Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Verse of the week – N.O.R.E. ‘Drink Champ’

Verse of the week – 2007 week 26 – N.O.R.E. ‘Drink Champ’

Hang in there, N.O.R.E.

I tend to want to give NORE credit for the dumb-ass ignorant shit he raps, feeling he’s playing a cannier role than his peers, laughing with us, at himself. Certainly, his lowbrow concerns make a good match for his heavy-handed, slightly-clumsy vocal style. ‘Drink Champ’ is that dumb shit, no doubt. It’s off his new Green Lantern mixtape, the eye-rollingly-titled Cocaine on Steroids, which marks a return to gully club-rap after a commercially unsuccessful flirtation with reggaeton. And why not? NORE was mixing aggression, drug talk, futuristic beats and straight-up foolishness years before it became the industry standard. Nothing in the past few years has topped, erm, ‘Nothin’ in that respect. This tape isn’t spectacular, but it’s decent fun. ‘Drink Champ’ isn’t the dumbest moment: that comes in ‘Shame On You’ when NORE rhymes “rich thug” with “keep it gutter – take a shit in the strip club”. But it’s pretty stupid.

It’s not a great verse or a particularly memorable track, though the Alchemist’s Axel Foley-esque beat is nice enough. It’s partly reflective of a new penchant for storytelling which doesn’t really suit NORE’s style: he has a childish sort of “and then … and then … and then” approach to narrative on several tracks on this tape, and ‘Drink Champ’ has that list-song feel. NORE managed one great story-song, ‘Body In The Trunk’, which worked because his panicky, disjointed response to the dramatic situation contrasted nicely with Nas’ controlled, seamless flow.

But ‘Drink Champ’ is remarkable in being one of very few hip hop tracks that extol the many virtues of heavy drinking (and, in this case, the more frattish sub-genre of competitive drinking). Aside from the Alkaholiks’ career, and the odd contribution from the likes of ODB and Lil’ Jon, alcohol seems only to appear in rap when MCs pour out a little to the memory of their dead homies, or when they’ve inked promotional deals (in which case, understandably, the social status of their chosen liquor is prioritised over its paralytic potential).

It’s also interesting as a new sort of diss track. NORE foregoes gunplay (and the pretence that beef really ought to mean anything), calling out a whole host of rappers whom, he claims, he could drink under the table (or has done). I, for one, am pleased to know that NORE has hit the laughing water with E-40, Prodigy, Archbishop Don Magic Juan and the Pope (apparently), that keeps Pinot Grigio in his studio (classy!), and that the Hot Boy$ once threw him off his game through the presentation of a pork-laden pizza. If all rap beef was settled by rounds of ladyboy chasers, the world would be a more entertaining place.

N.O.R.E. – ‘Drink Champ’

Ayo tequila ain’t nothing to the iron livered dude
Drink on an empty stomach I don’t need food
We could go shot for shot, it don’t matter kid
You can pick the liquor, n***a, shit don’t matter kid
But I don’t drink that hypnotic bullshit
That ain’t a man’s drink, the alize is bullshit
Ask my n***a Prodigy how I go out
He was drinking at my studio and nearly fell out
And E-40 man I had ill nights with
Gallons of carterazzi burning down light shit
Drink stop? Nope. Smoke stop? Nope.
I’m an ill n***a drink red wine with the Pope
Do the drunk-man dance, yeah I’m on that same shit
I been drinking Henny since
Cam was Untertainment
So we can drink up, take your mink up
Guaranteed throwing it up and hit your sink up

Ayo I drunk it up with Beans, now Siegel drink well
Sonar studios hard bodied the ???? ­­­­­­
Now BIG’s Hoffa, he’s the one to beat
Remember this a drinking game ain’t no way to cheat
And I can drink different kinds, whatever’s the shit
In the session with Lil’ Jon I think I made him quit
And Bishop Don Juan said “NORE, no more!”
In his LA apartment – Snoop was there – he can vouch for me
And I had the weed lady leave the house with me
Mariah Carey know: NORE go-go
In my studio bottles of Pinot Grigio
See my liver half-Spanish, the other half black
Drinking with Kevin Hart, he almost caught a heart attack
New York streets that I’m always on
Drunk – I gots to battle with Shyne and Mike Zorn
So any night out, we can play the strike-out.

More fun:

NORE (feat. 3-6 Mafia) – ‘That Club Shit’

Cocaine Blunts has an offensively stupid NORE interview from back in the day.


Alan gets his ladyboy on.

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