Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prince Paul + Chill Rob G = Greatness

Chill Rob G is definitely one of those artists who should've had more albums. It's one of those "the music industry screwed up" stories that he only put out one album in his heyday, because he definitely had the critical and fan following to support a fuller career. But because his output is so limited, it makes every rare B-side or remix all the more essential. Especially when it turns out he ventured outside of his safety zone of making incredible tracks with The 45 King to record with the one and only Prince Paul.

Yeah, this is his 1990 single "Let Me Show You," which features two tracks from his classic album, Ride the Rhythm. But they're not the album versions, they're subsequent remixes. It also comes in a fresh picture cover and includes instrumental versions, so it's pretty sweet.

So, yeah, the A-side: the "Let Me Show You Ultamix" is remixed by Prince Paul and Pasemaster Mase, a.k.a. Maseo of De La Soul. Now, it's hard to say that this is better than the album version, because we're talking about prime 45 King production here. But as you can imagine, their Ultamix is zanier, and uniquely fresh. While the original was tough with a killer horn sample, the Ultamix is upbeat, with a new horn sample, a piano riff that Paul used for somebody else and a crazy cartoon sound effect in the main loop. They two versions are totally different and don't feel like the same song at all... If Chill didn't have some memorable lines on this song ("the truth will set you free, let you see the light; there's no need to watch TV tonight"), they probably could've slapped a new title on this and nobody would've noticed (just like they did with "The Power!").

Now you're probably less excited for the B-side remix, the Midnight Remix of "Make It" by Nephie Centeno. That's understandable.  First of all, "Make It" is the album's token house track. And secondly, who the fuck is Nephie Centeno? But come on, you can't front on 45 King's house tracks. He had a way of making some of the few hip-house tracks that could stand alongside the purest of hip-hop tracks. Younger heads might not quite get it, but if you were their age back in the late 80s, I don't believe you were skipping over these tracks.

And as for who's Nephie Centeno? I have no idea (though he has a couple other credits on discogs); but he plays it smart by not spoiling DJ Mark's work. While Paul and Mase essentially made a whole new instrumental for the acapella; Centeno keeps pretty much all of the original version's elements... same key sample, same funky bassline, same vocal sample on the hook... he just adds some elements, freaks it a bit, and makes an even more club-friendly version of the track. He also extends it by an extra two minutes, repeating the second verse (just like they did with "The Power!") to make it a proper, three verse song.

A fun note about the Instrumental version of this remix, by the way... While it's naturally missing most of Chill Rob's vocals (being an instrumental and all), they've included some new vocal samples to flesh it out, including Mel Brooks' sleazy "come on, do it... you know you do it" as King Louis XVI from History Of the World, Part 1 (plus, I guess if we're naming vocal samples, that "okay, chaps, take it from the top" line The Fat Boys used on "Rapp Symphony (In C-Minor)").

Now, how essential this 12" is depends on which pressing of Ride the Rhythm you have. The original pressing just has the original 45 King versions of both songs. But later pressings added the "Let Me Show You (Remix)," transferring a lot of the value from the single to the album (just like they did with "The Power!"). The "Make It" remix is still exclusive to the single, though. So if you've got an original LP, you'll definitely want the 12"; but otherwise, it depends how highly you rate a tweaked house track.

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