Was just listening to Rome, Danger Mouse’s spaghetti western collabo with Danielle Luppi (vocals by Jack White and Norah Jones), and was reminded that I once did a blindfold test with Mr. Mouse (Brian Burton) and Damon Albarn around the time Gorillaz’ Demon Days dropped. Here’s their exchange after we spun some EPMD.
Danger Mouse: [after a minute or so]. It’s EPMD. You can tell from his voice, straight-up. I got into them from their singles. That was in the late ’80s, when I was getting all my hip-hop fed to me through my sister. I was listening to pop and hair metal at the time. I remember her talking about EPMD’s Erick Sermon, and the girls liking him when he was a little skinnier…’88 or so. I never disliked hip-hop, but I was into other stuff back then, trying to fit in – she and I went to different schools, did different things. I love EPMD’s simple delivery and monotone.
Damon: It sounds pretty contemporary, though.
Danger Mouse: It’s not unlike the way 50 Cent rhymes: very matter-of-fact. EPMD never get excited. Like Guru from Gangstarr. Straight ahead. Like 50.
Damon: Except he’s shit.
Danger Mouse: I don’t hate 50 Cent.
Damon: Yeah, ‘cause you’re scared of him. He’s got big muscles.
Danger Mouse: Nope, I love the idea that hip-hop has a record that everybody owns.
Damon: Well last year they had Eminem.
Danger Mouse: No way. That’s bull. That doesn’t cross over the racial barrier. Black people don’t buy [his stuff]. Even The Game’s record is [embraced by both races]. I don’t like his record that much, but I like the idea that so many people agree on it. Dre and Snoop was the last time that happened.
Damon: Yeah, but that was good. Well, “In da Club” was good, I guess. But you need more than one track. It’s all become so pompous.
Danger Mouse: I think MCs are doing the same things they always have, but I’m older now; they ain’t rappin’ to me. It’s not exciting to me. It’s for the same 12 – 24 year olds.