What’s in a name?
OJ Da Juiceman’s “Make the Trap Say AYE” and Oran “Juice” Jones’ “The Rain” don’t have much in common musically. Juiceman’s song is pretty slow, Juice’s is pretty fast. Where they’re linked is in their names. So I put the two together, and now they are the new Juice Crew.
I sped up Juiceman’s song quite a bit, so it’s now an up-tempo joint, with an 80s twist, that’ll fit into either a DJ’s mashup or throwback set.
After the Drake/Karate Kid mashup “Best I Ever Had Around” hit the net last week, an old friend of mine, Ev Boogie (who, on the low, is one of the originators of the Evil Empire mixtape series, and has a pretty deep resume himself) sent me a youtube link for this song, “New York Groove,” from Ace Frehley‘s (KISS’s lead guitarist) 1978 self-titled solo LP. The song it just hit me a certain kinda way. I put it on repeat and played it non-stop for three days straight. It was that infectious.
Being the music nerd that I am, I consulted the official paper of record, Google, for some history on the tune. That lead me to the greatest web site ever created, wikipedia, which told me that the song was originally recorded by the glam rock band Hello, in 1975 (listen to Hello’s “New York Groove” here). Ace Frehley’s version, although similar, has a different swing to it. When those power chords drop on the hook, that’s the “hit” right there. The hit record is literally bottled up in those 8 bars.
There are a ton of rap songs about New York. In my opinion, a lot of them are pretty depressing. And that’s ok, New York is pretty depressing, especially for a rapper. I thought the only recent hip-hop track that jibed with the KISS tune was Busta Rhymes “New York Sh*t” ft. Swizz Beatz. Both songs are chest-beating odes to the big apple, so why not combine the two? I dare you to find a more high-energy pairing than KISS with Busta and Swizzy. Busta’s also been known to rock some… ahem… questionable fashion during his career, like KISS. And he’s definitely donned the face paint as well.
Download it, post it, play it, share it, love it, hate it, dis it… it’s all good.
I knew someone was gonna do it, just didn’t know it’d be me. The theme song of The Karate Kid‘s been begging for a mash-up for god knows how long. And the other night, it just hit me, Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” seemed like the most logical and most relevant fit.
Joe Esposito’s “You’re The Best Around” is kind of a wierd tune. In the context of the movie, the song works almost perfectly. You hear it in the film, and you think man this song is incredible. You get so pumped. I’m the best… around! You’re all ready to crane kick your neighbor.
Then you hear it by itself, and like a lot of cheesy 80s pop rock, it’s not very good. This is the problem I faced when I started working on mashing Drake’s vocals with the track. It’s like, how can I make an artist who sounds so good on his original track sound right on this completely different style of music?
There’s also a big tempo difference between the two songs, as Drake’s track is somewhere around 81bpm, while Esposito’s is roughly 94. So stylically and groove-wise, it’s a big change. To be perfectly honest, I chopped almost every other bar of the Drake acapella just to get him in the pocket. He also rhymes in a sing-songy style that melodically jibes with the original song’s melody. Rather than autotuning the autotune, which just felt almost a little too techno robotic, I opted to make my own little edits on those parts.
And finally, there really is no acapella for the Drake song. I grabbed a DIY acapella that someone with a clever ear for EQ (or a Waves plug-in) uploaded online, but if you listen real closely you can still hear the kicks and snares from the original Drake song. But hey, we work with what we have.
Due to the positive response to Wu-Tang and Def Leppard= “Cream and Sugar,” I was inspired to spend my Saturday working on another mash-up track.
A little backstory on its creation. I was actually reworking G Rap’s vocals over another rock track, something from a totally different era, different vibe, different sound altogether, and I got to thinking, even though this sounds good, what kind of synergy do these artists have with one another. I spent a good 15 minutes trying to rationalize it and couldn’t come up with anything substantial.
I kept coming to this part of “Fast Life” where the hook says, “Livin the fast life with fast cars, everywhere we go people know who we are/ a team from out of Queens with the American Dream…. ” And then I thought, what’s another team from out Queens with the American Dream? The Ramones!
I imported the audio for “I Wanna Be Sedated,” and I instantly felt that the double time signature worked great with the “Fast Life” vocals. The song went from a slow, prodding rap song (albeit a great one), to a driving rock tune.
I chopped out a few pieces of Joey Ramone’s “oh oh oh oh oh” parts to give it some variation, then dropped the first instance of the “I Wanna Be Sedated” hook after G Rap’s verse, and another instance of it from later in the Ramones song after Nas’s verse. There’s actually a chord change in this 2nd instance of the Ramones’ hook that I really wanted to expound upon for the G Rap/Nas back and forth on the last verse, but there really wasn’t enough clean source material (without Joey’s vocals) to rework it into something usable. So I just went back to the main chord that is used for the bulk of the song.
From a conceptual standpoint, I also dig the fact that these songs are like polar opposites. Here’s G Rap and Nas rhyming about the fast life, attaining these great things, high finance and luxury goods. Basically, being a success. The American Dream realized. And the Ramones are just like, “hey, that’s great, but get me out of here.” Like screw the American Dream, life couldn’t be any less interesting than it is with all that crap. I thought that was kinda cool.
Feel free to download, play it, pass it around, whatever….
Kool G Rap and Nas + The Ramones= “The Sedated Fast Life” (prod by DJ Bailey and Gooch