Summer Mixtape, Track 7: 'American Boy' - Estelle featuring Kanye West

Though it's not a massive hit - at least not in America itself, where it's barely inside the Top 40 on Billboard's singles chart - this is my favorite new song of the summer. (It's apparently one of Jay-Z's, too.)

A breezy, will.i.am-produced electro-pop jam with a thumping disco beat and bass line straight out of the '70s (plus a whole lot of synths), "American Boy" marginally follows hip-hop's tried-and-true summer-song formula of male rapper plus female songbird - a la 1995's Method Man-Mary J. Blige summit, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By," or Beyonce's 2003 jam with Jay-Z, "Crazy in Love."

But this isn't your usual thug-love duet, not with Kanye flipping convention on its head and turning the whole thing into something like a nerd-love jam. After all, no self-respecting thug would dare come up with a couplet like this one: "Dressed smart like a London bloke/Before he speak, his suit bespoke."

Pure heat.

By J. Freedom du Lac |  July 8, 2008; 5:31 PM ET Summer Mixtape
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It's a shame that a radio-ready pop song this good and so tailor-made for summertime isn't a total smash hit. Especially when crap like "I Kissed A Girl" is.

Also, for some reason I think that "dressed smart" line is one of Kanye's best ever.

Posted by: ML | July 8, 2008 6:43 PM

I completely agree ML. I play this song loudly with the windows down and constantly get asked about it. The Soulseekerz mix is great as well, all electro. It is minus Kanye, though.

Posted by: joyous | July 10, 2008 6:25 PM

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