Featuring: Pusha T, CyHi da Prynce & Keri Hilson

For all of Kanye West’s experimentation over the past few weeks, he may have lost his knack for putting together a banging club jam. “Take One For The Team” may be first dance floor-batting track Ye has offered over the course of his GOOD Friday experiment. He has just about everything he needs for it too: a dirty beat (an oddly anachronistic beat-box loop), cool, ring-tone ready key part, R&B chanteuse wailing, solid, syrupy southern verses from Pusha T and my new favorite rapper CyHi da Prynce; and he doesn’t know how to put the puzzle together.
This song should go down like a red-headed slut, but it’s more like a cement mixer/boilermaker: it’ll get you drunk, but it should be smooth and tasty (may have belabored that metaphor a bit). The beat, which has gotten some hate across the blogosphere, isn’t as bad as it could be, but it had the potential to resurrect a bygone movement and make it something which both honors the roots of hip-hop and looks to it’s future (which tends to be the finest thing art can do), instead it’s just sort of bumping along. The John Carpenter-aping key line is cool and it being accompanied by the low-end buzz may be “Take One’s” most successful element.
The verses are all good. Kanye’s been pretty steadily solid over the course of the fall, Pusha T is officially expected to register B+ verses on demand, Cyhi has a really enjoyable growl that makes almost anything he says seem cool and sound sharp. Keli Hilson, who should have been the star on “Take One,” has a nice verse too, but why the hell doesn’t she do the hook?!? Hilson has a great voice and the production and layering when she does her rendition of the hook is sweet. A club jam needs a chorus that you can shout or wail or just let loose with reckless abandon and the sharp, but calculated delivery of the hook is so matter of fact, no can loose their shit to it.
And Goddamnit, Kanye, why does every one of your damn songs HAVE to stretch past six minutes? What do we gain with you adlibing and scronking out a few notes on a synth? I know that complaint is probably starting to sound a bit repetitive, but so is Yeezy’s insistence that every damn song top out over six minutes!

Updated Rankings#:

1. “Christian Dior Denim Flow” (featuring: Pusha T, John Legend, Lloyd Banks, Kid Cudi & Ryan Leslie)
2. “Good Friday” (featuring: Common, Pusha T, Big Sean, Kid Cudi & Charlie Wilson)
3. “See Me Now” (featuring: Beyonce & Charlie Wilson)*
4. “Power”*
5. “Power (Remix)” (featuring: Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz)
6. “Runaway” (featuring: Pusha T)
7. “Monster” (featuring: Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj)
8. “Lord, Lord, Lord” (featuring: Mos Def, Raekwon, Swizz Beatz & Charlie Wilson)
9. “So Appalled” (featuring: Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, RZA & Cyhi the Prynce)
10. “Take One For The Team” (featuring: Pusha T, CyHi da Prynce & Keli Hilton)
11. “Don’t Stop” – Child Rebel Soldier
12. “Devil in a New Dress”

*Released prior to the GOOD Friday series, included because of the close proximity to the beginning of series

#As I said in a previous post, I won’t include “Runaway Love (Remix)” on the rankings because it’s so bad that it’s not fair to the other even middling tracks Kanye’s released lately.