Monday, March 28

Underground Hip Hop from 'The Wire'

"Let's see how he plays it."

The HBO Series 'The Wire' does everything right. The producers pay great attention to detail.  Most of the music in the series is diagetic (meaning the characters can hear it) which adds to its realist approach. Take for example, the scene where Stink-um is driving to a deal, blasting music from his SUV while the cops are staking him out.  The music pans from left to right when the car drives by and pauses when Herc snaps the surveillance photo.  They must have had mics all over the place, because the volume changes the further away the camera is from Stink-um's car.  
    The song from this scene is surprisingly intelligent too. Analyze is held tightly together by a crisp snare beat and a dead serious electric piano loop. The loop is simple so you can focus on the lyrics to pick up some insider tips on making your product last (i.e. lacing cocaine with baking soda).

  Blake Leyh, the Wire's music curator, sourced all the hip hop featured in the series from underground groups within Baltimore.   So it's not a jump to say that real inner city drug dealers could have actually been listening to this song while making a drug drop.  The show continues to blur the lines of reality even after it went off the air. Earlier this month everyone's favorite assassin, Snoop (aka Felicia Pearson), was arrested in an actual drug raid.

It's all in the game.

The Sharpshooter's Analyze

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