No question that Kanye and Jigga’s “Otis” is one of the hottest joints out right now. Also no question that the beat, which chops up one of the soul singer referenced in the title’s biggest hits (“Try a Little Tenderness”), is sick. Of course, that has emcees everywhere jumping on top of the beat for their own freestyles. The most noteworthy-actually, newsworthy makes better sense-is a version by Busta Rhymes & DMX.
Dark Man X has been in and out of jail so many times I’ve not only lost count but couldn’t even tell you how long it’s been since his most recent release. And Busta should definitely be singing “there but for the grace of God (and good lawyers) go I” in reference to his own legal troubles. DMX, never the greatest of technical emcees, sounds like his usual self on the crowd, and Busta is as animated as ever. Here’s the problem:
DMX is 40. Busta Rhymes is 39. At what point do you outgrow the gun talk and the glorifying of violence and prison life? And at what point does artistic growth come into play? DMX has been spittin’ the SAME shit now for the past fifteen years. I would imagine hip-hop fans are tired of that shit by now. Who are they appealing to anyway? Hard rocks generally don’t live to X and Busta’s ages, or they’re already locked up. The younger generation has obviously grown tired of “gangsta” rap (not that I really consider either of these two dudes to be gangsta rappers), as evidenced by the success of artists like Drake, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, etc.
Ultimately, this revised version of “Otis”, comes across more as a sad commentary on the state of arrested black male adolescence than it does a bangin’ hip-hop joint by two cats who should know better. Given the last decade or so in each rapper’s career, I guess I shouldn’t be satisfied, but DAMN…this is disappointing.