The Best Rap Beats of the 2000s: #16
16. Gucci Mane - I’m Back Bitch (1st Day Out) (Prod. by Zaytoven)
Unlike the Max B/Dame Grease situation, where you have two artists who complement each other with perfect symmetry, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that Zaytoven is simply a vehicle for Gucci in a lot of ways, laying out a flat surface for him to build on. Dame Grease’s beats were cheap-yet-pop, open, permeable to other styles and the history of music that surrounds and informs them. Zaytoven’s tracks work the opposite way, cheap-yet … insular. Thin, brittle keyboards and a limited tonal palette that often feels claustrophobic, a closed system. Zay’s style is more rap-oriented, repetitive, each beat an extension of stamped, branded eccentric auteur’s vision.
This more one-dimensional approach, though, gave Gucci more freedom, rather than holding him back; by limiting the producer’s control over the song’s direction, it gave Gucci’s inventiveness freer reign. “1st Day Out” is one of the best examples, even though Gucci doesn’t work it into a pop song, forgoing a chorus entirely. The beat begins with a melody that is almost nursery-rhyme simple before ratcheting up the tension as each verse builds, then easing off slightly before screwing intensity even tighter. Once he drops out the drums almost entirely to build up to the classic “IF I DON’T KNOW YA I’MA SERVE YA THROUGH MY BURGLAR BARS” it’s been twisted into a perfect nauseous discomfort.
Previous: 20. Trick Daddy - Play No Games (Prod. by Lil Jon)
19. 50 Cent feat. Young Buck & M.O.P. - “I’ll Whip Ya Head Boy (Remix)” (Prod. by Ron Browz)
18. Redman - Let’s Get Dirty (I Can’t Get In Da Club) (Prod. by Rockwilder)
17. Max B feat. Mac Mustard and French Montana - All My Life (Prod. by Dame Grease)