No, that is not a typo in the heading. You read correctly. This is One A Day’s favourite Chi Town export strutting his stuff on possibly the hottest single of the year but it is not, repeat not, a remix or a cover. Instead, what you hear below is Lupe demoing the Smeezingtons’ (possibly dumbest name in show business, an alias for Bruno Mars and songwriting partner Phillip Lawrence) track which was, if you listen to MTV originally slated for Fiasco and not his Atlantic Records stablemate, the now up-and-coming Bobby Ray. Considering the wave of success B.o.B. has ridden on the back of this track (a wave which has taken Mars with it too, as evidenced by his stellar performance on the new radio-friendly from ), he’s obviously owes his manager props for pulling rank and stealing this mega-hit from right under the nose of Lupe.
So what is it all about? Does the original live up to it’s successor? How does Lupe do things differently to the Atlanta singer/rapper originally signed by T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint? Will there be more rhetorical questions before any are answered? No. Essentially, while I got that stammering heartbeat I sometimes get watching the Google Chrome download bars slowly turn from clear to green and was possibly perspiring by the time all the megabytes had installed themselves cozily on my hard-drive, Lupe seems to be really taking it slow on this one. The most immediate differences are those of production: Bruno seems far more relaxed, Lupe seems to be thinking of what’s for dinner and the whole track is haunted by a sense of distracted preoccupation. That said, it still presents some of the vestiges (particularly the incredible chorus) that would come to mark B.o.B’s breakout single.
Most interesting for me in all of this is the fact that it is only so very rarely that we, as the music-buying public, get an insight into just how much work goes into producing the stuff we download, listen, sing, rap and dance to everyday. In an age in which hyper-production plagues the best of bands and artists, it’s refreshing to hear Lupe take such a blase approach to what we now know became such a huge track. While I’m not sure how far along the production process this song was (although the heavily underdone ‘nuh-nuh-nuh-nothing on you baby’s [ghost of B.o.B. haunting the track?] and Mars’ and Lupe’s casualness suggests it was still early days), you get enough of a sense that if everyone was in top gear, the track would have been a hit – B.o.B-steered or not. When the market for hot singles is such a , it’s heartening to know that superstars are still fighting to make good music.
Lupe Fiasco – Nothin’ On You Ft. Bruno Mars