When Ke$ha arrived with Animal in 2010, critic Ann Powers marvelously compared her to the shit-talking heroines of classic ’30s and ’40s screwball comedy films, “brassy like Jean Harlow and saucy like Mae West.” The times are certainly ripe for a return of a “wisecracking dame,” even one who can be as gleefully dumb ‘n’ dirty as 24-year-old Kesha Rose Sebert — after all, Paul Krugman just yesterday declared we’re actually in a new Depression, and our many celebrity gossip blogs aren’t so different from the “society pages” of screwball classic The Philadelphia Story. But whereas the glamorous Katharine Hepburn character from that film or the earlier Woman of the Year could afford her boozy eccentricities because of her upper-crust upbringing, on “Sleazy,” from the year-old Cannibal EP, Ke$ha pointedly rejects such well-heeled privilege, and the diamonds that might come with it, too. She isn’t watching the throne, but she isn’t throwing it over, either: It’s the freakin’ weekend, baby, and she’s about to have her some fun (via Rap Radar).
Puking in trust-funders’ closets, like drunk-texting, is nothing new to Ke$ha, of course, but from the start, “Sleazy” was clearly something different (though still not as different as yesterday’s tear-jerking Bob Dylan cover!). Even before the current remix’s murderers’ row of top rappers, the track deployed a murderers’ row of top producers, including not only the Nashville popster’s most frequent hitmaker, Dr. Luke, but also Spank Rock collaborator Benny Blanco, Teddybears member Klas Åhlund, and, most tellingly, Bangladesh. The involvement of the Atlanta-based producer behind Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” and Nicki Minaj’s “Did It on ‘Em” telegraphed Ke$ha’s shift here from bubblegum-rap to rap-rap. And, thrillingly, she’s good at it, with plenty of her usual giddy lowest-common-denominator filth, plus her own toast for the douchebags: “You can’t imagine the immensity of the fuck I’m not giving / About your money and manservant at the mansion you live in / And I don’t wanna go places where all my ladies can’t get in / Just grab a bottle, some boys, and let’s take it back to my basement.”
Andre 3000’s verse on the previously released “Sleazy” remix was among the best in his scene-stealing recent run — yet another inspired example of how the OutKast half can still make rap be more about “who can jive talk the best” and yet still succeed in entertaining rather than scolding.
“Sleazy Remix 2.0 (Get Sleazier),” available today on iTunes, invites a new crew to Ke$ha’s basement party, playing the cad her original lyrics merely implied: Wiz Khalifa boasts about his Ferrari, Three Stacks returns with his same touch of old-money class, T.I. comes on strong in his sketchy-but-smooth loverman mode (then again: “royal penis cleaner”?), while Lil Wayne’s madly jabbering flow places him, fittingly, above it all, where he can make references to Kings of Leon, Napoleon Dynamite, and skinny jeans. Weezy rhymes with “Sleazy,” which starts with “S” and that stands for $ which means Ke$ha reminds us of a man, the man with the power, and all these bitches are her sons.