Saturday, February 20, 2010

Juice Crew Defies the Law!

When is an LP Version not an LP Version? When it's the LP Version of MC Shan's "Juice Crew Law," in which case it's a super dookey hype remix cleverly disguised as an LP Version!

Yeah, this is a 12" that tends to sit on shelves, passed up by collectors in favor of other 12" singles with exclusive B-sides and remixes. That's because the label promises only a "Vocal Version" and a "Dub" for both songs on the 12", so there's not a lot to tempt anyone who already owns Shan's Born To Be Wild album. Heh. If only they knew...

This is really a must-have 12". While this version of "Juice Crew Law" uses essentially the same beat (and Shan's verses are the same), it's mixed differently, with deeper bass and harder drums. More importantly, there's tons of high energy scratching provided by the great Marley Marl (who also produced). He even talks on the mic, reprising his "I ain't gonna give y'all no microphones no more, 'cause y'all tear it up when you're out there" character from "The Symphony," telling Shan, "I ain't gonna give you no microphone neither!" It may not be radically different - "Juice Crew Law" was already a tight track on the album - but it's a distinct and marked improvement. This is the definitive way "Juice Crew Law" should be heard.

Then the B-side, "They Used To Do It Out In the Park," is different too. The beat is way more broken down, often with just Shan rhyming over the simple drum loop and snare kicks. But like the other version there's a whole bunch of new scratching. It's mostly on the hook, but also comes in at certain points to illustrate the old school stories he's telling about shows he heard in the park. The signature scratchy horn loop from the album version is still played on the hook, but now there's new horn sounds, as well as vocal samples, constantly being cut into the mix. Like the "Juice Crew Law" mix, this adds a whole lot more energy to the song, because there's clearly a live DJ working behind Shan throughout the whole song.

So here's a 12" that features two of Shan's best cuts, both given exclusive, killer remixes (plus Dub versions), that make the album versions feel like under-produced demo mixes. And it's so slept on, it always goes for cheap. I felt like I was getting away with something shady when I found this out and picked up my copy. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for clearing things up and helping me find this song. I kid you not; I had this 12" in my hands in the summer of '88 and put it back because it didn't indicate it was a remix. I went back to Camelot Music two weeks later to pick it up anyway and they stopped selling vinyl! I went to another local record store (run by DJs mind you) and asked for the 12" but the guy I spoke with told me he couldn't order it for me (He's still DJing to this day, with Serato). I thought it was a white label release so I pretty much gave up and was relegated to listening to the copy I had on tape from a local mix show back in the day. I would ocassionally look for a cleaner copy and all I could find was Herbaliser's version where he added his own touch to it but I wanted the original. Now 22 years later you clarify what the 12" single really was and of course I've ordered a copy (not all sites have it for cheap). Thank you.

    No I don't have a record player to play it on. I have a turntable.