First Impressions: Kanye West – Can’t Tell Me Nothing Mixtape
by Winston "Stone" Ford
So after getting multiple error messages from Rapdishare AND Megaupload (wtf?), I finally got my hands on the Kanye West Can’t Tell Me Nothing Mixtape. I’m providing a link from a contact on Myspace. I’m providing the link as a public service, but who knows how long it will be up there.
Anyway, first impressions are that Kanye and company are trying too hard to court the hipster crowd, which is funny cause ‘Ye was all up in arms when French hipsters Justice beat him out for a MTV Europe award. While groups like Clipse and Spank Rock can rock the Pabst Blue Ribbon crowd with ease, Kanye and company seem to be straining themselves to rap over tracks from Thom Yorke and hipster faves Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks,” which left me scratching my head. “Us Placers,” sampling Yorke’s Eraser track is sorta fly, however, if the new “supergroup” of Kanye, Pharrell, and Lupe put a little bit more effort into it, it could be a crossover hit. “Young Folks” is just bad, not because of the concept of rapping over a Sweedish hipster track, but because West can’t do freestyles to save his life. “Stronger,” the second single off of Graduation and would be revolutionary if Busta’s “Touch it” never came out.
All in all, though, this is a solid effort, but not because of Kanye’s rapping. The Talib/Kanye collabo “In The Mood,” is a tight track that hasn’t made the official tracklist of Graduation. Chicago phenom Kid Sister (remember where you heard her first people) gets some love when Kanye raps a verse over “Pro Nails,” (complete with a shoutout to Concrete Loop) , and included in the package are the stellar “Don’t Forget’ Em” (Consequence), as well as Common’s “The Game,” and new artists like GLC and Chi rapper Really Doe (“Magnetic Power”) with your girl Jennifer Hudson.
In the traditional sense, this ain’t a mixtape, just a collection of songs that most blog readers and Okayplayer members already have (for example Ye’s “Throw Some D’s Remix” and Common’s “The People”). Still, even with its pitfalls, the Cant’ Tell Me Nothing Mixtape really shows that Mr. West really knows what he’s doing when it comes to the rap game. If he stayed humble, he might have been mentioned in the same breath with Dilla.