Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dimples D, Bewitched In Germany

Dimples D has earned a place for herself in hip-hop history with just one record, her classic "Sucker DJ's (I Will Survive)." Yes, it was an answer record to Run DMC's first hit, "Sucker MC's," and it's full of vocal samples that DJs have used for decades like, "he cuts the records with so much class." but it's more than that - it was a change in style and attitude, especially for female MCs, and it was a signature ode to scratching. It helped immensely that her DJ she was bigging up was the legendary Marley Marl, essentially making his debut as a DJ and producer (though technically, that honor goes to an obscure break dance record from the previous year, where he worked on the B-side dub mix). Dimples released her record in 1983 on Partytime Records. And then she disappeared, never to make another record again - she changed the game up and then vanished in a hot second.

At least... that's how the story's generally understood to have ended. But actually, she came back. In 1990. In Germany. She signed with ZYX Records, a label that has an surprisingly deep history of signing old school US artists who'd otherwise dropped off the scene. She dropped three or four singles (depending how you count it... more on that later) and a full-length album, mostly but not always with a new partner MC, collectively known as Dimples and Spice.

They recorded all new songs and released them as singles... but before that, Dimples tested the waters with her first (since 1983) single by remixing her hit. She called it "Resucker DJ."

Lady Spice is not featured on this 12", and Dimples doesn't spit anything new; she just uses her original acapella. And she didn't produce it either. You could almost call this a separate remix project - one of crappy those Run DMC Vs Jason Nivens-type dance singles that flooded hip-hop in the later 90's - except this was released by the same label, around the same time, and wound up on her Dimples and Spice album.

Now, if you're looking at the picture cover, you may've noticed the big "REMIX" and the small note underneath, "Original produced by Ben Liebrand." And you're probably thinking - wait, I thought Marley produced the original? You're right; he did (along with Andre Booth). What I eventually figured out this cover means is that there are two remixes on this 12"... the "original" remix of "Sucker DJ" on the B-side, which Ben Liebrand did produce, and then another remix, which actually pops up first on the A-side.

So, let's start with the A-Side. This is "Resucker DJ (Remix)," and it's not entirely clear whether they mean to say that this is a remix of another mix of "Resucker DJ" or just to generally inform us that "Resucker DJ" is a remix of "Sucker DJ's." Welcome to the world of ZYX; you'll get used to confusing labels like this if you stick around. Regardless, this is just a pretty enjoyable, very busy, more modern-sounding remix of "Sucker DJ's." It's pretty much what you'd expect, except that it doesn't suck. This version is mixed by Sanny X, an old school Swedish hip-hop artist. The fact that they keep it pretty hip-hop, as opposed to getting all trancey/ ravey like they usually do - is a huge boon. i mean, it's nothing essential, and it doesn't replace the original, but you definitely won't be mad at it - it's good times.

Then, flip it over, and you've got "Sucker Drums," which is essentially just a Dub Mix of what we've just heard, and then finally, "Sucker DJ (A Witch for Love)" (note, not "Resucker"... and why did "DJ's" become singular?). This is the one Ben Liebrand, and this one's pretty catchy. In fact, I understand it was a bit of a hit in Europe. So much so, that this B-side was also released as a separate, stand-alone single (which is why I said you could say Dimples either released 3 or 4 singles depending on how you keep score). Again, the acapella is just the original "Sucker DJ's," and again, they thankfully keep it to a regular, hip-hop beat that doesn't forget the scratches (after all, that's what this song is all about). But this time around, they add a few extra little samples and elements, but the body of this remix is the theme to "Bewitched." Yes, exactly the same silly sitcom refrain that DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince used for "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble." And, yes, it's a pretty transparent gimmick, but dammit... it just works perfectly with Dimples' voice and flow - perhaps more so than Will Smith's. I won't argue with any criticism you care to level at it - you'd probably be right - but damn it, it sure is fun to listen to.

I really picked this 12" up on a whim - hardcore collector that I am, of course I need a horrid, useless dance remix of an old Dimples D record that I just randomly stumbled across - but I wound up being quite pleased with it. It might rile purists a bit, but hey; it turned out she was directly involved with it, and even wound up making a whole album of new material to go along with it. If you like "happy rap," I think you'll be pleased with it, too.


  1. Ben Liebrand is a big name in Europe...he was one of the forefathers of cut-n-paste mixing since the early 80's. He often sat in juries of DMC editions aswell.

  2. I think it sampled 'I Dream Of Genie', not 'Bewitched', unless I'm much mistaken. Not having prior knowledge of the original theme music before hearing this version of 'Sucker DJs allowed me to initially appreciate it more. It's actually a really song.