EPMD feat. LL Cool J
“Rampage [Hardcore To The Head Mix]”
Rampage [CD Single]
EPMD feat. LL Cool J — Rampage [Hardcore To The Head Mix] /

Produced by Pete Rock
(1991)

This supremely neck snapping reworking of Erick, Parrish, and LL’s classic was actually the second of two Pete Rock remixes. Where the first remix is a logical extension of the original formula’s bounce, the “Hardcore To The Head Mix” completely deconstructs the record and gives it a menacing, sparse break beat with signature Soul Brother #1 horn flourishes. Bear in mind this was done before most of the hip-hop world outside of NYC was even familiar with Pete Rock’s name. When Erick Sermon said "I’m doper than the Pete Rock remixes" years later, I imagine this is the first joint he had in mind.

Reverse the Curse is in full effect here, as the released version ishes and kcufs some of Parrish’s harsher, but not quite four-letter words.

24 plays

A Tribe Called Quest feat. Leaders of the New School
“Scenario [Young Nation Mix]”
Revised Quest For The Seasoned Traveller
A Tribe Called Quest feat. Leaders of the New School — Scenario [Young Nation Mix] /

Produced by Marc O. Nelson
(1991)

When you think of "Scenario" remixes, this is not the one that comes to mind, but it still rocks.

Only available on the UK 12” and the import Revised Quest For The Seasoned Traveller compilation, the Young Nation Mix gets a healthy dose of early 90s bass thump, courtesy of the Young Disciples’ Marc O. Nelson.

10 plays

De La Soul feat. Dres, A Tribe Called Quest, Lovie Brown, Bestro & Vinia Mojica
“What Yo' Life Can Truly Be”
A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays" [CD Single]
De La Soul feat. Dres, A Tribe Called Quest, Lovie Brown, Bestro & Vinia Mojica — What Yo’ Life Can Truly Be /

Produced by De La Soul
(1991)

The “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” 12” contained several re-workings of the original track, with the most intriguing being this Native Tongues free for all. “What Yo’ Life Can Truly Be” keeps the same drum track, but adds a new bass line and all new verses and guests.

The two mystery MCs are Amityville natives Lovie Brown and Bestro (Da Altered Beast). I can’t find any info on Brown, but you may recognize Bestro’s voice from Prince Paul’s Horror City group. They’re most famous for having their unreleased album tracks recycled and put to good use on Prince Among Thieves.

20 plays

Big Daddy Kane
“It's Hard Being The Kane [Extended Remix]”
It's Hard Being The Kane [CD Single]
Big Daddy Kane — It’s Hard Being The Kane [Extended Remix] /

Produced by Marley Marl
(1991)

This remix from Big Daddy Kane’s Taste Of Chocolate represents a reunion of sorts for Kane and Marley Marl. The legendary Juice Crew pioneer, who produced all of the MC’s introductory singles and entire debut album, only handled two tracks on the follow up (one of those being a live version of the classic "Wrath Of Kane"), and was completely absent from Kane’s third record.

By 1991, Marley Marl had moved on to help LL Cool J craft his best (not a comeback!) album, and Big Daddy Kane immersed himself to the point of no return into his lover-man steez with the laughably horrendous "All Of Me" (I WANNA JUST LAY ON THE FLOOR AND MAKE LOVE TO YOUR SHADOW), and his pictorial participation in Madonna’s Sex book.

Taste Of Chocolate, while not a bad album, continued a downward spiral from which Kane would never fully recover. The Prince Paul-produced "It’s Hard Being The Kane" was easily one it’s best moments, and this Marley Marl reworking gave the track some new jingling, baby.

10 plays

Public Enemy feat. Pete Rock
“Shut 'Em Down [Pete Rock Mixx]”
Shut 'Em Down [CD Single]
Public Enemy feat. Pete Rock — Shut ‘Em Down [Pete Rock Mixx] /

Produced by Pete Rock
(1991)

I’m kicking off my comeback week with one of the most revered hip-hop remixes of all time. "Shut ‘Em Down" was a good, powerful single from Apocalypse ‘91…The Enemy Strikes Black, but in Pete Rock’s hands, it became a full-fledged classic. The driving bass from Isley Brothers’ "Ain’t I Been Good To You?" combined with those infamous underwater echoing saxophone riffs to epitomize what a remix should be. Rock successfully captured the original record’s energy (even going so far as to leave a small remainder of the original composition laying low in the mix) while enhancing and taking it to the next level of…next levelness. Oh yeah, Pete Rock rhymes on it, too.

191 plays

Biz Markie
“Alone Again”
I Need A Haircut
Biz Markie — Alone Again /

Produced by Biz Markie
(1991)

Here’s yet another deleted track #12 from an early 90s Cold Chillin’/Juice Crew LP. This time it’s the controversial “Alone Again” from Biz Markie’s third release, I Need A Haircut. Biz’s record samples a 10-second piano loop and chorus from Gilbert O’Sullivan’s most well-known hit, "Alone Again (Naturally)". As the story goes, a letter requesting permission to use the composition was sent to O’Sullivan’s representative, but Warner Bros. released Biz’s album before receiving a response. The loss of the resulting lawsuit led to I Need A Haircut’s removal from store shelves, but more significantly, forever changed hip hop’s sonic landscape. From that point forward, all major-label artists had to clear every sample, or risk similar litigation. Although one could argue that hip hop was always headed towards a more sample-free existence, the aftershock of this decision certainly sped up the process.

Warner Bros. reissued I Need A Haircut years later, with “Alone Again” removed. These copies are easy to spot because of the large, circular black-and-white “Collector’s Edition - Special Edition” emblem added to the lower-left cover corner. This logo can be seen on many Cold Chillin’ re-releases.

I don’t know if “Alone Again” was single bound, but it certainly seems to be a spiritual successor to his signature “Just A Friend”. Biz couples O’Sullivan’s keys with the well-worn "Impeach The President" drum break, much as he did with Freddie Scott’s "(You) Got What I Need" and Lee Dorsey’s "Get Out Of My Life Woman". He also reprises his lyrical role as a man let down by social interactions. Instead of being strung along by a woman, he’s left lonely by friends (awwwww!). I often wonder if Bucwheed’s "On The DL" guest verse was inspired by “Alone Again’s” closing lines.

10 plays

Justin Warfield
“Season Of The Vic”
Soundlab
Justin Warfield — Season Of The Vic /

Produced by QDIII
(1991)

As I posted last week, producer QDIII (son of Quincy Jones) is best known for his work on the Beef series and scoring "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". In 1991, he released a little-known compilation through his dad’s Qwest label. The ultra-smooth “Season Of The Vic” was it’s lone single/video. Justin Warfield had two other songs on Soundlab, and released another hip-hop album before delving into rock. Thankfully, his overwhelming Q-Tip aspirations didn’t last beyond this song.

0 plays

Todd 1 feat. Doctor Dre & Ed Lover
“Down Wit' MTV”
Remixes
Todd 1 feat. Doctor Dre & Ed Lover — Down Wit’ MTV /

Produced by Kay Gee
(1991)

Naughty By Nature Week Bonus Track #2: Remember when MTV played videos? Remember when they played so many videos they made parody videos of popular videos? Remember when Todd 1 was best known for dating MC Lyte? Remember when it was important to distinguish between Doctor Dre and Dr. Dre? Remember when Tony Soprano said “remember when” is the lowest form of conversation?

0 plays

Naughty By Nature
“O.P.P. [Sunny Days Remix]”
O.P.P. [CD Single]
Naughty By Nature — O.P.P. [Sunny Days Remix] /

Produced by Kay Gee
(1991)

Kicking off Naughty By Nature Week (yes, week) with a smooth, Delegation - “Oh Honey” remix of their first and arguably biggest single.

0 plays

EPMD feat. LL Cool J

“Rampage [Hardcore To The Head Mix]”

A Tribe Called Quest feat. Leaders of the New School

“Scenario [Young Nation Mix]”

De La Soul feat. Dres, A Tribe Called Quest, Lovie Brown, Bestro & Vinia Mojica

“What Yo' Life Can Truly Be”

Big Daddy Kane

“It's Hard Being The Kane [Extended Remix]”

Public Enemy feat. Pete Rock

“Shut 'Em Down [Pete Rock Mixx]”

Biz Markie

“Alone Again”

Justin Warfield

“Season Of The Vic”

Todd 1 feat. Doctor Dre & Ed Lover

“Down Wit' MTV”

Naughty By Nature

“O.P.P. [Sunny Days Remix]”

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A safe place to go for hip-hop music goodies. Listen to bootlegs, b-sides, and slept-on cuts without fear of judgment or gorilla attacks.

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