Classic Rap Vintage Vol. I - The Opera instillation

Alain-Patrick Umucyo By Alain-Patrick Umucyo, 29th Nov 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Music>Hip-Hop & Rap

Rarely the occasion is given to sense an opera flavour instilled into a rap song. But when it is, the result feels like glimpses of gold beaming through the ears. In the classic model, the opera tone gives a halo of grandeur to the whole piece. Some producers have taken it to another level though. They used the opera samples to distinguish their work as out-of-time classics.

1 The classic model

The greatest XXIst century example of the shining fusion of opera and rap is the Inkredible (remix) as appeared on Jadakiss' 2011 mixtape I Love You (A Dedication To My Fans)(1).The piece features Rick Ross and Trae Tha Truth. The exalting opera tone opening sets a high level of grandeur to serve the solid trio of rappers.

On Undefeated(2), the opera also comes first. This time, the French origin of the classical piece is distinguishable. That fine French taste for everything good explodes against the heavily trap-inspired composition and interpretation to produce a sense of pure madness. The minds are insane and the insanity seems to be excited by the continuous opera sample.

However this classic European genre can also support a message of wisdom. This is well rendered with Dernier MC. The rapper spills verses questioning political matters in his home country. The credibility and gravity which are so easily associated with the opera genre inflate the flow and the lyrics into a mind-blowing experience.

The classic model of opera instilled into rap tends to maintain the two genres detachable. When the instillation becomes a blending, then the classic model is transcended.

2 The !llmind transition

!llmind is the producer who has best proven to understand the quality of a composition mixing both opera and hip-hop. He showcased his mastery in the impeccable Re-Up Gang Motivation(3) as appeared on Pusha T's 2013 mixtape Wrath of Caine(4). In accordance with the classic model, the opera sample comes right at the start. However it sounds literally beaten out by both the tempo and the robust flow. The blending is occurring yet not perfect enough. Indeed, it is still possible to untangle the opera from the rap.

On the quest for the perfect blend, !llmind gave a more extended part to the opera sample. Carnival of Venice(5) gives space to the classical genre, in the beginning again. This 2013 piece featured as an intro on Ryan Leslie's Black Mozart(6). Thus the extended classical beginning is on point. It leads the listener into the Black Mozart experience, classic, timeless. Notwithstanding, what arises in Carnival of Venice is an understanding of the absolute aesthetic of art.

The absolute aesthetic of colour is white because white can support and encompass any colour. The absolute aesthetic of sound is silence because into (and from) silence can be envisaged all the sounds imaginable. The absolute aesthetic of hip-hop is the absence of beat, thus letting any beat being produced. This was magnificently rendered the same year as Carnival of Venice on Lil' Wayne's IANAHB. Again it is an intro. This time however, the beat was inexistent. Replaced by a piano solo, the production left Wayne and its flow make up for the lack of conventional hip-hop production. The whole piece remains unequivocally a rap song though.

It took !llmind another year to confirm his inspiration and go along the path engendered by IANAHB. The instrumental God sounds more like hip-hop instilled into Gregorian style music than reverse. The perfect blending has yet to be reached however. !llmind remains a transitional act between the classic model and the transcending rendition.

3 The transcending Kanye West

Before the classic model could be distinguished, Kanye West imposed his pioneering style. On the 2007 Can't tell me nothing, he crafted a production imprinted with genius. Regarding the form, the introduction of the song is given by West himself but the real opening to the rap piece is the trembling opera-like sample that comes right after. This way of opening by the opera and instilling it all along the song is the hallmark of the classic model that spawned numerous productions in the years after 2007 up until now. But a real genius has no competition and Kanye West proved it in 2011.

On Illest motherfucker alive, as appeared on Kanye West and Jay-Z' 2011 Watch the Throne (Deluxe Edition), Mr West placed the conventional hip-hop production supreme over the opera. The classical genre is still present nevertheless. It is so perfectly blended into the whole rap piece that only after two or three listens it is possible to notice it, elevating the last verse of Jay-Z to an exhilarating apotheosis.

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  • Front cover : Housofchy . 17 November 2014. Instagram. <> accessed 29 November 2014.
  • Back cover : Thejhonniblaze . 17 November 2014 Instagram. <> accessed 29 November 2014.

(1)JADAKISS. I Love You (A Dedication To My Fans) . 21 May 2011. Mixtape Torrent. <> accessed 29 November 2011

(2)ZIP K & OG MACO. Undefeated . 31 October 2014. SoundCoud. <> accessed 29 November 2014

(3)PUSHA T & AB LIVA. Re-Up Gang Motivation . 29 January 2013. SoundCloud. <> accessed 29 November 2014

(4)PUSHA T. Wrath of Caine . 28 January 2013. Mixtape Torrent. <> accessed 29 November 2014

(5)RYAN LESLIE. Carnival of Venice . 11 June 2014. SoundCloud. <> accessed 29 November 2014

(6)RYAN LESLIE. Black Mozart . 11 June 2014. SoundCloud. <> accessed 29 November 2014

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