Friday, February 6, 2009

Poison Clan Appreciation Week, Day 9: The Poison Clan Record They Call 'Action'

"Action" is a nice little remix 12" from Poison Clan's second album, Poisonous Mentality, that came out in 1992. Interestingly, it doesn't even feature the album versions, just three exclusive 12" remixes in clean and dirty versions.

First up is Mike Fresh's "Nasty Mix." The album version was already one of the better Poison Clan joints, with some slick reggae-style lines by Uzi ("any pussy won test go head and murder dem"), and JT spinning some straight gangsta tales:

"I remember, me and this cat did a caper;
Two young niggas 'bout gettin' paper.
"We tossed a nigga we heard had big grip,
Walkin' around with five or six money clip.
We laid him down and got away;
Went back 'round the way to count our pay.
We had five grand exactly.
The nigga had my gun and then he point it at me.
I gave the nigga the loot and he stepped away;
But then I bumped into his ass the next day,
Put that thing up to his head and said 'give it, nigger.
Yesterday you were bad with your hands on the trigger.'
He said the dope made him act in that fashion;
I say fuck that shit... (I want action!)"

The only downside was that the track was built around a familiar sample (and cutting up the same vocal sample Special Ed's DJ used on his first album as his anthem), making it the perfect candidate for a dope new instrumental by Mike McCray. Echoes of the original remain, but it's constantly being scratched and switched out with new (albeit also familiar) beats. But they go one further than just re-tooling the music, it's basically an all-new song with new vocals and everything. Uzi's reggae verse is replaced with more genuine Jamaican flavor by actual reggae artist Likkle Wicked. JT kicks two new verses, more in the freestyle battle rhyme mode, and even though his reggae chat was removed, Uzi's still on the track, kicking a straight-up American-style rap verse. It might've made more sense to call this "Action part 2" rather than just a remix - it's pretty must-have for any PC fan.

DJ Laz provides the second remix, the "Reggae Mix." It also uses the new lyrics and Likkle Wicked's parts. Now, pretty much everything I've ever heard from DJ Laz has, uhmm, sucked? But this one gets a pass for basically turning the whole thing into a classical reggae instrumental. Certainly the Mike Fresh version is the banger, but this is an okay alternative that achieves a distinct vibe and works alright if played right after the first mix.

Finally, Felix Sama provides an extended mix of another Poisonous Mentality track, "Groove With the Poison Clan." This isn't just an extended version; it's a full out remix with a totally different instrumental. But in this case, that might be where they went wrong. It was a fun, lighter song with a brief appearance by Uzi again. So an extended remix of the album version would've been a neat bonus; but this replaces the enjoyable instrumental of the original with generic-sounding club music. It does accurately reproduce the feel of being in a crummy club, I'll give it that; and it's not terribly executed. But unless you're starved for any new Poison Clan material, I'd recommend just sticking with the album version.

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