I was recently thinking about rap remakes, and the fact that – unlike almost every other form of popular music – hip-hop remakes and cover versions almost never work. Answer records and songs sharing the same loop could be viewed as “covers” in a way, but remakes in the more traditional sense usually spell disaster.
Possibly the most covered classic is MC Shan‘s “The Bridge”. This timeless QB anthem has been recreated by Mobb Deep (“The Bridge ’94”) and Kamakazee (“Bridge ’95”), while Marley Marl recruited Tragedy and Iman THUG to recreate his masterpiece on “The Bridge 2000”. The following year, QB’s Finest decided to keep beating a dead horse and assembled an all-star cast including Capone, Cormega, Marley Marl, Millennium Thug, Mobb Deep, Nas, Nature, and Tragedy Khadafi to join Shan on L.E.S‘ rendition of “Da Bridge 2001”. Hopefully we won’t see another remake until at least 2010. The Pete Rock remix of Screwball‘s “You Love To Hear The Stories” also features Shan performing a verse from the original “Bridge”, which pretty much qualifies it as another remake (I’m just glad they didn’t call it “Bridge ’98”).
Every version of “The Bridge” features it’s some sort of reference to the original, whether it be the signature high-pitched stabs that set it off, the gritty drum track or sections of Shan’s vocals. The fact that Marley was behind the boards on the ’95 and 2000 editions certainly helped maintain the credibility of these tributes, but even without his production finesse the other versions have all been pretty good. This is notable since almost every other “2000” update of other hip-hop tracks has resulted in pale imitations of the originals. It’s also worth noting that no one in the Bronx has felt the need to remake BDP‘s “South Bronx”, with the exception of KRS-One reheating it for “South Bronx 2002”, which I made a point to avoid at all costs.
Here’s the full-set of “Bridge” songs for you to check out, in lo-fi glory. Feel free to vote for the best remake (or even the original recipe) and I’ll post at high quality in a Steady Bootleggin’ post later in the week.
MC Shan – “The Bridge” (Bridge Records, 1986)
Mobb Deep – “The Bridge ’94” (unreleased)
Kamakazee – Bridge ’95 (white label, 1995)
Marley Marl featuring Tragedy Khadafi and Iman THUG – The Bridge 2000 (Pirate, 1998)
Screwball – “You Love To Hear The Stories” [Pete Rock Remix] (Hydra/Tommy Boy, 2000)
QB’s Finest – “Da Bridge 2001” (Columbia, 2000)
Thanks to Tyson, Jamaal and Super-C for helping out with the audio.
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