Hip hop was originally the domain of the DJ. From the early days of Kool Herc and others, the emcee was just an accessory to the sound. Obviously things changed and over the last 25 years the rapper took the stage as the beginning and end of hip hop. But spitting rhymes is only one part of the musical equation, and it makes me really happy to see that over the last couple of years the producer is re-emerging as an equally significant contributor. A recent example was the Rome and Four Tet collaboration, and now we have another great one from Oddisee and 20syl. Sorry backpackers, but I’ve got your “real hip hop” right here.
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Four Tet is the master of the drum beat, so while aside from a couple Madvillian remixes it’s a little surprising that he hasn’t really done any hip hop production during his illustrious career. That’s changing now as he joins forces with up-and-coming Atlanta emcee Rome Fortune for a pair of original tracks, this one being the first of the two. “One Time For” features a very distinguishable Four Tet beat and gorgeous vocal samples that allow Rome Fortune to get down on a flow that sets him apart from his contemporaries. It’d be worth keeping an eye on his Soundcloud account for the second one.
There are some artists and songs that make such great remix fodder that they’re quickly overdone. Perhaps no artist has had his music chopped and screwed more than the legendary Notorious B.I.G. More like, Notoriously remixed, am I right? In any case, with a few rare exceptions, the Biggie remix has been overdone the last decade or so. But even rarer than the noteworthy rework is one that you know the man himself would have been a fan of. No Miley Cyrus or ridiculous club banger here, just some elegantly structured throwback vibes from French producer Lucas Chambon. Parce que si vous ne savez pas, maintenant vous savez.
We all know the wonderful feeling of getting knocked on your feet by a song at first listen, but perhaps one of the more underrated moments is the insta-hook of a remix that does it so much better than the original that it’s almost offensive (RAC is a repeat offender). Vancouver producer Stint takes Q-Tip’s “Work It Out” and by the first three words you realize this is something different. Moody, smooth and hopeful – it’s easy to get lost in this beautiful re-imagination that tones down the production just enough to carry Tip’s verses delicately along.
Perhaps the most electrifying rapper of the current generation, Danny Brown is planning on re-releasing his 2008 LP Hot Soup, with 7 additional tracks that includes this alternate version of “Contra.” This is Danny Brown near his finest, spitting filthy, abrasive bars over a minimalist old school hip hop beat that allows his chaotic delivery to take center stage.