Like with jazz, one of the best parts of liking rap music is listening to what the rapper’s aren’t saying. More specifically, the space-filling ad-libs they drop on their songs when they need to plug a gap in their lyrics or bridge a few syllables together.
The two kings of ad-libs in the last 10 years are, without question, Young Jeezy and Jim Jones. Jeezy used a small but power arsenal of catchphrases to punctuate his often-mediocre rhyming. His employ of things like “Deeeeeaaaaauuuummm,” and “That’s riiiiiiiiiight” only served to enhance his appeal as a truly mean street dude.
Jim Jones, on the other hand, totally changed the ad-lib game by making his ad-libs the whole song. Rather than use them sparingly to pepper a track, Jones would make his ad-libs the focus of the song, adding secondary vocals to nearly every one of his songs and making his drops the memorable part. Like everyone in Dipset, this is a trick he learned from Cam’ron and pushed to its absolute limit.
While these two are obviously on the Mt. Rushmore of ad-libbers, neither one is really all that in demand now. Here are the most important ad-libs of the year 2012 and what your favorite one says about you.
Big Sean’s “Swerve,” made famous on “Mercy”
What This Ad-Lib Says About You: You believe in people’s ability to improve. Coming up with “swerve” was the best thing that ever happened to Big Sean’s career. Ever since he started using that in place of his much-less-awesome drops “Boy” (bad) and “I do it” (worse), he’s been rapping better and is no longer always the worst thing on the track. “Swerve” is a reminder to everyone that people can do better with practice and time.
DJ Khaled’s “I’m So Serious,” most recently seen on “Wish You Would” and likely all over his most recent album, Kiss the Ring
What This Ad-Lib Says About You: You value friendship and leadership skills over talent.
2Chainz’s “Two Chaaainz,” made famous by 2Chainz on every song he’s ever done
What This Ad-Lib Says About You: You are a living being who understands humor and jokes
2Chainz’s “Truuuuu,” made famous by 2Chainz on every song he’s ever done
What This Ad-Lib Says About You: You are constantly lying to everyone you know about where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing.
Swizz Beatz’s “Goddamnit,” made famous by Swizz Beatz’s sunglasses
What This Ad-Lib Says About You: You are relentless in your pursuit of wealth and status. You likely have a drinking problem or a cocaine habit. No one says “Goddamnit” as well as Swizz Beatz and Issac Brock do.
Kanye West’s “Ayye,” made perfect on “I Don’t Like”
Kanye West’s “Oooooohhhhh,” made perfect on “I Don’t Like”
Kanye West’s “Haaah?,” made famous on Watch the Throne
What This Ad-Lib Says About You: Nothing. This is all about Kanye being a near-perfect Super Saiyan. Kanye West is post-human. I emailed Grantland writer Rembert Browne about these ad-libs and here is what he had to say:
“Those [first two] Kanye ones are so impt, tho. Adlib of the year.”
So that’s that then.