There comes a point in the career of many rappers when the fresh new ideas start to dry-up, and before long they find themselves falling back onto their tried-and-tested old material and attempt to create an updated version. When guys like AMG start making songs like “Bitch Betta Have My Money 2001”, you know he running on fumes, and when a group like EPMD are reduced to cutting tracks like “You Gots To Chill ’97” for that fake reunion album, a move which proved to be as predictable as it was unnecessary.
As you might expect, there are a handful of exceptions to this rule. Athough KRS-One‘s attempt at updating “South Bronx” didn’t really come-off, he had better luck when he revisited another essential Criminal Minded selection for the Menace II Society soundtrack. Thanks in no small part to a top-notch Premier beat from one of his more prolific periods, “P Is Still Free” manages to follow-on from the original episode on some new-and-improved shit, rather than sounding like another tired remake.
Kool G Rap‘s update of his hilarious and – at the time – controversial poison pen letter “Truly Yours” (which was removed from many radio playlists after upsetting some over-sensitive types with his strong “anti-gay” lyrics) is not officially his own doing. Pete Rock actually recorded the ’98 version for his Soul Survivor LP, and wisely featured G Rap and Large Professor to add some verbal weight to his stabs at weak mixtape makers. With it’s slightly reworked version of Marley‘s original beat, the fellas each kick their own take on the whole “step off, bitch” concept.
KRS-One – “P” Is Still Free (Return of the Boom Bap, Jive, 1993)
Pete Rock feat. Kool G Rap & Large Professor – Truly Yours ’98 (Soul Survivor, Loud, 1998)
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