Words by Ian M.
“…Sounded so unfamiliar.”
Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk creates musical chimeras â€“ mating songs you probably thought were played out with other songs you thought were played out, to make some fresh, very danceable hip-hop music on his album appropriately titled Night Ripper.
What to call Girl Talk’s music becomes something of a technical debate in and of itself. This is not your father’s mashup. This isn’t DJ Z-Trip, this isn’t Hollertronix â€“ this is a whole new beast, tailored for the ADD generation. Whereas a layman can make mashup music â€“ combining two songs with the same BPM â€“ Girl Talk’s Night Ripper took over a year to make and contains about 6,250 variations on samples from 167 different artists.
It doesn’t take long to notice that Night Ripper really doesn’t contain any songs in the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/verse sense. Instead, the Girl Talk experience is an audio montage of constantly changing and evolving elements and fragments from popular songs. So instead of having a favorite track, it is more likely you will be attracted to successful “parts.”
For example: there is a moment on “Hold Up” where Girl Talk breaks The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” (a theme from Fight Club) into small molecules (ala Dangermouse) and runs it up against the beat to Young Gunz “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and the Nas vocals from “Hate Me Now.” The fifteen seconds or so of this gestalt makes for hot fire. On “Smash Your Head,” Girl Talk mixes up Jeezy’s “Soul Survivor” over an interchanging Nirvana/Lil’ Wayne beat to great success.
Other highlights include two parts on “Too Deep.” One: where KRS’ “Sound of da Police” flows over Aerosmith’s “Come Together. Two: when Phantom Planet’s “California” (where are my OC fans?) bangs over the “Grindin'” beatâ€¦which made me think about what wouldn’t sound hot over that beatâ€¦which made me wonder how hard this shit really is.
Night Ripper is “Name That Tune” on steroids. It’s probably for the club. The crowd will always give it up for a DJ who plays songs they haven’t heard in a while as to say “oh shit, thanks for surprising me with this one.” It is this recognition that keeps the party going. Night Ripper plays off this effect ten times a song.
Ultimately, some will say that Girl Talk is just a channel for indie rock hipsters to access hip hop. To that I would say that Girl Talk is hip hop. It is the clear evolution of hip hop fueled by boredom, stagnation in the game, a matched creativity, and most importantly, technology. Girl Talk is a throwback to old Steinski mixes. I just hope the motherfucker has a lawyer with all those uncleared samples.