Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Whata Ya Want fur Nuthin'?

Let me start off my saying I haven't really been keeping up with the EPMD comeback hype, but what I have heard of their new reunion album, We Mean Business, (the CD is already out now; the vinyl drops later this month) was pretty respectable. So when I saw this second single (following the "Blow" 12", which came out ages ago) being offered as a freebie with any purchase from accesshiphop.com, I threw it in the cart. That single is "Run It (Remix)."

Now, from what I understand (feel free to correct me in the comments if I'm wrong; like I said, I haven't followed too closely), "Run It" was one of several tracks promotionally leaked onto the internet in advance of the album. The beat (self-produced by EPMD like most of the album) was cool, but response was a little underwhelming. So this was later leaked again, as a remix. The beats and rhymes were the same, but they added a new verse by Krs-1 at the end (he also threw in some ad-libs behind Eric and Parrish's vocals). That version was better received, and that's what finally wound up on the album.

Well, this single makes the bizarre choice to go back to the non-Krs 1 version. It's brought to you by Scion, the same car company(?) that put out that kinda cool Big Daddy Kane/Percee-P collabo last year. Supposedly you can hear samples of all their hip-hop promo singles on their website, but I can't get it to do anything but crash my browser.

So anyway, you've got three remixes here: the "Herve's Got His Hands Up Remix" by Joshua Harvey, the "Sinden Remix" by Graeme Sinden and the "Duke Dumont Mix" by Duke Dumont. No, I've never heard of any of those guys, either. And I'll tell you straight off, the first two remixes are crap. Can I just leave it at that? I guess I shouldn't.

Ok, well, any element you liked about the original instrumental is out - the ill piano looop right down to the hip-hop drums. Both remixes use typical club beats instead, and just use a different sample set on top. Harvey's variation is an irritating collage of straight-off-the-laptop sounds. He also rips out all the vocals, and just endlessly drops in a few repeating vocal samples from Sermon's verse. It's sort of a cross between the sounds of a construction site and a dentist's drill.

Sinden's remix, on the other hand, is like you might expect to hear in a London dance club, if you're an American who's never been overseas and has the worst possible opinion of Europeans. He also spends a lot of time looping short snippets of Sermon's verse, but eventually lets P's verse play through, albeit often chopped and juggled. I'm sure you've heard every sound on this mix in other dance club mixes, and you hated them then, too. I was left wanting to break up with my girlfriend for making me experience this, but then I realized I subjected myself to this.

Fortunately, Duke Dumont's remix is on a substantially higher level. I mean, it's not great; but compared to the other two it's like vintage Paul C. For one, it's back to being a hip-hop verse, with real drums and EPMD both actually spitting their verses (though still no Krs). It sounds like something you might randomly catch on Hot 97 in the evening. The hook is reduced to simply the phrase "Hands Up" looped a few times, but it's passable. Dumont adds some cool, Egyptian-sounding musical elements and marries them fairly well to the track - it's even catchy, but it kinda sounds like this track would fit a lot of artists better than EPMD.

In the end, though, the clear winner is the album version - which, for the record, isn't included here - followed by the promotional leak that wound up being rendered obsolete. But Duke Dumont's version isn't terrible, and you might finding yourself revisiting it every couple of years as a curiosity piece, if you've got the single in your collection. At least it's free.


  1. Hi Werner.

    I´m know you and your blog from the DWG Forum.
    This is off-topic, but I need to know something.
    In your limited release List you talk about a Kwest The Madd Lad CD and 2 Lord Finesse Releases.
    Can you please give me a link how these look like and maybe where I can buy em??

    Please let me know.
    Thanks a lot.


  2. Sure thing.
    The Kwest CD is easy - you can get it from Amazon, UGHH and a bunch of other places.
    The Finesse ones are probably easiest to order direct from the label's myspace page (you can get the Kwest there as well), which is: