(Featuring: Talib Kweli & Consequence)

GOOD Mondays have been a bit labored lately, if you haven’t noticed, and it just got harder with the leak of Kanye West’s fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; but I’mma soldier on. (He’s only going until Christmas, right?)
So Ye’s latest Tweeted offering is Q-Tip-produced “Chain Heavy,” a sticky bit of sci-fi-tinged soul. If Soul Train had a stop somewhere in Doctor Who’s neighborhood, this beat would be the result. If you’re not familiar, peep the classic Doctor Who theme song below:

Something akin to “Chain Heavy” was an eventuality when West announced this insane G.O.O.D. Friday undertaking.  Since Yeezy’s debut, 2004’s College Dropout, his conflicts between being a “backpacker” and blinging have been fodder for at least one song per album and bringing two of “conscious” hip-hop’s finest MC’s to bust it on a track called “Chain Heavy” is a total Kan move.
While the concept, and even the semi-ironic execution is not a surprise, that this song is this good is a bit of a curve ball. With four veterans on a track, things can get a bit flat, little too much money and success to really get your passion stoked for a free, “mixtape” track; but not here.This is the G.O.O.D. Friday sleeper. There’s no big debuts (Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, CyHi), no monster hooks, no super stars (Jay-Z, Beyonce), this is just confident rap from a bunch of confident, well-schooled rappers.
Q-Tip’s beat is a bit retro, but rather than feel stale it provides a nice propulsive bounce for three (nearly) old-school cats to spit on. Kanye, of course takes the leading role with at least 32 bars. Where this used to be a liability, West has come into his own. He’s learned how make his relatively mediocre flow pop. Yeezy has become a master of construction, a real writer. While he has often had the strongest couplets or disses on his tracks, he’s often been left in the dust of other more nimble MC’s. On “Chain Heavy,” and throughout most of this G.O.O.D. Friday experiment, Ye’s been flexing a bit of a frenetic flow, throwing in hints of melody and, especially on “Chain Heavy,” utilizing hard stops in favor of trying to switch up his cadence (which he’s had trouble with since he broke on the scene).
Talib Kweli’s verse doesn’t hammer anti-materialism like one may have thought. Kweli takes the chain idea and takes a stream of conscious trip through personal history with chains and various significant links in his chain. It’s an impressively loaded verse, we could be unpacking it for a few weeks. Consequence’s verse is a wonderfully playful. Con has laced the word chain or the idea of chains into almost every one of his lines. It’s certainly gimmicky, but it’s so expertly done and the quality of his narratives or couplets aren’t sacrificed for it. A little lesson in knowingly clever structure for the young’uns.
Just learned this is going to be an iTunes bonus on Ye’s new record, so hopefully people give the rhymes their due and unpack each MC’s loaded lines.

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. “Looking for Trouble” (featuring: Pusha T, CyHi da Prynce, Big Sean & J. Cole)
6. “Power (Remix)” (featuring: Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz)
7. “Runaway” (featuring: Pusha T)
8. “Monster” (featuring: Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj)
9. “Chain Heavy” (featuring: Talib Kweli & Consequence)
10. “The Joy” (featuring: Pete Rock, Jay-Z, Curtis Mayfield, Charlie Wilson & Kid Cudi)
11. “Don’t Look Down (The Phoenix Story)” (featuring: Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco & Big Sean)
12. “Lord, Lord, Lord” (featuring: Mos Def, Raekwon, Swizz Beatz & Charlie Wilson)
13. “Devil in a New Dress”
14. “So Appalled” (featuring: Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, RZA & Cyhi the Prynce)
15. “Don’t Stop” – Child Rebel Soldier
16. “Take One For The Team” (featuring: Pusha T, CyHi da Prynce & Keli Hilton)

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