I have been tracking the Grey Album for about a month now, and I’ve got sumpin’ to say!
First, it seems right to hear what Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) had to say about the project:
“A lot of people just assume I took some Beatles and, you know, threw some Jay-Z on top of it or mixed it up or looped it around, but it’s really a deconstruction. It’s not an easy thing to do. I was obsessed with the whole project, that’s all I was trying to do, see if I could do this. Once I got into it, I didn’t think about anything but finishing it. I stuck to those two because I thought it would be more challenging and more fun and more of a statement to what you could do with sample alone. It is an art form. It is music. You can do different things, it doesn’t have to be just what some people call stealing. It can be a lot more than that.”
I have only a few general comments to start- first, this is very clever: black and white = grey. And, technically speaking, this is genius.
However, I’m a musician, and in the end, I have to listen to this shit. That’s where I always diverge.
The biggest “problem” with this is the vast disparity in talent between “Jigga” and the Beatles. And I have anything BUT a distaste for rap! On the contrary, I listen almost exclusively to rap, and have done so for almost 20 years now. There are great rappers. Jay-Z ain’t one of them.
So, this project becomes an amazing Warholian work of art, in and of itself. It is “Beauty and Debris.”
One particulary distrubing track is the first one,
“Public Service Announcement” – 2:45
- Samples “Long, Long, Long“
This is mostly because “Long, Long, Long” is so incredibly haunting. It has always held an indescribable loneliness for me. And so when you get angry rappers yelling over a mike over the sounds of all human life fading into the abyss…
The good news is that, no matter what you’re thinking right now, you should definitely go get the White Album, and listen to it (again) and again.
The Grey Album is a mashup album by Danger Mouse, released in 2004. It uses an a cappella version of rapper Jay-Z‘s The Black Album and couples it with instrumentals created from a multitude of unauthorized samples from The Beatles‘ LP The Beatles (more commonly known as The White Album).