iPod Shuffle sounds death knell for hip-hop skits -- EW pays tribute to the nonmusical tracks on rap albums

Techies rejoiced at the unveiling of iPod Shuffle, a stick-of-gum-size MP3 player with a low price ($99) and a fairly limited application (since there’s no screen, songs are played in completely random order). But in another community — the hip-hop nation — heads are bowed in sadness. The further shuffle-ization of the musical universe can mean only one thing — the death of the hip-hop skit, the ”funny” nonmusical tracks sandwiched between songs on nearly every rap album since 1989. From De La Soul’s pioneering game-show skit on 3 Feet High and Rising to Dr. Dre’s ”The $20 Sack Pyramid” to Eminem’s ”Ken Kaniff,” we’ll miss these often scatological interludes that bloated so many ’90s rap records past the 70-minute mark. The on-demand shuffle era will see them coldly programmed out of existence. To mourn, may we suggest spending the weekend with the Fugees’ ”Chinese takeout” skit and weeping for an art form going the way of the Atari 2600?