Pop,  Video

Kanye’s updated Billie Jean

For the 25th anniversary of Thriller, the reissued CD includes some contemporary versions by the likes of the ubiquitous, overrated and overhyped Will.i.am, Fergie, Akon, and Kanye West. Ol’ Kanye offers up “Billie Jean 2008”. After hearing it, all I have to say is: “Wow!” Like, “Wow, what a piece of shit!” Adding a signature Kanye beat and uttering a couple of “Uh Uh”s is talent? They thought this would enhance the reissue of one of the greatest albums in music history? Not to these ears.

It made me think of the Live Earth performance where Kanye joined the Police for “Message in a Bottle”. It made me think of the awards show (AMA’s or Grammys?) where Jay-Z barked in on Paul McCartney & Linkin Park singing “Yesterday”.

Maybe it’s cross-genre synergy they’re shooting for, but it does nothing to showcase the talents of a good rapper / MC. Watch these, and tell me, does screaming “Yeah” and “Uh Huh” overĀ  otherwise great tracks enhance them in any way? Are there really people out there who hear & see these who think to themselves: “Woww, Kanye/Jay-Z is a genius, man!!”

I don’t get it.

“Billie Jean 2008” (Kanye West Remix)



  • Michael

    At the risk of sounding like one of the Kanye ‘sheep’, I didn’t hate it. I’m pretty sure that MJ held the reigns REAL tight over these guys and Kanye’s “Uhh Uhh” was the only way he could identify his mix.

    I do agree on Will.I.Am … while I do like the Black Eyed Peas (in small doses) and I think that the work he did on Fergie’s record was decent (while contrived), his solo efforts are awful and his production of other artists is awful.

  • Gonzo

    A few things:

    1) This COULD have been a really interesting remix, purely based on the arrangement of the original. Each of those individual parts (bassline, beat, strings, vox, guitar lick) are so easily identifiable that someone could have done some really interesting rearrangement.

    2) This isn’t a really interesting remix or arrangement. It reminds me of so many remixes of pop tunes that they used to put on maxi singles in the 1990s. That is, uninventive.

    3) Kanye’s “uh huh” etc. – it makes me anticipate a rap. Which would be fine. But just dropping “uh huh uh huh” adds nothing to this, except to put his vocal thumbprint on the track.

    4) I think Kanye is overrated. That said, I don’t not like his own stuff. It just isn’t as mindblowingly creative as everyone seems to think. He picks some really weird samples, and his music is fun, but I can’t get into it beyond that. I think he’s a good producer, but I’m basing that on the Common album, which might have more to do with Common than Kanye.

    5) There is nothing interesting on this reissue that makes me want to buy it over the LAST time they reissued it.

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