Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx — “Gold Digger”

Released: 8.2.05

Peak:#1

Were there truth in hip-hop advertising, that should be “feat.” Ray Charles, whose genial sexism materializes in two forms here. First, ace impersonator Foxx does indeed channel the Genius for an introductory misquotation of “I Got a Woman” that impugns the good name of some enterprising young lady ‘cross town. More consistently, a sampled Brother Ray chugs behind Kanye’s tale, an easy-rolling presence that roots these anecdotes in a long history of cross-gender financial, a history that predates hip-hop and will linger on even after Kanye’s kids contest his direct-to-Twitter will.

Fools who say Kanye “can’t rap” should try to navigate his flow here. (I’m proud to say that my gf has mastered it for karaoke.) Anyway, “can’t rap” is just the latest trick turned by those technique snobs who think that Dylan “can’t sing” or punks “can’t play.” His rap style is as intricate as his track construction, aided here by Jon Brion–and if you think this beat’s simple, try dancing to it sometime. There’s plenty going on underneath even before that ragged honking cuts up the beat toward the end.

As for Kanye’s male dupes, they do seem thin-skinned or naïve. He really begrudges his dream girl a trip to Showbiz Pizza with her kids? An NFL pro has never heard of a paternity test? But if the view of gender relations here is at times all but a brandished rolling-pin away from The Lockhorns, the recycled anecdotal sexism of the first two verses sets up the third-verse punch line: The alternative to gold-digging is to dedicate yourself to supporting a determined striver (like the guy on the mic?) until he’s successful enough to afford a white chick. One reason 808s and Heartbreaks was such a downer was that Kanye proved himself much wiser about duplicity between the sexes when he was cracking jokes rather than whining like a robotic jerk. Love hurts, we know that. No reason to get all emo about it.

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