Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kanye West (feat. Nicki Minaj) -- "Monster" (2010)

Pink wig, thick ass, 
Give them whiplash
I think big, get cash, 
Make them blink fast

In today's 2 or 3 lines, we conclude our conversation with the fabulous young critic, essayist, and blogger, Brienne Walsh -- or as I like to call her, "The Next Big Thing."

Author Brienne Walsh
(I suck up to all the young musicians and writers I feature on 2 or 3 lines, hoping that one of them will hit it big some day and I'll be able to ride on his or her coattails.  I think there's a pretty good chance that Brienne will be that person.)

I really enjoy Brienne's blog, A Brie Grows in Brooklyn.  I've never lived in New York City, and seeing life there through her eyes is compelling stuff.

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
She recently wrote about the trials and tribulations of living in Brooklyn in a post titled "A Dispatch from White Yuppie Utopia."  

Brienne used to live in Williamsburg, a section of Brooklyn that is known as a major hipster neighborhood, and she describes life there as noisy and chaotic, but liberating.  Carroll Gardens, the Brooklyn neighborhood she and her boyfriend live in now, is quite different:

[Carroll Gardens] is white yuppie utopia.  Everyone knows how to follow the rules.  No excess noise.  No drug addiction.  No mixed race coupling, unless the female is Asian.  They’ve been following the rules all of their lives, which is how they ended up in white yuppie utopia. 

Brienne worries that she and her boyfriend have changed since moving to Carroll Gardens -- and not for the better:

Caleb and I have been transformed.  It’s like the f*cking body snatchers over here.  We’ve gone from being fun people to being uptight white yuppies.  Next thing you know, and I’ll be running a corporation while Caleb stays at home and plays nanny with our two adorable children named Edith and Jerome. 

(I'm not sure about those names.  A boy named Jerome would definitely get his lunch money stolen every day in just about any school in the country.)

Brienne and Caleb with their white yuppie car
Brienne and Caleb have few secrets from their upstairs neighbors:

[O]ur upstairs neighbors have] heard all of the fights that Caleb and I have had.  They know all of our darkest secrets.  Until you live in an apartment in an old building in New York, you have no idea what intimacy really means.  They hear us when we f*ck.  They hear us when we fight about money. They hear what television programs we watch, and they can smell what we cook when our friends come over.

Of course, Brienne knows all their secrets as well:

Sometimes, in the bathroom, we could hear them fighting through the air vent.  “Maybe we should walk the dog,” I heard her say one day.

“Maybe I’m taking a sh*t on the toilet,” he said.

Things went from bad to worse when Brienne's Yorkie, Franke, got loose one day and went for the neighbor:

The turning point in our relationship with them came when the girl upstairs walked through the front door just as we were putting on Franke’s collar to take her for a walk.  Franke ran straight for her leg, and latched on hard. “Franke!” we screamed. “Franke!”

Brienne with Franke
When we finally got her unattached, we apologized profusely.  “I’m so sorry,” we said.  Apologizing for Franke is a routine we’ve rehearsed many times before, considering she bites f*cking everyone we’ve ever known.

“It’s not a big deal,” she said in a chilling tone.  To my ears, it sounded like: “I f*cking hate you.” 

Brooklyn-style dog
Actual dog
Now let's continue our conversation with Brienne Walsh:

2 or 3 lines: Brienne, you know how much I enjoy reading your blog, A Brie Grows in Brooklyn.  Speaking of blogs, I know you're a huge fan of 2 or 3 lines.  In your opinion, what is it exactly that makes 2 or 3 lines so special?  Don't hold anything back -- be honest!

Brienne:  I love 2 or 3 lines because even though we've never met, you seem like you're middle-aged, and you still love hip hop!  It's sort of awesome!

[NOTE:  I'm sure Brienne meant that answer to be complimentary, but it is  depressing.  I'm not middle-aged, I'm old -- or, as Brienne might put it, "f*cking old" -- so I should be happy to be described as middle-aged.  But I'm not happy to be described that way.  I'm not happy at all.]

2 or 3 lines:  There are a lot of interesting female rappers out there today -- most of whom are even  dirtier than their male counterparts.  You introduced me to Iggy Azalea, whose song "Work" was the subject of the previous 2 or 3 lines.  Iggy looks a little like Gwen Stefani, but I think her rap style is more reminiscent of Nicki Minaj.  Are you a fan of Nicki's?

Nicki Minaj
Brienne:  My favorite female rap moment is Nicki Minaj rapping on Kanye West's track "Monster."  I'm also into Azaelia Banks's "Harlem Shakes" video.  I aspire to twerk like her in that video.

2 or 3 lines:  What other music are you listening to these days?  You like new stuff, old stuff . . . ?

Brienne:  I'm listening to Kanye West's Yeezus and the Solange EP right now. [NOTE: Solange Knowles is Beyoncé's younger sister.]   The rest of it, I won't tell you, because it's too embarrassing.  I have terrible taste in music. 

2 or 3 lines:  Final question.  Where do you envision your writing career going in the future?  Where do you see Brienne Walsh in ten years?

Brienne:  I want to write for the New Yorker.  I want to be Joan Didion.  I want to be David Sedaris.  I want to be Julie Hecht.  I want to be James Salter.  I think I can do it as long as I don't sabotage myself emotionally.  I have the luck of the Irish on my side. 

Novelist James Salter
2 or 3 lines:  Oops, I almost forgot.  I want to ask you about Kim Kardashian -- I know you find her fascinating, and so do I.  Plus I need an excuse to insert this pic, which always does wonder for my page view numbers.

You once wrote this about Kim:  "It’s no secret that I love Kim Kardashian. I love her so much I made a nickname for her: Kimmy K.  I love her so much, I check her Instagram up to 50 times a day.  I love her so much that if she doesn’t leave the house, I know it, and want to call 311 in New York to ask them why."

What is it about Kim that is so intriguing to you?

Brienne:  For that, I will refer you to my Kim Kardashian post.

She's hot but struggles with things that the average girl struggles with -- weight, dressing for her body, criticism, bad relationships. I guess she is average in all ways, except for the fact that she's gorgeous and extremely famous. 

2 or 3 lines:  Brienne, thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed for 2 or 3 lines.  If you ever want to interview me for the Village Voice, or feature 2 or 3 lines on the Huffington Post, just ask -- always happy to do you a solid!

Brienne:  It was my pleasure, and I can't wait to interview you considering that I just found out that you're a famous lawyer, and friend of the guys at Rap Genius.

"Monster" was the third single from Kanye West's 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart and sold almost half a million copies in the first week after it was released.  Many critics ranked it as the best album of 2010 on their year-end lists.

Baby papa Kanye, baby mama Kim
"Monster" brings together an impressive group of musicians -- in addition to Kim Kardashian's baby papa, Kanye West, it features Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and the larger-than-life Nicki Minaj.

Nicki was a relatively new artist when "Monster" was released.  In fact, at the time this song was recorded, she had yet to release an album of her own. 

But she had proved in her guest appearances on other rappers' songs -- like Ludacris's "My Chick Bad" and "Bottoms Up," by Trey Songz -- that she could steal the show in just one verse.  As she says in "Monster,"

So let me get this straight
Wait -- I'm the rookie?
But my features and my shows ten times your pay?
Fifty K for a verse, no album out

Kanye didn't let egos get in the way of talent when it came to assigning verses to the rappers who contributed to "Monster."  He let Nicki anchor "Monster" over established superstars like Jay-Z and himself, which is a tribute to his musical perspicacity.

Nicki absolutely pones all the other featured artists on "Monster."  She crushes them.  

Click here to listen to "Monster":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

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