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Dayum! You're good! Do you write for music mags cause you sure nuff should...from this thorough Frere-up-Mairahs-butt fry to your Prince your Remy review, rant and reveal of some serious sis emcees (Jean Grae being my fav) its all so thought provoking and honest...we need folk like you at the major mags...a refreshing, learned voice amongst all the ass-kissing and smug-know-it-allness (my own word) and how the hell did you even know to reference Lo-Key 'I Got A Thang Fo Ya'?!?! And Stevie B!?!? LMAO! Keep up the good bruh!

PS I don't know what I'd do without your ANTM & Project Runway recaps!


Isn't the "Breakdown"/"We Belong Together"/"Say My Name" double time vocals over slow jam tempos just a reaction to the rap ballad? The eternal 12 year old breaking out her old LL Cool J rap ballad mixtapes and paying homage...

Law Diva 1908

Okay seriously you should try to freelance for music magazines, think Toure'...on another note can't wait for your to comment on Duh Gina yesterday!


I'm glad someone else recognizes how great the song Breakdown was/is. When it first came out, I was really surprised at how coldly it was received by pop radio. Do you remember the extreme fish-eye lens in the video? I love you Rich.

god, i hate sascha frere-jones. he always has at least two inaccuracies in his articles and acts like he discovered bands like the clash.

Claire Keaveney

Another great post! I just read the Mariah Carey profile in the New Yorker last night. Beats those three-part profiles of obscure midwestern archbishops the New Yorker used to do back in the day. I kind of miss those rambling, pointless, impeccably well written pieces, though.

Rich, I am dying to know -- do you write professionally? are/were you an academic? or are you just a prodigiously talented amateur with way too much free time?



I'm so glad you brought up Breakdown. Butterfly was Mariah at her best; she really sounds like she is having fun. By fat [ha! i wrote "fat" instead of "far" accidentally] the most creative thing she has released, its worth the price just for that 3 minute Butterfly reprise insanity.


I dont't agree with this potion of the article.....

"Nor does her "idea" (that's the word Frere-Jones uses) that R&B/pop should include guest rappers. Disciples of Mariah like to paint her as a pioneer for asking ODB to spit on Diddy's remix of "Fantasy." Sure, it was an unexpected move from someone whom, up to that point, you could listen to with your mom. But mostly, it was just a realization of hip-hop's inevitable saturation and takeover of pop music. All this on top of the fact that it wasn't even the first of such pairings. For example, in 1989, Jody Watley teamed up with Rakim for "Friends". Watley was almost the same sort of boundary-dodging diva as Mariah (except the kind of pop that Watley intertwined with R&B wasn't showy balladry, but the watered-down boogie of dance-pop). The ODB-Mariah collabo resulted in a great record, perhaps Carey's finest, but the fantasizing is best left to her."

*While Mariah was not the first to do that, she was the first to do it and make it a world-wide smash hit, and then intergrate into her music from then on. Most of the pop artist who did this b-4 her did it once for the novelty factor, they didnt do it wanting to make it a part of there music on a regular basis.

Penny Woods

All I have to add is that I love this post, dahling.


All I know is that I went to fat camp with Tommy Mattola's son back when they were togther, and she refused to visit because "all the fat kids depressed her."

I think she might have been frightened of something that hit a little close to home. Good times.

Johnny Chicago

Q & A with the blog reporters:


What, THIS RAVING BITCH??? Only chicks and queers, that's who...


Because they would both suck a dirty cock a mile long on their knees for some drama. And shoes.


uh... uh... I think... uh...



< < < end of interview > > >


LMAO. By God Rich, I think...I think I'm N LUV WIT YOU! (But not because you're a stripper - that's 2nd). My mom would love you too bc NOBODY mentions Minnie Ripperton when they mention MC's predecessors. My mom is really DYING for her to redo a Minnie song...although w/ her voice going to hell, who knows if that'll ever happen. *Cough Whitney w/o the crack cough* But omg Rich...this is f'ing amazing sir. Hats off to you!

Secondly, lmao @ MC for being depressed @ fat camp. Whoever said that was right, I think it DOES hit a little close to home for her...that or Tommy Mottola would have been quick to send her to keep her in top shape!

Can't wait for an ANTM recap...


I don't think that I've ever heard the aesthetic of "One In A Million" described as "futurism." One of the samples is actually the "empty mailbox" sound on Macs, no?

I guess Missy Elliott's "The Rain" ( 1997 ) exudes the futurism character. How would Madonna's "Bedtime Stories" ( 1994 ) or Portishead's "Humming" ( 1997 ) filter into / live next to this idea?


Dear Rich,
I love you and I love, love, love fourfour! I love how smart you are. I love how knowledgable you are about pop culture and music. I love the way you know when stuff is crazy bullshit but you love it anyway for the crazy bullshit that it is (paging Basic Instinct II - every time I see Sharon Stone schilling for the upcoming trainwreck I think of you and think "oh. my. god. I hope to God Rich writes about this.")
All the previous posts are right - if you are not already a professional writer you should be. You are a rare combination of intelligent, TOTALLY down wit it, audacious, the perfect amount of reverent and irreverent, thoughtful (in the truest sense of the word), warm-hearted, SHARP and mother-fucking funny.
All my love,


I love The New Yorker jumping on the bandwagon of OMG THIS IS MARIAH'S ERA OF GREATNESS 4EVA!!! like a day late and a dollar short. Figures.

Cocoa Girl

Yes, I agree with the comment that you should write music (if ya don't already).

We need someone great and fabulous to dethrone that [fill in the blank] named Toure.

You are an amazing writer wow


I agree that "Breakdown" was the first R&B song which made use of the fast singing that is inspired by hip hop music. Specifically, it is inspired by old Jay-Z and Bone Thugs...I wouldn't say it is a result of all rap music. Mariah has obviously revolutionized this style. Destiny's Child's entire sound is based on it. What's fascinating is that Mariah still uses this sound and has improved on it. Just listen to the special edition Mimi album. The track "So Lonely" is comparable to "Breakdown" in the sense that Mariah mimics Twista's style. And I was wondering when they would finally pair up.

Also, I have to disagree about the Fantasy Remix pairing of R&B and hip hop. Like Erica stated, this song was so influential to pop music in general. It turned the whole R&B genre around, and popularized the hip hop R&B combo. However, I would also add that artists like Mary J. Blige and TLC also contributed to this. ("Waterfalls" followed "Fantasy" though, I recall, and was very influential as well).

wheres the antm update.


Rich you are f'ing terrific...I think Mariah's first cd and Butterfly were her best joints...The Emanicipation of Mimi is pretty damn good too....

Mariah certaintly wasn't the first to pair R&B/Hip Hop...when she was locked down at Tommy's house, you had Mary J. and Grand Puba together; SWV (anything remix); let's not dig out the hits of the G-funk era (i.e. Above the Rim, Warren G, Snoop)

Shoot even MC Hammer had B Angie B.... Oaktown's 357...

man don't take me back to the late 80s early 90s...that New Jack Swing....

Remember Heavy D and Silk (Got Me Waiting Remix); Al B. Sure and Heavy D (Love Me For Me); Toni Tony Tone w/ Mercedes (Feels Good)



I remember hearing "Shake It Off" and thinking, "Oh wow, that sounds just like 'Breakdown'." I loved "Breakdown", I mean who can beat a portrayal of a casino whore blowing on someone's dice with a scary looking drag queen in the background? Heeeey.


love it love it love it


I'm am completely indifferent to Mariah and her music, but I just read two articles about her because a.) I love your writing, and b.) I had to read this F-J dude's thing after yours.


sasha frere jones and kalefa sanneh are both shitty journalists and obviously didn't grow up listening to the music they write about all the time now.

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