This combination is criminal. The Timbaland produced "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" backed with the Kanye West produced "Encore?" "Dirt" is Timbo's most sinister sounding production to date. People always talk about synth this, synth that, well, synth this muthafuckas! The dirty knock drums stick out enough to click and clack; and Hova's inspired flow could excite an outdated stadium full of honkies. Of all the tracks from the album, I think this one best captures the "Black" ideal, someplace where the sun definitely don't shine (not your bunghole). Meanwhile, "Encore" showcases Kanye's champion production finesse. These days Kanye can't be touched for the soul track, even though he's probably saved the best for his solo album. The formula here is simple, but so effective: signature drum programming, a trusty horn loop, and soulful vocal backing. I love the first half of this track, but once that "Hova" chant comes in, I lose interest... a microcosm of the Black Album if you axe me. But don't let that dissuade you, this time Rocafella, known for the some of the worst single choices (Big Pimpin a B-Side?) got it right, on both sides. Instrumentals for both.
- music label: Roc-A-Fealla / 2003
reviewed by the mgmnt 10/2005