Saturday, March 12, 2011

Keep On Keepin' On (Test Pressing Hotness)

Now, you may remember me talking about how the demo version of The Outsidaz' single "Keep On" was infinitely greater than the album version. If not, have a refresher. :) But, still, the album version wasn't bad... a fun duet between Pace Won and Young Zee. Yeah, the beat and the rhymes were both superior on the original, but it was still a solid, Rockwilder-produced track. After all, it was chosen to be the lead single in 2000 for their Bricks album, and it features their signature sick wordplay like, "punk, ya gonna make me use the steel and blast ya Coup de Ville - hit the right side up, make ya lose the wheel."

And that single was pretty nice. It came in a sticker cover[upper left], and broke the song down to its various components: Clean, Album, Instrumental and A Capella versions. Plus, it was backed with another decent album track, "Done In the Game," which was also broken down all four versions. And if you happened to live in the UK (where, for some reason, the Outz continued to get a lot of support and promotion from their label, who'd veritably dropped them in the US), they had a fancy picture cover version with an exclusive, Mozart Remix. Produced by some guy named Marcus Saunders, it's, um, okay... It's got sort of a lighter, smoother sound and samples some strings which I presume are sampled from a Mozart piece. Die-hard Outz collectors have it, and the rest of you can sleep easily at nights without it.

But that's not the end of the story...

A test-press only release of "Keep On" remixes! The A-side[as you can see, above] starts out with the Mozart Mix, which is the same as on the UK 12", plus the Instrumental, which is also on the UK one. But the B-side features two more exclusive versions: The Rude Bwoy Mix and the Rugged Mix, both seemingly credited (it's a little hard to be certain with the handwritten label) to DJ Kemo of the Canadian indie rap crew The Rascalz (remember "Northern Touch?").

Both of these mixes keep the raw, noncommercial edges to The Outsidaz sound that the Mozart foolishly smoothed off. The bassline is deep and grabs your attention first, but it's the low-fi reggae-style percussion that really makes the Rude Bwoy Mix click. Meanwhile, the moody, street-themed Rugged Mix sounds like something Kool G Rap would rhyme over in his most criminal mindset, combined with a, well... a Rascalz record. Of all the variant mixes out there, this is the best one... except for the demo mix, which as I said before, was really an entirely different song with different vocals by different Outz members. But for this version, if you're going to listen to this set of verses by Pace and Zee, then the Rugged Mix is the definitive version, topping the album version and the rest.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how many copies of this exist. But if you're an Outsidaz fan and you come across it, you owe it to yourself to pick it up.

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