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"Victory Laps"

[Nature Sounds; 2011]

By ; August 10, 2011 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Although Watch the Throne may be the most public and anticipated hip hop collaboration this year, it’s the long-rumored partnership of DOOM and Ghostface Killah that has my interest. The two enigmatic emcees have a brief history together, dating back to 2006 when DOOM produced a few tracks for Ghostface’s Fishscale. Since then the two have worked together on the Sniperlite EP, the creation of the theme song for 2009’s GTA: Chinatown Wars, all the while working silently on this DOOMSTARKS collaboration. It’s been hinted at for 5 years now, so the arrival of “Victory Laps” is more than welcome, but it has a large legend to live up to.

And for the most part, it makes good on hype it has gathered. Sadly, however, the way in which the track was delivered could have been handled more professionally. Sure, rewarding loyal DOOM fans with a cassette of the Madvillainz remix of “Victory Laps” is pretty great marketing, but it also means hearing the remix of the song before hearing the original, and for myself, that’s a big problem. What happens is that I immediately mistake the remix with for the original each time, and in the case of “Victory Laps,” it’s the superior version as well, causing a strange case of misappropriation.

Strange music habits aside, as my case certainly doesn’t apply to every listener, “Victory Laps” is a characteristically spectacular showing from both artists. It takes not five seconds for DOOM’s throaty vocals to manifest into an idiosyncratic pattern that only the villain himself could pull off, flowing seamlessly into Ghostface’s verse. “Prepare your vest for the victory laps,” spits Ghostface on his only verse of the track, another reminder that these to rap veterans can bring the heat when necessary. The track’s beat is nothing game-changing, but the simple keyboard loop and drum kicks are an elegant canvas upon which these masked men make their mark. The Madvillainz remix of “Victory Laps” remains my favorite, adding a vocal sample to beginning of the track and creating an even more simplified beat, placing the spotlight on these two incredibly gifted rappers.

“Poems ringing in his dome” begins DOOM’s final line on the track, a sign that this is only the beginning from DOOMSTARKS this year, and if “Victory Laps” is any indication, Swift & Changeable will be worth the wait. And despite my rather odd problem of telling each version apart, similar as they are, both the original and the Madvillainz remix are spectacular.


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