“In closing…yeah, I’m going to need you to go ahead and update that remix list. “Flava in Ya Ear”, “You’re All I Need”, “One More Chance”?! Sorry, but all of these are no longer available as they’ve already appeared on EVERYONE’S “favorite remix” list.” – Aaron Cameron back in February
(And I thought that last week I was killing two birds with one stone.)
So I’ve been spending the last few weeks remixing older column and I’ve finally reached the column where I ran down what I considered to be Hip Hop’s Greatest Remixes (here it is). What’s funny is that looking back I can clearly see that I was trying to make my mark. I was trying to show that I actually knew a thing or two about Hip Hop, and my selections reflected it.
Thankfully the feedback I got from that column was all positive, with most readers beginning the column expecting a lame list and being pleasantly surprised.
But as Aaron pointed out, those songs are pretty much universally praised. And if there’s one thing that I hate, it’s being part of the majority. Thus present to you; My Favorite Remixes (Which Everyone Needs to Listen to!)
Here they are, in no particular order.
A Tribe Called Quest – Stressed Out (Bjork’s Say Dip Mix)
This is the perfect blending of ATCQ and Bjork. Bjork brings her unique ear to the table and crafts a beat that suits Phife yet still sounds completely Bjork. Sadly only Phife’s verse (and Faith’s hook) make the cut, but it’s such a distinct remix that it holds a special place in my heart. This song really opened my mind to the true potential of genre crossing collaborations. If you’ve not heard this remix, seek it out because if you’re a fan of either participant you’ll love the end result.
Sadat X feat Grand Puba & Lord Jamar – The Lump Lump
This might not seem like front page news, but a decade ago this was, to quote a certain anchorman, “kind of a big deal.” To put it in the proper context, this was a single off of Sadat’s solo debut. Also Brand Nubian hadn’t put out a track that featured Sadat, Puba and Jamar in years. So the reunion was a treat to longtime fans of Brand Nubian. It was great to hear them all on the same track, and to know that the chemistry was still there. So if you can put this song within that context, it’s a killer remix.
The Pharcyde – Runnin’ (Jay Dee mix)
Normally I abhor the blatant jacking of a song, but Jay manages do a strong job of making the sample of Yearning For Your Love work without seeming lazy. Maybe it’s because I dig the sample song. Maybe I’m just enamored with Dilla’s drums. I don’t know, but the beat really fits the lyrics. This is another Jay masterpiece.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Brooklyn Zoo (Lord Digga mix)
I love this beat! I love how the bassline progresses and the strings follow. I dig how the beat really compliments the energy and emotion that are contained within ODB’s lyrics. It’s really a rather simple remix, but where the original makes the Brooklyn Zoo seem disorienting, the remix makes it sound like a place that you want to avoid at night.
Nas – The World is Yours (Q-Tip Mix)
The original is a classic, from a classic album, but this remix is equally dope. Nas’ added lyrics on the chorus and altered lyrics throughout the song are a cool bonus. It retains the original’s integrity, but you can clearly hear Nas’ first attempts to reach out to a broader audience. This is a solid remix, but it’s also a document of Nas’ first step down a slippery slope.
Common Sense – Resurrection
This song had two remixes, plus a “95” version. My favorite is the Extra P remix (though both remixes were done by Large Professor.) It had a more foreboding beat and it sounded more serious and gave Common’s lyrics more weight. This used to be one of those songs that I’d listen to when a) I wanted to be reminded of why I dug Common and b) wanted to be reminded why I think that Large Professor needs to get more work thrown his way.
Nas feat Jadakiss & Ludacris – Made You Look
I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song; my girl and I were about to get out of the car when it came on, and I stayed in the car until it was over. Everyone killed it on this song! ‘Kiss is always reliable on a guest spot, but Luda slayed it with his wordplay. Nas’ flow was like unconscious. If the original made me have faith in Nas again, this made me believe that Hip Hop still had a pulse. This is one of those remixes that gets the adrenaline running through you.
Jadakiss feat Nas, Common & Styles P – Why
The original was such a dope song that I was wary of a remix because I thought it was going to soiled. But once I heard it all fears were allayed. Nas returns Jada’s turn on the Made You Look remix and Common brings it back to better days. Styles even appears less of a knucklehead (though that’s one of the qualities that I love about him.) Everyone is on top of their game and the song doesn’t suffer from having too many MC’s spitting.
Mobb Deep – Temperature’s Rising
I really loved the original, so I was eager to hear this remix, and I wasn’t disappointed. There are some additions to the beat and some altered lyrics. The hook gets a jazzy makeover but the song retains it’s somber tone. What’s refreshing about hearing this song now is that, while it a song about street life, it’s actually got remorse and a pinch of conscience. It’s crazy to realize how far Mobb Deep really have strayed from when then blew up.
Method Man – The Riddler
Very few people remember this song off of the Batman Forever album (though I know the recently married Nick Salemi does), so if no one is familiar with the remix it’s not a big deal. The original wasn’t really a bad song, but the beat was kind of a departure from the Wu sound at the time. The remix rectified that, with a dark and gritty beat that matches Meth’s slightly menacing lyrics perfectly. It’s certainly worth a listen.
De La Soul feat Mos Def & Truth Enola – Stakes is High
Another Jay Dee remix, Jay tweaked the beat just a bit so that you get the same vibe as the original, only a bit more somber. Mos and Truth do their thing (it’s fun to hear that Mos was always sick on the mic). Pos tosses subliminal darts (including one at Jay-Z) with his clever use of the titles of popular songs at the time. The original song is a classic, but this is certainly a worth remix.
Cam’Ron feat Charli Baltimore, Big Pun, Wyclef & Silkk tha Shocker – Horse & Carriage
Let me just start off by saying that I’m not going to try to defend Silkk. However every other part of this remix is fun. The Night Court sample lends a lighthearted air to the remix and everyone appears to be having fun. Pun does his thing (as always) Cam was still trying to impress with his lyrics (and Charli’s) and not even Silkk can ruin this affair. Even the Mase diss seems to be tossed in half jokingly. This is one of the better remixes to come out of the late 90’s.
Common feat Erykah Badu, Pharrell & Q-Tip – Come Close (Closer)
Yet another Dilla remix and it’s masterful. The subliminal homage to Bonita Applebum, the murky bassline that’s smooth enough make the dancefloor bump. I wasn’t that much of a fan of the original, but this song was that fire. But perhaps the dopest part of the remix is how everyone is on the same page and the vibe created is perfect. This is certainly one of the best remixes in the last few years.
The Roots – Don’t Say Nuthin’
I can’t say that I was the biggest fan of the original version of this track. It just didn’t have that “Roots vibe” that I’m accustomed to. And the remix doesn’t really have much of that vibe either. But the remix does have a thick layer of grime to give an added menace to Black Thought’s nonsensical hook. While the remix doesn’t have the Roots vibe, it does have an organic feel to it, which is more than can be said for the original.
Gnarls Barkley feat Joe Budden – Crazy
Again, I felt the original was overrated (almost every other song on the album is superior) but to hear Joe spill over the beat is literally uplifting. Joe sounds like he’s both exorcising demons and creating a character. It’s one of the realest verses from a guy who’s catalogue is filled with autobiographical lyrics. This is perhaps the most apropos remix I’ve ever heard.
Ludacris feat LL Cool J & Keith Murray – Fatty Girl (Green Lantern Mix)
Honestly this is just on here because Green Lantern completely flips the theme to Fat Albert and makes a sick beat with it. You really need to track this song down to hear how he cut and chopped that song.
That’s it. Aaron, I hope that it was everything you wished for.
Oh and I hope that everyone else who read the column enjoyed it was well.
Extra P Remix
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Large Professor Remix
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My Five Favorite 9th Wonder Remixes
1. Made You Look
2. December 4th
3. Justify My Thug
5. My First Song