Friday, July 12, 2013

Truly Yours, Marley's Forgotten Remix

Marley Marl and Cold Chillin' have a history of releasing fantastic, slightly extended, reworked but not totally remade remixes on promo 12"s during the prime Juice Crew era. They're not all new sample sets or your typical "it's an all new version," style remix; it's basically just Marley going back to the lab, pulling it apart, and putting it back together again a little more exciting. A little more of his secret spice, as he'd say now. Think of Big Daddy Kane's "Ain't No Half Steppin'" remixTragedy's "Arrest the President" remix, MC Shan's "Juice Crew Law" remix, the Hot Chillin' extended versions... They've been some of the most compelling reasons for hip-hop lovers to start collecting vinyl over the years. Well, there's another one you don't hear about: Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's "Truly Yours" remix.

I'm not talking about that "Truly Yours '98" thing G Rap did with Pete Rock and Extra P, which had everyone wondering "why the hell is a producer album recycling instrumentals made by other producers?" No, this is a vintage, 1989 12" single, with another recooked-but-not-drastically-remade remix by Marley, on Cold Chillin' Records.

I'm sure very few of you reading this need me to tell you that "Truly Yours" is infamous. It's probably the coldest diss record not directed at another rapper. The beat is crazy, old school funky and G Rap just takes it real slow and direct as he puts his ex-girlfriends on blast over a chunky bassline. The second verse is also certainly the most homophobic rap ever committed to wax. It was the 80's, not the most enlightened times.. And really, the fun of it id that the entire song is just designed to make his targets feel as shitty as possible about their lives. "Yeah, you got a little nine to five; so what? What do you do for a living, slice cold cuts?" Hopefully, they're all hypothetical composite characters, like New York Magazine does.  =)

So, anyway, this remix. Granted, it's not as impressive as most of the others I listed above... not so much because this instrumental doesn't stand on par wit the others, because it does. But it's just not one where the remix was such an improvement, at least compared to "Arrest the President," say. But I'm surprised how under-represented it is. I mean, even when Traffic reissued Road To the Riches as a 2CD, 4LP set with all the 12" remixes and radio freestyles, they somehow missed this one. They threw on all those Dub Mixes and A Capellas, but left this off.

Granted, the remixing this time is really subtle. So much so, in fact, most of it could be written off completely as negligible.  The cuts sound more prominent in the mix, but they're the same cuts. The ending is noticeably different... after Marley says, "word, now you wild females know how G Rap livin'," on the album version it quickly fades out. On this 12" remix, the ending is extended, and the big break beat and "hold up, my man" vocal sample come back for a reprise before the song ends.

Surprisingly, the biggest difference isn't instrumental at all; it's in the words. Marley's words. Before the second verse, Marley prompts Kool G Rap by saying,

"Yo, G, man. Yo, you should diss her man. Yo, I heard he's a homo, anyway!"

But on this Remix Vocal, his line has been completely removed and replaced. Marley's still here, though, with a new prompt:

"Oooohhh woooh!  'Ey yo, 'ey yo. Yo, G Rap! Why don't you kick it about her man. He be dressin' funny, anyway! Ha HAA!"

Did Marley have second thoughts? Maybe he wanted to dial back his participation in the vicious verbal onslaught to follow. More likely in my opinion, this change was just made to make for radio. Somebody at Warner Bros probably told them they shouldn't say "homo" on the air. But in context of the rest of the record, which admittedly doesn't feature any actual curse words, that one line seems like a pretty soft spot. In fact, we know that even with the change, this record still wound up causing a controversy and boycotted off the radio. As Kool G Rap told it in his Unkut interview, "That 'other community' got a little sensitive behind it and I heard that they boycotted one of the stations in California that added the record into rotation. They snatched my record off the air, they snatched my album off the shelves at a real crucial point in my career. I might’ve had a Gold record with Road To the Riches if it wasn’t ‘cos of that."

 So, I really can't say this remix is essential. The instrumental changes are too slight to probably even ping most listeners' radar, and some people might consider the vocal switch to make this a censored, radio mix. It's certainly an interesting little 12", though. It also has a Dub Mix and the album track "Cold Cuts" on the B-side, so it's not a bad crate filler. There's also a second, promo version of this 12" that has the same A-side, but a Remix Vocal - Fade version on the B-side instead of the other stuff, which I presume is the same as the A-side, but fades out like the LP mix.

1 comment:

  1. I always thought the "What do you do for a living, slice cold cuts?" line would sound great cut-up for a DJ routine. Someone out there had to do it, right?