Saturday, March 23, 2013

Glow-Stick Dance To EPMD

Here's something that happened about 10 years too late. Back in '89, Mantronix and EPMD were Sleeping Bag label-mates. Imagine how dope it would've been to have Kurtis Mantronik, back when he was in beat making mode for guys like Just-Ice and T La Rock, to have come up with a remix for EPMD's "Strictly Business" 12", with a new guest verse by MC Tee. But that never happened. Instead, after the surprising and irrational success of the Jason Nevins Vs. Run DMC single, where this Nivens guy made a clubby techno remix of Run DMC's "Hard Times," imitators started jumping out of the wood-work. And now that Mantronik had left Mantronix and hip-hop and was just making club music, he became one of the earliest to jump on the bandwagon with his own remix of an old school hip-hop classic.

So this came out in 1998 on Priority and Playland Records, and it's even got the same cover style as the Nevins single, with both artists logos' over solid black. There's also a second version that came out the same year on Epic Records, because this was picked up for the Blade (Wesley Snipes vs. vampires) soundtrack; but it's the exact same track-listing on both: four versions of the one remix. There's the main MBA Formula mix, a Radio Edit, the MBA Instrumental and a longer Rascal Dub. It's called the Rascal Dub because it was edited by Albert Cabrera for One Rascal Productions, so named because he's one of the original Latin Rascals gone solo. But I have no idea what the MBA is supposed to stand for.

Still, it's a fun little remix. Of course, not a patch on the original; but it also keeps pretty much everything from the original: the chunky piano notes, the Bob Marley vocal sample, etc. It speeds it all up and lays it over a high bpm dance track... and their flows sound good over a faster track. Plus Mantronik actually uses the turntables and cuts up the acapella a little.  He doesn't really cut loose and go all Skratch Picklz on us (which would've been really cool) or anything; but having his cuts on top of K La Boss's, over the faster, thumping track is actually pretty catchy.

Really, apart from speeding it up and adding a little bassy keyboards and some light, spacey percussion bits; he's not doing much remixing it all. If he put this on a mix-tape, you wouldn't really label it a remix, you'd just say he sped it up to blend in with the other tracks. I don't know if Mantronik quits his original keyboard riff right after the introduction, or if they just get completely drowned out by the original version's bassline; but either way, it's essentially just the song sped up with a little added flair. You can't really get impressed by it as an artistic achievement; but it's an enjoyable listen nonetheless. And let's face it, if were at the club in 1998, this is something you could request - unless the DJ was specifically playing a hip-hop set, he'd never slow it down to put on the original. But with this record, your girl could do her glow-stick dance while you get to hear Parrish Smith lay down the law on biting (relationships are all about compromise, you know). So artistic achievement, no; but it provides a genuine service, which is more than you can say about most of the crap these labels come out with. I'll approve it.

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