» Published by Air Max Thuns
We’re back at it! It only took a year to get this new post together, but the cab driver who stole Kaewonder’s laptop and external could have put this post up in the summer if he wanted to. Let’s not dwell on the bs though. Here’s our third installment of what we consider to be the best remixes of the golden age of hip-hop. As always there are sure to be songs missing or songs that you might not feel deserve to be mentioned. If so, put us on blast. Let us know in the comments what songs you’d like to see in the next version(which hopefully won’t take a year) and why. Posts like this are all about personal opinion and the Air Max Thuns have been known to hold some strong opinions when it comes to rap music. Without any further delays, allow us to present v1.2 of We Re-Invented The Remix.
1. Show & AG-Next Level(Nyte Time Remix)
“Peace to every single rapper on this whole earth/sellouts got no worth/I think they better go soul searchin”
Everyone loves this remix, and JC thinks I’m unqualified to write about it since I actually prefer the OG version. However, I really only have that opinion since this Premo remix gets way more run than the original. I had the good fortune of interviewing AG in 2008 and we actually spoke on the studio session that lead to Next Level, since to me his lyrics are what make this track to me. Without his imagery and intricate wordplay we would just be listening to a great beat, not a song. You can’t sleep on Premier’s cuts either though, his formula just works(ofmart) time and time again. Another classic from one of the remix kings.
2. Common-Resurrection(Extra P Remix)
“come on y’all get live get down/common sense is in yo’ town”
Extra P, no stranger to this post or the world of dope remixes for that matter, laces Com Sense up with a subdued, pensive beat perfect for him to lay his grand verbiage a top of. Employing a Spirit (”Attica Blues”) sample to a dreamy effect with the chorus switch up and the bridge proves his deft-touch. Gonna keep it 100 with y’all tho. I like the OG version more. Not to say the remix isn’t a great in itself. I included it for the fact of it being one of the few remixes that takes the track to a different place, while maintaining it’s original feel and there’s something dope about that.
3. Nas-The World Is Yours(Tip Mix)
“The mic’s my religion/the system is the devil’s lasso”
Alternate lyrics! Even though he really only changes a few lines and words here and there, the delivery on the Tip Mix is completely different. I am about to blaspheme here, but I prefer Nas over a Q-Tip beat. It’s that Queens synergy that they had, this and One Love are absolutely the most potent records from Nas in that era in terms of emotion and depth for me. This is the version that Jay-Z sampled for Dead Presidents right? It always bugged me how Ski sampled that line and left the music, I felt like where he chopped it was sloppy and that took away from the track for me. Back to this gem though, I could lose myself in this instrumental not unlike how it seems Nas did bugging out with the impromptu rhymes in the chorus and outro. I keep falling indeed.
4. Ras Kass-Soul On Ice(Diamond D Remix)
“the waterproof m.c/ you ain’t wettin’ me/ you need to stop rappin’ and start robbin’ banks like Steady B”
It’s rare that I do this, but I’ve decided to listen to the instrumental first before even thinking about the insane shit Rass kicks on this. A David Axelrod (Hint: not Obama’s hommie) fan to the death, Diamond laces “The Mental Traveler” off of his sought-after “Songs Of Innocence” LP. I’ve always felt as though Diamond is one of the few producers to have a natural feel to his drum programming, and his ear for samples is keen. It’s been said that Axelrod himself was a huge fan of the way Diamond re-worked his song, even going as far as naming a song on his 2001 comeback record on Mo’Wax “The Dr. and The Diamond” ( I think y’all can guess who the good Doctor is). Needless to say, if that isn’t a solid co-sign for this remix, I really don’t know what is. As for Rass Kass, he proves himself as one of the dopest when provided with the right beats. That Steady B line hurt.
“Make my shit for all/I never cut a deal”
It took me about 3 listens to really pick a quote from this track since Sauks’s structure and buildup to lines is so complex. It’s hard to upstage a track like the original to this so he probably smoked a couple blunts of some serious futuristic and just went to work on the rhymes. Never mind the fact that he remixed his own joint, must be nice to be a producer and rapper who’s ahead of the curve in both departments. Seriously, when is the new Saukrates album coming out? I don’t want to have to play my old vinyl into the ground and I want to rep for the guy who is arguably the biggest talent out of our city yet. Who else has a background in string instruments, can sing perfect harmonies, rap his ass off and make banging beats? Speaking of strings, the intense and dramatic backdrop that is laid by the production on this remix just makes the frenetic pace of his flow feel even more chaotic but it works. It just works.
6. The Notorious B.I.G.-Party And Bullshit(Lord Finesse Remix)
“I was a terror since the public school era…”
Right when the horn drops you know you’re in for some classic Lord Finesse illness. I’ve always felt as though this remix doesn’t get quite the props it deserves. Not to knock the Easy Mo Bee original version, but there was always something more rugged to this version and more suitable for a little Biggie 101: y’know, how to shoot a gun and have fun with Jamaican rum? Classy. It’s one of those joints where I’d be hard-pressed to try to find another rapper better on that beat.
7. Souls Of Mischief-Never No More(76 Seville Mix)
“Wanna hear a joke? I’m you..”
Listening to Souls of Mischief was always about picking who had your favourite verse since that would be a heavy discussion topic in the circles I rolled in at the time. For me, on this track it was A-Plus and I won’t front the main reason is because he dropped some patois into his verse but with a cali slant to it. Made me feel like the distance didn’t mean anything and that Hiero would probably dig the vibe up in Toronto. They definitely re-took the vocals for this song but the changes are so minor it doesn’t really impact the song that much. What does is the slumping soundtrack provided by Snupe, with his filtered horn samples and heavy thump he manages to stand out from the original. Not so much so that the original feel of the song is lost, it’s more like Snupe taking a stab at it and seeing how his beat sounds compared to the A-Plus original. Maybe that’s why A-Plus’s verse sounds so proper on this, he made the original for himself. My final thought: this 12′ is stacked! There are 2 remixes and an unreleased new track. That’s how it was done!
8. Grand Puba-I Like It(Buckwild Remix) feat. Sadat X
“I’m energetic/poetic/athletic with good credit…”
First thing’s first: The original version of “I like it” is dope as hell. This selection may be the recipient of “the most unnecessary yet dope remix” award. Buckwild on that shit! Those Whatnauts drums (think:”oh my god”,several Beatminerz joints) and a Henry Mancini joint (”Here’s looking at you,kid”). Sadat X on the remix, too!? Even though the majority of his verse doesn’t even rhyme, it’s the X so all is forgiven. There’s a few things the one & only Puba Maxwell are known for, the least appealing of which was coining the term “stinkbox”, the most appealing being his ability to craft memorable, good-humored verses while still remaining raw. This remix is great.
9. The Pharcyde-Passin’ Me By(Fly As Pie Remix)
“I guess a twinkle in her eye is just a twinkle in her eye..”
When I first heard the original version of this song, I felt like all my dorky crushes and tendency to dig on girls from afar was finally validated. Passin’ Me By is that song that everyone loves for a reason. It’s amazing, they broke the mold on rap songs about unrequited love after this one! The sing songy vibe is taken to a whole other level on the Fly As Pie version, where Romye decides to sing his verse instead of rapping it and everyone completely changes their delivery up. The production on this remix shares an undefinable quality that the Tip Mix of World Is Yours also has. A vibe or feeling to it that just captures my attention and takes me to another place, a dreamy land of soundscapes that could be played on repeat for hours before I even realize. There’s a clear transition from this period and the subsequent releases from it that took The Pharcyde to Labcabincalifornia and somehow I didn’t notice that until doing this writeup.
10. Da King & I-Flip Da Scrip(Remix)
“…workin hard for my assets so go buy the cassette and if ya Jamaican go get the cyassette”
Classic classic classic. I think this gets more burn than the original version at AMT Headquarters. Da King & I were one of my favorite underrated rap groups that never quite got the wreck they could have. “Contemporary Jeep Music” is such a well-produced,consistent record. It’s even doper that they employed Primo for the jazzy boom-bap swing he was notable for around the same time. A good combination, word to Positive K.
11. Artifacts-Dynamite Soul(Lip Service Remix) feat Mad Skillz
“vocally/i choke the shit out any rapper that’s too slow for me..”
Not that I think we have too many young and uneducated readers on our blog, but Mad Skillz in ‘94 was the equivalent of Lil’ Wayne in ‘07. Having him on your song guaranteed that it would be getting tons of play just off rep alone. As we all know, Skillz is still enjoying success and making music but the magic that was The Artifacts is all but buried into the Newark soil. I loved both of their albums and they were crushing college radio and mixtapes at this point. The original version of this was already a standout cut on the album, but when Ez Elpee flipped T-Ray’s vocal and bassline driven version into this neck-snapper AND they added Mad Skillz into the mix? There was no way this song could possibly end up anywhere but on the turntables getting the first 8 bars cut and doubled up.
12. Raekwon-Can It All Be So Simple(Remix) feat. Ghostface
“Remember, I got blasted? Now that’s in the past kid, god forbid I lay in a casket”
This song coined the term ‘Lo Sweaters and better. What more can I say?
13. The Roots-Silent Treatment(Da Beatminerz Mix)
“Patience is a virtue but I wasn’t used to waitin..”
You guys are going to think I’m the ultimate emo love rap song dude or something after this version, but that’s just how the chips fell when we divided the songs up. That doesn’t mean that Silent Treatment wasn’t something every boner-ed out 16 year old dude could relate to but I chalk that up to Black Thought’s vivid storytelling that always seemed to come out best when the subject matter involved a woman. He really crafts an accurate picture of how frustrating it was to try and convince your steady girlfriend that it was time to “take that step”, and somehow doesn’t come off as crass or single-minded. Now, we all know the original version but The Beatminerz take this mellow and jazzy track and transform it into a mixshow-worthy banger with some of their signature drums and filtered basslines. This was definitely another stacked 12′, I think there were 3 remixes in total and bonus beats for each without any significant loss in sound quality.
Don’t think we were going to front on you guys! Here’s a zip file with all the mp3’s for your listening pleasure.