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Friday, September 3, 2010

Will Big Boi's 'You Ain't No DJ' get spins?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Someone told me this song actually got some play on Atlanta radio (whether it was V [103] or Hot [107.9], I'm not sure) the other day. I almost swallowed my tongue.

Never thought we'd make it through the entire summer without Big getting a true mainstream embrace. But here we are at the second official single. It's produced by Andre 3000 and features Yelawolf. The video is aight, definitely made on a shoestring budget compared to "Shutterbugg."

Could it be the same thing that kept Big on everyone's mind over the past few years was a double-edged sword? The Sir Lucious Leftfoot album leaks, viral videos and resulting blog love probably went a long way in helping him ink the deal with Def Jam after Jive jumped ship. But maybe all that exposure made it hard to create new energy for the project once it was officially released?

Don't mind me. I'm just thinking out loud — and making unnecessary excuses for Def Jam's lack of promotion. A label's promotional push is usually based on its sales expectations for the release. And it's possible that the industry just doesn't have as much faith in an OutKast-associated product without Andre 3000's vocals attached. Of course, Jive Records guaranteed that outcome by contractually blocking him from appearing on the album. Sasha Frere-Jones made good points about it — specifically the lowered expectations resulting from Andre's absence — in his New Yorker feature on Big Boi last month. (He also said Big's Speakerboxx was a better album than Dre's The Love Below, which is like saying you prefer McCartney over John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.)

Whatever the reason for the slag (sucky promotions? sucky corporate radio? over-the-hill hop? clueless industry/DJs?) it's another prime example of Southern rap being ignored and, well, outcast. But this time, it seems that the industry's new definition of Southern rap (i.e. Gucci-Waka-Travis Porter — you know, the Atlanta cats who actually get radio play these days) could be the culprit.

The real irony here is that Big's song "You Ain't No DJ" actually takes contemporary DJs (and hip-hop?) to task for perpetrating the funk.

"Yo DJ ain't no DJ he just make them fuckin' mixtapes
Where dey at, where dey at, where dey at, where dey at....
Yo DJ ain't no DJ he just hit that instant replay
There dey go, there dey go, there dey go, there dey go....

But the only fault is that he sorta keeps that critique to the hook, while he and Yelawolf's verses veer off into a fun and unleashed, but off-topic, lyrical mosh. Whereas a verse from Andre on the same song would've — if true to OutKast form — gone in on the perpetrators.

At least then radio would've had a real reason to turn a deaf ear.

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