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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

August 16, 2010 at 10:54 AM

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Music Monday: Jarv Dee, Basic, Kanye West

Posted by Andrew Matson

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"I Just Wanna Smoke" by Jarv Dee


Fresh off a string of firecracker concert performances, it's time for Seattle to meet local rapper Jarv Dee and his righteous nasal bray. Jarv's Seattle twang opens up new pronunciations the harder he leans on individual syllables, and naturally lends his vocals to the middle place between rapping and singing. That's the spot he exploits on "I Just Wanna Smoke," which rides a gently overlapping guitar curlicue and attempts Devin The Dude levels of chillness, but Jarv seemingly cannot take it easy, and pushes the energy until the track lands in exultant territory. He represents the Cloud Nice crew (Helladope, Tay Sean and Mikey Nice, among others), and if you thought he didn't, then why did he get it tatted on his hand?

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"Rumble Strip" by Basic (download here)


More synthesizer soundtrack music from Seattle/Kenmore man Basic (aka Kid Presentable aka UW student Adrian Swan, Truckasauras' little brother), "Rumble Strip" is muted and seething, with the feel of dark disco even though it moves closer rhythmically to "Theme From Shaft." Over an ambling arpeggio, a melodic chord progression pads softly in the background and hi-hats ripple dramatically, wrapping the central sound of the song, a keyboard octave that reads as a repeated gleam.

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"See Me Now" by Kanye West feat. Beyoncé and Charlie Wilson


Champagne-popping music par excellence.

The almost-saccharine major chord progression on "See Me Now" foils Kanye West's lyrical arrogance and grounds the song in wide-eyed sentimentality, achieving the same balance the world originally fell in love with on his first album "The College Dropout." Vocals from Beyoncé and Charlie Wilson (The Gap Band) bring two generations of R&B to the proceedings, and it's particularly great to hear the latter on a mainstream pop song — you never hear barrel-chested men singing R&B on the radio these days. Kanye peacocks all over the place with his verses, puts his life out there no matter how neo-yuppie it might be (shout out to Whole Foods), and deserves the moments when the beat cuts out:

"Lyrically, can't none of y'all murder 'Ye / 'Cause y'all raps ain't got no vertebrae"

Images from Jarv's twitter, Basic's soundcloud and Kanye's blog

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