UNKT vs UPNT Soundclash – RZA & Prince Paul Productions [Gravediggaz Tribute]
Twenty years ago today, The Gravediggaz release ‘6 Feet Deep’ / ‘Niggamortis,’ and in tribute both myself and UpNorthTrips selected our top ten beats from both Prince Paul and RZA and gave them to The Vinylcologist to mix for us. Check the picks and vote for the best below…
Alchemix – The Unkut Remix [Minus Actual Mixing]
After checking out the Up North Trips mix with their picks for the best Alan The Chemist beats from the past ten years, I couldn’t resist responding with my own personal selections from the past decade of work from the house of ALC.
Update: Mixed version can be found here, thanks to United Crates.
Missed Dipset Beat Opportunities, Part 1
Why is it that The Heatmakerz, Swizz Beatz nor Dame Grease never snatched up this Giorgio Moroder 80’s epic from Stallone’s arm-wrestling magnum opus Over The Top? With it’s action packed synths, cock-rock geetar, tinny drum rolls and built-in chorus stabs, this could have been the tipping point for one of the numerous
Dimplomats Diplomats weed carriers who never quite broke through.
Video: Memories of Paul McKasty
The first two parts of Pritt Kalasi‘s Memories of Paul McKasty are available to watch over at his site:
“This is by all means not the definitive documentary or story of Paul C McKasty. The Legendary producer from Queens NYC who had his life cut short aged only 24 years old. This is a film put together from a footage I had accumulated from 2000 to April 2013.”
Video: Memories of Paul McKasty
Complex Presents – The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All-Time
The Complex music editors recruited me to write around ninety of the blurbs for this latest ‘Top 100’ list. Direct any complaints over there.
Complex’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All-Time
What Is The Greatest Rap Remix Of All Time?
After months of preliminary rounds to establish the finest remixed tracks from hip-hop’s best and brightest (according to a couple of hundred East-Coast Elitist’s, of course) we finally have our final nine. Go in!
Searching For The Perfect Remix: Wild Card Round
A few weeks back I asked if anyone had any ideas for the Wild Card Round, but after going through the list I decided to go back to the drawing board and pick eight essential remixes that haven’t been covered yet. Once this is decided, the winners of this and the previous eight rounds will battle it out for the title of The Greatest Remix Of All Time, at least according to Unkut’s Conservative Rap Coalition (aka The East-Coast Rap Elitists). Whether on the strength of the new lyrics or just taking an otherwise shitty track and making it sound good, these eight remixes all win in their own way.
Searching For The Perfect Remix: The 45 King
Let’s be honest – it’s all about the ‘Best Kept Secret’ remix. That shit is a monster! That being said, I’ve always had a lot of time for the ‘Knock ‘Em Out Sugar Ray’ remix as well. The ‘Posse Is Large’ remix is included simply as a reminder of the lost art of conga loops…
Searching For The Perfect Remix: By Request
Before I wind-up the Perfect Remix polls with The 45 King edition, I thought I’d give all the remixes that missed out a chance to make the final cut. Whether it was a favorite of yours that didn’t make the original eight per artist (Large Pro‘s Resurrection remixes, for example), or something from a producer or crew that didn’t have enough classics re-workings to get a round of their own, here’s your chance to nominate for the Wild Card Round. What needs to make the cut?
Searching For The Perfect Remix: Marley Marl
Engineer All-Star Marley Marl came from the era when a remix often meant turning-up the drums, dropping out the main loop occasionally and adding a horn blast and some echo, but even when the additions were relatively minor, they proved to be incredibly effective. The remixed versions of ‘Vapors’ and ‘Shootin’ The Gift’ both maintain their original loops, but manage to sound ten times better with the addition of some extra horns and vocal samples, while the additional sounds added to the 12″ versions of ‘Droppin’ Science’ and ‘The Symphony’ take already great songs to another level. The King Tee and 3rd Bass remakes add completely new bases to the tracks, giving them a much-needed face-lift, while the ‘Jingling Baby’ remix is the perfect example of how to build upon a solid foundation and turn into a timeless classic.
Searching For The Perfect Remix: Diamond D
Diamond D was never too heavily involved in the remix game, but in the early days he cashed some checks where he could, and the was able to lend his sound to some otherwise forgettable groups like the Private Investigators and The A.T.E.E.M. His work for Brand Nubian and Ras Kass, however? Effin’ incredible. Welcome to what I like to call the classic ‘two-horse race’.
Searching For The Perfect Remix: The Stimulated Dummies
Dante Ross broke down the science of the Dummies back in my interview with him last year:
“One thing I gotta say – I had a partner through all this stuff named John Gamble. Up until the second Everlast record I worked on, damn near everything I ever did with him. He was like the engineer of the team, but also a producer, and he’s an incredibly underrated part of the element. Geeby Dajani, he was my partner in the beginning. He put us together and then he wasn’t really involved from a really early point, after maybe the first Brand Nubian record I didn’t really fuck with him on music too much after that. Maybe H2O a little bit, but that was it. The thing was I was more dominant in making the music, so we kinda had to stop working together ‘cos I was just too ambitious and driven, so I just kinda went for mine. The whole time though, I had Gamble next to me, helping me clean my shit up, make it sound better, fixing up my programming – very underrated element. I was just wanna give him thanks, props and praise. I just wanna shout out my partner John Gamble, ‘cos he’s an ill dude.”
Searching For The Perfect Remix: Pete Rock
Now we’re pulling out the big guns. Pete Rock has had a long and varied career, but in terms of his remixing work, he really peaked early on in as a result of being the ‘go to’ guy for much of the early 90’s. His two primary techniques during this period were to either add subtle but effective tweaks to the original formula, as he did with the ‘Slow Down’ remix and the vastly improved ‘Straighten It Out’ remix, or to completely flip the original and recreate it as a hyped-up, horn-soaked assault on the senses. Regardless of the style he utilized, he was able to make even the worst MC listenable for 4 minutes, which pretty much says it all.
Searching For The Perfect Remix: DJ Premier
I recently bumped into Premier backstage when he was last in town, having promised Marco Polo that I’d drink his share of the free beers. I vaguely recall exchanging a few wisecracks and sharing some weed with him, as well as witnessing Masta Ace eat an entire bowl of fresh fruit and Ed OG betting Premo that he’d be the last to leave the hotel tomorrow or some shit….[end name-dropping session]
Why have I chosen these eight remixes from the Works of Mart discography? Because they bang the hardest. Cue comments complaining that I’ve forgotten his stuff for Da King & I or that overrated Ras Kass remix.
Searching For The Perfect Remix: Buckwild
A case could be made for Buckwild being the most sophisticated remix scientist in hip-hop. He has a knack for being able to transform a good song into something incredible, as well as the ability to completely change the feel of a track without losing the essence of the original. Buckwild’s ‘Remix #1’ of ‘Life’s A Bitch’ flips the smoothed-out album version into an eerie vision of paranoia, while his interpretation ‘Daaam!’ twists a rowdy party starter into a smoked-out head nodder, while his version of ‘Rock On’ is nothing short of genius.
Searching For The Perfect Remix: Large Professor
Trying to pick the best Paul Mitchell remix is like trying to pick your favorite type of booze – they all work in the real situation. But since I’m restricting each round to eight selections, stuff like the “Resurrection’ remixes just missed out on making the cut.
Searching For The Perfect Remix: Da Beatminerz
What’s the greatest remix in rap? Tough question. A lot of people might say Pete Rock‘s remix of ‘Shut ‘Em Down’, but I figure the best way to narrow down the field is to group it by artist or crew for each round. You might want to grab some popcorn, this could take a while…
Mr. Walt & DJ Evil Dee are the foundation of Da Beatminerz crew, even though it’s membership has at various stages included Baby Paul, Rick Black, Chocolate Ty. and even Aaron “Freedom” Lyles and Ike Lee for the ‘Poppa Large’ remix (which Walt and Evil Dee weren’t involved with so I’m excluding it). While the crew has delivered some of their strongest work on original projects, they’ve also laced some top-notch remixes over the years. Here are eight of the best: