Jess’s Preliminary Top 10 for 2003

Half-way done with the year!

(Please note that this list does not reflect the tastes or choices of NYLPM, it’s owner, or subsidiaries.)

10. !!! – “Me & Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard (A True Story)”
Okay, so an awful awful (and outdated!) pun in the title, and the singer sounds like he’s come to “the funk” via Jon Spencer. But if there’s one reason I love this song it’s that it makes the latent Edge influence in the guitar of so many of these DFA-stylee bands so blatant. Seriously, admit it, you love “The Unforgettable Fire”. So, all sheets of celestial grandeur blah blah then, but funkier than U2 could ever manage, with cowbell even.

9. Kardinal Offishall – “Belly Dancer”
Everything in this track sounds overdriven, cheap, and hot. The closing “belly dance/Neptunes/come again!” may be my favorite vocal lick of the year so far.

8. Killer Mike – “A.D.I.D.A.S.”
Down a few spots from its earlier position (the fate of all first quater singles, sadly), but still a lot of fun, despite the fact that the backing (on repeat listen) reveals itself to be conceptually slim enough to slip through a doorjam. All about the details then: Andre going to see the Blue Man Group, the obligatory gratuitous R Kelly slam.

7. Joe Budden – “Pump It Up”
Another slippage! Poor Joe. I wonder if this will remain top 10 by the end of the year. It’s as slight as “A.D.I.D.A.S.” and “Belly Dancer”, but not as charming as the former or as hyper-hyper as the latter.

6. Dizzee Rascal & Wiley – “Fix Up Look Sharp”
Wherein the nu-thing rides “The Big Beat” beat. Seriously, no shit. Here’s where the whole “garage rap as the real/new British hip-hop” schtick finally starts to make sense. Not just that fuck-off, old school beat (not even Kayne or Blaze or the fucking J5 would be so obvious) but the fact that there’s not a lick of dancehall in Dizzee’s delivery: a major break with all UK pirate MCing when you think about it. Not much hip-hop either, for that matter (a little dutty south, p’haps), but like Spizzazzz’s Rob Them Co sez, it makes itself hip-hop through sheer force of will.

5. R Kelly – “Ignition (Remix)”
Here’s what I said on ILM: It’s pretty clear that we’re living in the end times of a crumbling, decadent empire, and I can’t imagine Smokey Robinson peeing on 14 yr old girls anymore than I can imagine him naming himself after a shoe brandname. but, if we ARE living in the end times of a crumbling, decadent empire, we could do a lot worse for a house songwriter – from a sheer technical proficiency standpoint – than R. Kelly.

4. A.R.E. Weapons – “Don’t Be Scared”
Token rock pick, even though it’s pretty much structured like a hip-hop song anyway, down to the rolling beat, Bonecrusher-like gang chorus, and De La positivity message.

3. Beyonce feat. Jay-Z – “Crazy In Love”
!!! would kill to come up with two loops this good, and even if they ever did they’d ruin them by letting the singing muppet do his Scatman John routine overtop. Jay’s verse totally reverses his recent downward slide (especially on the guesting front) while still sounding like he managed to dash it off on the way to the studio cuz, like, he’s gotta be somewhere else, baby. Beyonce finally delivers a fake-funk track worthy of her name, and then proceeds to not render it unfit for human ears with the same menstruating feline yawp she pulled on “Work It Out.”

2. Wayne Wonder – “No Letting Go”
Out of all the diwali tunes floating around at the moment, this is the one I love most. Wotta sap! I think I like it so much because it reminds me of Scritti’s “The Sweetest Girl”, except 20 bpm faster and y’know, with a real Jamaican.

1. Dizzee – “I Luv U (Sharky Remix)”