Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Snowed In With Lyte Week, Day 4: A Simile Because of the Usage of the Word "As"

Ok, I'm not really snowed in anymore. I went to work yesterday, and I even went out the night before. But there's still snow in my yard, so that's close enough for me to go on with awesome MC Lyte records. :)

"Lyte as a Rock" was a hot album track, with a fantastic beat and Lyte kicking fresh freestyle rhymes. But that version isn't actually on the "Lyte as a Rock" 12". This is a remix 12", with three non-album remix versions.

First up is King of Chill's "House Mix." This is the one there was a video for, where the door to a little girl's bedroom magically leads to a cave with Lyte kickin' it alongside some cavemen. Later, Lyte becomes an Egyptian queen, a 30's style gangster and an imprisoned revolutionary. It's pretty fresh. And despite being a "house mix," the remix is pretty fresh, too, retaining enough of the original to be an enjoyable variation of the original. And the way her voice is mixed so much higher over the beat with the funky bassline... it shouldn't work, but it does.

Next you've got Audio Two's "Soul Shock Mix." It's immediately very different with it's freaked horn samples, but at the same time it's the same because it reverts back to the original drums and even original keyboard sample. And after the first verse, Gizmo starts slicing up the whole thing on the tables - it gets a little crazy (at one point he even deads the beat and replaces it with the "Paper Thin" track), but it undeniably bangs. I don't think I've ever heard an Audio Two remix bug out this much, but I like it.

Finally, there's the "Miami Mix." It's not really clear from the label who produced this one - the others mixes give specific credit, but not this one. Despite it's name, it doesn't really sound like a Miami-style tune from this era, except that the drums are faster. The vocal track is often played with in a way that's just annoying rather than fresh (words are repeated, played backwards, or just dropped out, randomly). It's not terrible, but it feels like somebody's failed experiment.

So, that's it for "Lyte as a Rock" (there are no instrumentals or anything), but there is one last treat on this single: "Shut the Eff Up! (Hoe)," a raw diss track with Lyte once again taking it to Antoinette. So, essentially it's a follow-up to "10% Dis," and it's almost as good. The hook, which just consists of a few angry phrases ("hot damn, ho!" "Shut the fuck up!" "There's gonna be some shit") being scratched up, feels surprisingly rugged. When this was first released, it was a 12" exclusive - possibly because the label thought it was too nasty to allow on the album - making this a must-have single. But Atlantic later ended up putting this on Lyte's subsequent album, Eyes On This. It's still a dope song. In fact, it's one of the best on there. But it's rendered this 12" less essential. Still, the remixes are cool.

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