Word has it that Danger Mouse was cleaning his apartment one day, while listening to The Beatles “White Album” in one room and Jay-Z’s “The Black Album” in the other. And that’s how this incredible mash-up of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and Jay-Z’s “What More Can I Say?” came into being.
This song did not have a formal commercial release, but it was circulated all over the place, at a time when Danger Mouse was still making a name for himself as a producer and DJ. “The Grey Album” has since catapulted Danger Mouse into the world of highly sought-after producers, and he went on to produce huge sellers (“Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley) and critically acclaimed records all over the place (“Attack and Release” by The Black Keys, “Demon Days” by Gorillaz).
I’ll admit to not following the drama of this mash-up too closely, but I seem to remember hearing rumors that it was done by Danger Mouse on his own, but effectively commissioned by Jay-Z himself, after he realized that it would be an effective grassroots marketing tool for his music. I choose to believe this since Jigga is not only the best MC of the decade, but also The Industry’s biggest force. The guy knows a hit when he hears it and he’s fine to sacrifice some street cred for some cash or vice versa. I’m not sure that anyone has walked that line so well, since…The Beatles.
Parts of “The Gray Album” don’t work that well as a mash-up, but “What More Can I Say?” is fantastic. If you think you need to check this out, you do.