Sunday, April 29, 2007

Unreleased Slick Rick, Chapter Four

Ok, on the second version of Legends Vol. 2, Slick Rick's "Women Lose Weight" has been added as an "Unreleased" song. This song really isn't very unreleased... "Women Lose Weight" is a guest appearance track he did on Morcheeba's Charango LP, on Reprise Records (2002). It was also released as a single that same year. In general, J-Love seems to have loosened up his standards for what can be labelled "Unreleased" for this second mix.

To be fair, J-Love doesn't use the album version, but the impressive Alchemist remix, which is featured on every version of the single, but not the album. I've included a picture of my copy, with the sticker cover; but there's also a more commercially available picture cover featuring the Morcheeba logo over a shot of a subway car interior.

If you're not familiar, Morcheeba's kind of a funk sorta band, with two guys playing various live instruments, and a female vocalist (at the time of this song, Skye Edwards; but she's since been replaced by Daisy Martey), much in the vein of The Brand New Heavies. They've done a couple other songs with rappers, including Pace Won and Biz Markie, and the results have been consistently good. A lot of their songs feature guest instrumentalists as well... For "Women Lose Weight," band member Ross Godfrey (on guitar and keyboards) is joined by Richard Harrison on bass, Dan Goldman providing additional keyboards and Miles Bould on percussion. Skye sings the hook and Slick Rick provides all the rest of the vocals (it's really a proper Slick Rick song, not a single verse drop in). But all that live instrumentation is stripped away for a more traditional hip-hop track in Alchemist remix's... even Skye Edwards is replaced with various scratched vocal samples by Mobb Deep, Brand Nubian and MC Lyte (it's actually rather Premier-like), leaving no Morcheeba at all on the record.

It really is a great song, with Slick Rick at the top of his game. It's a funny, twisted first person narrative, where Rick decides his wife has gained too much weight and wants to leave her for his secretary... but since there's "laws which enforces divorces," he has to kill her.

"Screamin', 'who done took my heart?!' Acting shookin' up a lot;
At the funeral, thought everyone was lookin' at me odd,
Like I did it. Like I was the reason my mate's slain,
Murmuring, 'I heard he was displeased with her weight gain.'
While my secretary, sort of a sexy blonde, can’t cook -
All she does is order from restaurants.
'All of the sex you want'
I doubt could address: clothes not washed proper, and house look a mess.
And talkin' to detectives that was waitin' outside,
How I took a long lunch break day the wife died...!"

As with a lot of the best Slick Rick songs, he ends with a break from the narrative for the final verse, speaking as himself to tell us the moral: "desire is important... so watch your weight, it'll keep your mate smitten; it's a given. Though, lookin' back, I realize: I didn't have to kill her!"

There's actually a rarer, "Women Lose Weight (Spare Tyer Remix)," which keeps the original hook and sticks with original, live instrumentation. It's featured only on one, more limited 12" version from Reprise, and would've been much more deserving of the "Unreleased" title. I'm not sure if it's quite as good, though (I'd say it's about an even tie with the LP version... though the music is fairly different, and really all three are worth having), so you can't really blame 'im for going with the more common version. But I like how it gives the same vibe as all the old Sugarhill records, with the band and all. Certainly, if you're going to pick this up, it's worth holding out for the version with both remixes.

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