Thursday, July 08, 2010
Moments into reading this blog a few things become abundantly clear: 1)I have an insatiable appetite for unprovoked violence that would lead therapists the world over to openly wonder if I tortured puppies as a child. 2) I have more daddy issues than your local stripper turned escort 3) I can't go three paragraphs without referencing my penis in some sort of unseemly manner and 4)I have no problem whatsoever expressing my firm belief that DJ Premier is indeed a deity. As troubling to you as the first three examples may be, let me briefly address my penchant for proverbially building a shrine to the surviving member of Gangstarr. For the past couple of years I've come to the conclusion that the Texas born producer's music can cure any possible ill that one could ever imagine. The same way Chris Rock famously waxed poetic about his father's belief that Robitussin could magically reverse the affects of everything from asthma to broken tibias - "DJ Premier" is commonly my answer to every music question posed to me. Regardless of the genre, I believe that he could save any artist's career from sliding into the doldrums. I think he could score any motion picture, ranging from Victorian period pieces to German Shiza porn. Preemo could produce toe-tapping jingles that would make companies billions, create theme-songs to sitcoms that would leave an actor's pockets bulging with phat syndication dough. Catch me on the right day and I will tell you with a straight face that the man's music can save marriages and possibly broker peace deals. But what gets lost on this blog with all my incessant DJ Premier hero worship is another beat maker that I have tremendous respect for, Mr. Pete Rock.
The man's catalog speaks for itself, I've exhibited the same mangled snarl while simultaneously bobbing my head to his production ever since puberty first introduced itself to me. Hell, Pete Rock is the main reason why I know that I'd be a piss poor producer - because of his influential sound I'd be tempted to put horns in just about everything. But instead of citing his legendary catalog chapter and verse here, which would surely take up valuable space, I wanted to go into what I think is his particular field of expertise: The Remix. As much as DJ Premier is my favorite producer, a man who absolutely lays waste to any assignment where production re-imagining is needed - I've always admired the way Pete Rock seems to view the remix as an entirely separate entity. Its as if he purposely wipes his mental hardrive clean of any trace of the original production, completely overhauling the song to the point that it would be unrecognizable if it weren't for the lyrical content. Just the way a remix should be. Here are 4 of my favorite Pete Rock remixes.
Daf Efx: "Jussumen"(Pete Rock Remix)
Unlike the last example, the remix far outweighs the album version of this song by miles. Pete Rock turned a pretty milquetoast, shrug-worthy track into something that forces my body to do severely outdated Hip Hop dances wherever I hear it, regardless of the location. (Shoutout to my cousin Brendan. My nonstop playing of this song left him with a nervous twitch that never went away. Sorry cuz.)
Jeru tha Damaja: "You Cant Stop the Prophet"(Pete Rock Remix)
Ok, this is equivalent to Marty McFly challenging the space/time continuum. Something feels inherently wrong about anyone, Pete Rock or otherwise, remixing a DJ Premier produced song. That said, Pete Rock somehow managed to masterfully improve on a song that I already thought was pretty damn great already.
House of Pain: "Jump Around"(Pete Rock remix)
Not so much now, but when I was younger I had a habit of hating songs because I felt people solely flocked to them because of their novelty, not because the song was actually a good one. I wish I could say with confidence that my hate for this song was due to that rather faulty rationale, but it wasn't. I really hated this song, and at the time openly questioned people's intelligence and manhood if they even slightly suggested that they liked it. But Pete Rock's interpretation of "Jump Around" briefly gave religion to this cantankerous nonbeliever. Let me testify, the man works miracles.
Public Enemy: "Shut em down"(Pete Rock Remix)
By far my favorite Pete Rock remix of all time. I'm well aware that Public Enemy has a catalog filled with classics, but outside of Chuck D railing against John Wayne and Elvis Presley in "Fight the Power" - my second favorite PE moment is every time I hear the blaring horns on the "Shut em down" remix. The original track still stands up, perfectly highlighting the point they were trying to get across. But the Pete Rock remix not only makes me want to boycott companies who don't give back to the neighborhood, it makes me want to rally the troops and infiltrate their corporate headquarters while wearing Chewbacca's ammunition belt.