Diddy sure knows how to assemble a dream team. For “Shades,” a newly leaked track that may or may not appear on his long-delayed Last Train to Paris LP with his group Dirty Money, the impresario scored guest vocals from both Lil Wayne and Justin Timberlake. Getting these guys together for his album is quite a coup on Diddy’s part. But does the quality of the song live up to all that star wattage?
Not quite. I won’t pass final judgment on “Shades” while it’s just an unofficial leak — but right now, this song could really use a brisk edit. It opens with some dazed mumbles from Weezy, who rambles on for a minute (“She must be the one/I look in her eyes and see the sun/Even on rainy days”) over a beatless ambient background. Then a highly processed male voice, which I’m assuming is Diddy’s, starts singing. He meanders on for a while before getting to the song’s first hook: “Girl, if you want, I’ll pour a gallon of gasoline on my heart just to light your cigarette/Girl, if you want, I’ll do anything for you/I’ll even take off my shades.” There’s a nice sequence after this layering bright vocal harmonies to heaven, then some more tuneless wandering from Diddy, then more harmonizing.
Finally, well after the four-minute mark, Timberlake finally shows up. Sounds like he’s been listening to a lot of Young Money. His half-spoken verse includes a number of the elided end-of-line similes that Wayne’s crew has popularized on hits like “BedRock”: “I can read your mind, read your mind — Professor X/We could press rewind, press rewind — VHS,” “I’ma bend your body, bend your body — Magneto/Let me have my way, I’ma have my way — Carlito,” and so on. Hearing Timberlake’s voice on a new song is rare these days, so I hate to complain, but I can’t help wishing he’d sing more and rap less.
Diddy’s camp has not confirmed whether or not “Shades” will appear on Last Train to Paris. Have you heard the all-star collab? How do you like it?
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