Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Gray Album. I’ve been obsessing lately over DJ Danger Mouse’s mash-up of Jay-Z’s Black Album with the Beatles’ White Album. I don’t even particularly like Jay-Z, but this really is one of the most innovative hip-hop albums I’ve heard this year. It’s so upbeat, frenetic, and effete compared to Jay-Z’s typically spondaic and masculine tracks. EMI, which owns part of the Beatles catalog, has sent cease-and-desist letters to DJ Danger Mouse, e-Bay, and the underground record stores that had been selling the CD, but you can still hear it at Illegal Art. Which raises the question, why hasn’t Illegal Art received a cease-and-desist letter? Is it because they contextualize the album within questions of copyright, fair-use, legality, creativity, and the archive? Or is Illegal Art just below EMI’s radar?

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