11 Mar Throwback Thursday: Kanye West – “Drive Slow” (Remix) [featuring Paul Wall, GLC, T.I. and Tony Williams]
Today is Paul Wall’s 40th birthday, so it’s only right that we revisit his greatest contribution to popular music.
If you’ve been around here for long enough, you are probably aware that we have strong feelings about Kanye West and his antics in recent years. However, good music is good music, and goddamnit, Kanye has made lots of it.
Whenever I think of Kanye’s best work, “Drive Slow” is one of the first songs to come to mind. Released as the fifth and final single from Late Registration, the song is a caution to every kid trying to be grown before their time. Despite having all the components of a rap hit, the song actually failed to crack any of the Billboard charts — not even rap chart. However, that says nothing about the quality of the track.
Produced by Kanye and based on a sample of Hank Crawford’s version of “Wildflower,” the original version of “Drive Slow” features verses by Paul Wall and GLC, and ad libs from Tony Williams. If there has ever been a time where everyone on a song came with their A game, this was it. The remix of the song includes a verse from T.I. that doesn’t quite measure up, so we’ll pretend it never happened.
Anyway, Kanye and GLC’s verses on “Drive Slow” have lines that I quote till today, but if I had to choose a winner, Paul Wall would be the obvious choice. Few other rappers have ever rode a beat the way the People’s Champ did on this verse, and just a few days ago, there was a viral tweet acknowledging its greatness.
He was never a red-hot superstar, but there’s no denying Paul Wall’s talent. And unlike most white rappers, he has never used his whiteness as a selling point, which speaks to his authenticity.
Join me in celebrating an H-Town legend!