Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New Dang Record

Here's a record that almost slipped under my radar, and probably yours as well. It's not on discogs, places like UGHH and AccessHipHop didn't get it, I haven't seen any reviews or message board discussions of it... In fact I'm pretty sure the only way to get Buck 65's new single is through his webstore. You'll be pleased to discover that it's refreshingly cheap ($3.96), but the inflated shipping costs make up the difference, so oh well.

The single is "Dang!" off of Buck's Situation album. I was pretty uniformly disappointed by Skratch Bastid's production on this album (and he did all but two of the tracks), so any kind of Situation remix release is very welcome in my book. And that's what this is.

The A-side is the song straight off the album. The song's basically another conventional old school homage, with the title and hook being a send-up of the riffs on songs like Lovebug Starski's "Dancin' Party People" or Newcleus's "Jam On It:" "Dang diggy dang a-dang a-dang diggy diggy." Yes, Speech, Kid Rock and a hundred garage bands did already do this before; but I guess anyone making an old school tribute song at this point isn't going for originality. The lyrics spell it out pretty implicitly, "Do you remember the old ways of rockin' it? Layin' the law down and microphone cockin' it; Tellin' it, spellin' it out with block capitals; Cardboard boxin' and rap battlin' like: Dang diggy dang di-dang di-dang diggy diggy," etc (the lyrics do get more creative as it progresses, but you get the idea). It features some big drums, grungy guitar, and some nice (if undermixed) scratches during the chorus. Individually the elements are all ok, but together it all sounds loudly muddled in a way you know wouldn't be the case if Buck had just done the production himself. Fortunately, the new remix flows substantially better.

It's remixed by Stu Ray, who you've never heard of because he's actually a contest winner. Some Canadian website ran a contest to remix "Dang!" and getting featured on this 7" was part of the prize (he also won "two tickets to see Buck 65 at an upcoming tour show, meet and greet with Buck 65 himself, and a copy of Propellerhead Software’s 'Reason' Version 4 Digital Mixing Software"). But don't dismiss it as some corny fan mix; he comes with a much better version than the original song.

And the "Stu Ray Remix" doesn't totally come out of left field. It has similar drums and is in keeping with the mood of the album version. But it strips away the guitars and instead adds a few effects. It's just a generally smoother, catchier tune. Whereas the last one felt noisy, this one's a headnodder that also draws you further into the lyrics. Get this one while you can.

Amusingly, this is actually the second remix contest Buck 65 has had for his Situation album; and that remix also blew the album version out of the water. Strange Famous Records had a contest to remix the track "Shutter Buggin'," which was won by a guy named Aupheus ...My only gripe was that he replaced the awesome Chill Rob G vocal sample with a sample of Buck's own voice. Give me a version of that remix but with the original vocal sample on the hook, and we'd have a must-own 12" on our hands! Unfortunately, that remix was not released as a single, it only "receive[d] prime placement on the Strange Famous Records Myspace page, Buck 65’s Myspace page, as well as [made] available for download on" Buck? Sage? Please say it isn't too late to consider another 7". :/

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