Not only was 2006’s Hell Hath no Fury pretty much superior to every other Hip Hop album released that year, it also sounded more like the future than any other album released that year. Using the most minimal and off-kilter of Netpunes’ beats which featured the glitchy, disembodied repetition of harps and accordions – instruments not exactly famous for their use in Hip Hop composition – combined with dark, paranoia drenched synths, crisp snare and tight bass drums; Hell Hath no Fury sounded like 22nd century Hip Hop, let alone something from this, still young, century.
That context makes this Kanye collaboration all the more suprising, and pleasing. The Netpunes production with Clipse was always crowded, layered and busy, but it always maintained that Neptunes’ trademark futuristic spaciousness; Here, the DJ Khalid production is driven by a fuzzed out guitar riff taken straight out of a psychedelic spy thriller, complete with a Beach Boys style surf guitar slide at the end of each verse, all of which is underpinned with a low, dusty and expansive bass with skittering bongos layered on top which fills the the song with an analogue warmth that is peculiar, but works just as ably as a platform to perform over and is just as peerless, even if it is the past that is being delved into rather than the near future.
Lyrically, it’s the same brazen, materialistic braggadocio juxtaposed with a darker more maniacal edge as they fire off warning shots to competition. ‘They whisperin’ about us/I know you haters doubt us/ How you count our money? We ain’t even finished counting/ Pardon me, I must say, we’re kinda like a big deal’ Even Kanye puts in a surprisingly competent verse.
It’s very 20th century, very different, but very, very good.