gorillaz, james murphy, & andré 3000 // “doyathing”
by jared silva
Converse has a good thing going with their “Three Artists. One Song.” series. Created in Summer 2010, the program is a collaboration platform produced by Converse’s music division (I guess that’s a thing now) to play out the best “what if?” scenarios with some of today’s best artists from three different backgrounds and get them to make something both genre mixing and fun to listen to. There have been a hand full collaborations so far, including “All Summer” featuring Kid Cudi, Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend, and Best Coast, and “I’m a Goner” featuring Matt & Kim, Soulja Boy, and Andrew W.K. The latest track release is called “DoYaThing” featuring Gorillaz, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and André 3000 from Outkast, and, just like most other previous incarnations, this track mashes up all three artists’ styles successfully to create a great track worth the praise it’s earned.
“DoYaThing” very much sounds like a Gorillaz track at heart, especially from their Plastic Beach era; strong pop sensibilities, electronic layering, and a heavy hip hop beat all meshed into one song. James Murphy and André 3000 have had their fair share of genre defying albums, but Gorillaz are very collaborative in nature (their biggest hits “Clint Eastwood” and “Feel Good, Inc.” feature Del Tha Funky Homosapien and De La Soul, respectively), so this is perfect form for all of them. That being said, it’s André 3000 that is the star of the track. Jumping in on the second half, he starts out a little sketchy when he sings his introduction, but that ends quickly as he starts tearing up his verses with a flow so beyond compare. It’s part impressive to listen to and frustrating when the realization kicks in that there hasn't been a damn Outkast album since 2006. Plus, “Do ya damn thing / Do ya thanga thang” is one of the catchiest hip hop phrases to sing along to since “So Applauded” on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. James Murphy unfortunately is only heard in short chorus lines in-between the Gorillaz's verses. Maybe he had more in part with production to justify his stay, but it would have been great to hear a third section of him singing rather than as a hook man.
The track overall does what it was set out to do though by creating a fun collaborative effort with these three artists we never thought would actually make something together. What’s even better is that the track is available for free at Converse’s website. Maybe we’re obligated to buy some Chuck Taylors or something, but it doesn't seem necessary.
Listen to more from Gorillaz, James Murphy, and André 3000 now, via Spotify.