Wednesday, September 3, 2008

No. 1 Single Reviews: "Whatever You Like" by T.I.

"Hot wings, baby, do you have any?"

And so begins the greatest musical romance of the year. What's even going on here? In the video for T.I.'s "Whatever You Like", he stops into a fast food joint and flirts with the cashier. They flirt, he passes her his number, and we see them out on the town. But, as we find out in a surprise twist ending, the girl daydreamed the phone number, and in reality it was just a one-hundred dollar bill¹ to pay for the grub. So we get the poor chicken-pusher hallucinating herself starring in a hip-hop video as T.I. openly raps about being a sugar daddy ("a rich, usually older man who offers money or gifts to a less rich, usually younger person in return for companionship or sexual favors" - Wikipedia.)

Recap: to escape the drudgery of pushing cheap, greasy meals, she dreams of being exploited by a rapper in return for sex. Not only is the message that this is what young girls should dream of, but that they will never actually have it and be forced to pretend.

Silly if you think about it, but the song is too slick to give you the free time. It's really the beat that carries it. There are synths that approximate the tone and timing of stabbed strings, which gives it a vaguely classical feel that clashes just right with the thick synthlines and thumping bass hits (not quite "What You Know" epic, but suitably reminiscent.)

Although there are no clever rhymes, and T.I. is merely serviceable rapping about the good life, the delivery is smooth and sing-songy at all the right times, and the superficiality slips past. His high notes are sweet and insincere, and just about right for a shallow come-on. Nothing essential, but catchy and sleek enough to work as a No. 1 for a week, sure

¹ a.k.a. "Benjamin."

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