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Posts Tagged ‘Jay Z’

Pop Culture Introspection, Part II: What Do Hip-Hop/Pop Song Mash-ups Teach Us?

Every once in a while, there is a mash-up that combines a pop-type song with a hip-hop add-on.  I’m not talking about songs like the odd new B.O.B./Taylor Swift duet, but rather, songs that exist on their own, and then get a hip-hop upgrade.

I’m sure there are many examples, but there are only two that I can think of off the top of my head.

The first is “Numb/Encore“, in which a popular Linkin Park song (“Numb”) gets Jay-Z lyrics laid over it.  Here are they lyrics from the original Linkin Park song “Numb”:

I’m tired of being what you want me to be
Feeling so faithless lost under the surface
Don’t know what you’re expecting of me
Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
(Caught in the undertow just caught in the undertow)
And every second I waste is more than I can take

I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there
I’ve become so tired so much more aware
I’m becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

Compare the adolescent angst of those lyrics with the words that Jay-Z lays over it such as:

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Street Gangs (But Didn’t Know Whom to Ask)

We recently solicited your questions about street gangs for Sudhir Venkatesh, the then-grad student we wrote about in Freakonomics who is now a professor of sociology at Columbia. His answers are, IMHO, fascinating. Your questions were really good, too; thanks. Venkatesh will publish a book, Gang Leader for a Day, in early 2008. Q: Do you think the HBO series . . .

“99 Problems”

An economist at an elite university, wishing to remain anonymous, has written the following rap in honor of Levitt. S/he sent it directly to me (Dubner) to ensure that even Levitt doesn’t know who wrote it. I think you’ll agree it’s sick enough to be worthwhile. Sing it to the tune of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.” If you’re getting rejected I . . .