Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kam's Face Lift

So, just like Werner's blog just got a little fact-lift, so did one of Kam's records. "Pull Ya Hoe Card" is a single off his second album, 1995's Made In America. It features an exclusive remix (as well as the album version), which is the mix they used in the music video etc.

It's a tight, G-funk record produced by the experts, E-A-Ski and CMT, but with hard enough beats and quality samples to appeal to hip-hop fans who usually cringe at the term "G-funk" as well. Of course, a majority of the credit for that east and other coast appeal also goes to Kam himself, with a tough, serious flow and lyrics that range from politics, The Nation of Islam, to the streets. "Pull Ya Hoe Card" is a little less message-oriented than some of his previous singles, like "Peace Treaty"... the subject matter's pretty self-explanatory from the title:

"So will the real O.G.'s please stand up?
Swearin' you a gangsta, but got the wrong hand up.
'I put that on the hood!' That's your favorite line;
Quick to chump a gang sign and say, 'I'm down for mine!'
I took a lotta shit, even in my own town.
'All them Muslim niggas is marks!' Now how that shit sound?
You better ask around before you come up missin'...
We got ways to handle people who don't wanna listen;
With respect from the streets to the cell blocks,
Somebody might find your tongue and your ears in a mailbox."

...Interestingly, the clean version edits out the phrase "your tongue and your ears," and on the album version he says "and now I gotta get down" instead of "even in my own town." Personally, I prefer the latter.

Now the remix isn't too drastically different. It's the exact same beat and rhymes. But producer G-One (who's a regular DJ Quik collaborator) has added some new, smooth skatting on the hook (singing "da da da dah da" etc), that's surely a signature element of the song for people who remember hearing it on the radio, and were surprised not to hear it on the album, where they just let the beat ride in silence for the hook. He also adds a very subtle but perfect piano behind the hook (and a few other points). I could see the casual listener not even noticing the differences, but the changes are a real improvement for those who care enough to catch the differences.

If you look at the label, you'll also notice there are versions that specify being "w. samples." Those versions feature a bunch of vocal samples taken from movies, speeches, television, etc. They sound dope, and add to the song, so to my mind they're the definitive version, I wouldn't bother with the mixes without 'em. But it's up to you, 'cause the 12" gives you both options.

Now, this last part is important. The version I've pictured is the promo version, with the white label and red sticker cover. The official single version has the typical, dark East/West label and a purple sticker cover. You need the promo version, because that's the only one that features the dirty version of the remix. The proper single stupidly only features the clean edits of the remix. The promo version also includes both instrumentals - the regular one only has the remix instrumental - and the acapella, which is absent from the proper single. So the promo version is essential for this one.

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