jewels and all these things I got, I wonder, hey, would you still want me") - hardly a post-modern genre inversion, but something more thoughtful than what's usually found in a genre where bling is king and who cares why dem bitches hang? Ja Rule's own scraped throat vocal seethes with tension and though R Kelly and Ashanti provide hues of light and content that go beyond cameos, 'Wonderful' as a whole remains as tightly wound as a solenoid and is as good an example as any of what the genre can produce at its best.

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