Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The D.O.C. Gets Busy In the House

Have you ever been listening to The D.O.C.'s fierce, hardcore masterpiece, No One Can Do It Better, and think to yourself: the only thing that could make this better is some upbeat, poppy house rhythms? Of course not, no one in the whole country has ever thought that. But over there in England, it's a different story. UK remixer extraordinaire CJ Mackintosh not only had that thought, but convinced the gang back home at Ruthless Records that they needed to come together to make this idea a reality!

That's right, arguably Dr. Dre's best hip-hop production work of his career got the hip-house make-over, not just in Europe, but on the domestic US single as well.

What I have here is a promo (obviously originally sent to a radio station run by somebody who likes to write on records), but there's also a commercial version with a regular Ruthless labels, a picture cover and the whole nine. But the track-listing is the same regardless: a pair of remixes of two of The D.O.C.'s hardest tracks from the album. No instrumentals, LP versions, etc... just one song per side.

The D.O.C.'s fast-paced lyrical slaughter "Portrait Of a Masterpiece" is now a house song. And a happy, cheerful one at that. The light piano riff sounds like something Mr. Lee would play, and are more than a little bit reminiscent of Kid 'N' Play's "Energy." The bassline would match perfectly with a kiddie rap about ninja turtles. The keyboard flare sounds like something Tiffany would take off her record for sounding too soft, and the drums... well, all house drums are pretty much exactly the same: "Emph, pop!, Emph, pop!" ad infinitum. His fast flow actually matches perfectly with the flow, and The D.O.C.'s enthusiastic ad-libs sound as if they were recorded specifically for this mix (they weren't though; they can be heard on the original).

It actually... kind of works, in a crazy way, if you can get over the sacrilege. It's even fruitier than regular hip-house records. But if you can appreciate hip-house at all, and if you're the kind of person who can get open to a L'Trimm record, then I daresay you should actually enjoy this.

That's the B-side. The A-side is actually remixed by Dr. Dre himself. He takes his dark and atmospheric "Mind Blowin'" and kinda smooths it out. It's interesting - it has a fresh siren sound loop and some "Buffalo Gal" vocal samples. The bassline is cool; not smoothed all the way into G-funk territory, but it definitely plays more relaxed than the original. I still prefer the first version, but both are funky and worth having in your collection.

As for the house mix? Well, I guess it depends how open-minded and eccentric a hip-hop head you are.


  1. Hey, in 1991 you weren't a big hip hop artist if you didn't have a CJ Mackintosh remix. Even Gang Starr had one I think.

    Does the CJ Mackintosh remix sound like every other CJ Mackintosh remix made in that period?

  2. Someone in my office was telling me this week she's friends with CJ Mackintosh. It seemed like he was remixing pretty much every hip hop release over here in the late 80s/early 90s. I think Take a Rest was the Gang Starr one with a CJ Mackintosh mix. A lot of UK releases were spoiled with these mixes (I can't front though - there's a few decent ones).

  3. The "Mind Blowin'" remix was used for the video, which eerily depicted the aftermath of his voice-killing car accident.