Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes – Look at Me Now

Trouser party!


Alfred Soto: Ooh — “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” for rap has-beens!

Al Shipley: It’s sad that it took a couple of hapless verses by overexposed bores to get a vintage Busta Rhymes doubletime flow over a wacky beat on the radio like it’s the late ’90s all over again.

Josh Langhoff: If you let Busta openly mock you on your own song, does that qualify as remorse? Busta’s verse is impressive and empty like “Flight of the Bumblebee”, like a DragonForce guitar solo, like the Micro Machine Man only now he’s selling Chris Brown music. Well, it might work — Busta and Wayne and the sparse Afrojack beat make this thing POP on the radio, and what with this and “Beautiful People” I’ve a sinking feeling I might end up liking Brown’s album. Best line: Wayne’s assonance-destroying “My Momma’s nice and my Dad is DEAD.” Second best: “I’m done.”

Asher Steinberg: There isn’t much to say. Busta sounds as energized as he has in many years, Wayne about as energized as he has in two years, Chris Brown acquits himself about as well as the average Travis Porter member (which is to say, not too badly at all), the beat’s terrific, with plenty of open space for Busta to roam over, there’s a catchy hook that works in the context of the song. Extremely commercial rap used to be this well-executed all the time, but today that’s rare, making this song a bit of an event.

Doug Robertson: Being bored of braggadocio is now at the stage where even being bored of it has become boring. Still, Busta Rhymes puts in a good effort, so this isn’t entirely a waste of our time, despite what little value Chris puts on it.

Ian Mathers: There are so many reasons this asshole shouldn’t have even the shadow of a career right now. But at least he’s gracious in his relative victory.

Zach Lyon: It’s a weird and entirely unique radio-listening experience when your first instinct is to go for the dial, because the song is being performed by a little shit that doesn’t deserve a lick of repentance, and then realizing that your hand is slowing down, and then having a moment of “oh God I can’t stop this”. At this point, I’ve given in completely, though my hand still does a little twitch when it comes on. I didn’t have as much trouble listening to a bit of “No BS,” because I mark out for Tha Bizness and I was happy they had a hit (and Brown was all but invisible) or for “Yeah 3x” because I always forget what song it is until the chorus. Supposedly, the big difference between the F.A.M.E. singles and all the other post-Rihanna ones is the fact that they no longer seem to be directly inspired by that night, or they at least lack the accidentally disgusting lyrics that bring it to mind. Lately it’s just been Chris Brown sitting back, becoming anonymous, and letting all his friends in the industry make him a bigger star than he ever was before everyone hated him. The problem with “Look at Me Now” is that none of that applies. It still IS a song about Rihanna and it’s the most confrontational one he’s written yet, and it peaked in popularity about a week before another big personality-exposing incident (YES, LOOK AT YOU NOW, YOU’RE THROWING CHAIRS LIKE A BABY). He plays himself up as the villain rather than the absent nobody he was playing before, and he doesn’t do it without some quality effort — yes, he’s overshadowed by rest of the song, but his involvement here isn’t a detriment. I’d like to add “in a vacuum” to the end of that sentence, but we’re not in a vacuum and I still enjoy his verse. Maybe I (and others) overrate it because of the taboo? Or because I never expected quality from him again? I don’t know. I try not to get down on myself about it, even as The Self-Righteous Guy with the Annoying Opinions about Odd Future, but the guilt is there, and maybe that’s just a part of the listening experience. Maybe the taboo is still there somewhere for much of the masses that have made this a top ten hit, or maybe I’m just hoping.

10 Responses to “Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes – Look at Me Now”

  1. This is the first Chris Brown single that’s really made me take pause and think about my general stance on Brown’s post-abuse career, which has been a non-issue since everything he’s done since then (including overrated Yeah 3x) has been forgettable or worse. But I turned on the radio at the end of the Brown verse and chuckled at it, and was then floored by Busta and seriously amused by Lil’ Wayne, and the beat was charming. Until now I assumed it was Cali Swag District or something. I don’t think I disagree with anything Al said, actually, except I’d give it at least a 7, maybe an 8.

  2. “Yeah 3X” is overrated? We didn’t even review it here and I don’t know anyone else besides me that likes it!

  3. also: once again, don’t have the slightest idea what Alfred is saying

  4. Busta’s like the drum solo, right?

  5. Three creatively depleted half-wits enthusiastically flexing their muscles; and, yeah, Busta’s the drum solo.

  6. Yeah 3X is super-generic but I kind of like it, esp. the part where he goes ‘yeah’ 3 times. It’s very much like a lesser ‘Forever.’

    I don’t agree that this song is about or directed towards Rihanna. ‘Deuces,’ much more so. But even if it were, I think I’d kind of relish a venomous Rihanna diss. Morality’s only an issue to me in music where I feel the listener (or imagined listener, in Church’s ‘Homeboy’) is being manipulated, or where a lousy morality is being cloaked under the veil of some good and/or condescending intention, or where the artist’s morality is unimaginative.

  7. Alfred remind me to never ask you to explain yourself again.

  8. Mat tipped me off to this: go to :07-:08 of the video, and the guy standing to the far left in hoodie and cap is Korean producer Teddy Park, whose credits include GD&TOP’s “High High,” among other things. I have no clue what the significance of his being in the video is, or how it happened. “Look At Me Now” producer Diplo also produced a track for GD&TOP, so that’s a connection, though doesn’t really throw any more light on this.

  9. Um, I tend to think that there is no significance of anyone’s being in any video. People who know each other appear in each other’s videos. Though I did think it was funny that Brandy, a vehicular manslaughterer, has a little moment with Chris Brown, a vehicular batterer, in the ‘Beautiful People’ video. Commiserating over each other’s run-ins with the law, I guess.

  10. Wasn’t Brandy found innocent though?