Okay, I’ll grant this falls outside of the usual scope of what this forum should be about, but it’s been in my brain all day.
So the talk of the week has been the official leak of Jay-Z’s ‘DoA [Death of Autotune]’ record. Even though I have some problems with the beat, it’s a pretty hot record, but it’s not the hottest Jay-Z record I heard this weekend.
The hottest Jay-Z record I heard this weekend was a remix of ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulders’ by DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Yeah, that Jazzy Jeff.
Flashback: When I was eleven years old, I had a copy of a record Jazzy made with some guy called Will Smith called ‘He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper’ on cassette. And I stretched that sucker out from repeat listens. While the singles are still known to this day [Brand New Funk, anyone?] the cuts I remember were buried on the b-side. See, that album was the first time I ever heard completely sampled instrumental music, where the cuts and the mixes were the selling point. Some kids sat in their basements trying to figure out how Hendrix got those tones, I was in the basement listening to ‘Jazzy’s In the House’ trying to figure out if the dude had seven hands. I even air scratched.
Yes, air scratched. It’s when you just slide your fingers on a flat surface in time to the cuts on the record. You might still catch me doing it sometimes. Shut up.
I don’t know how I ended up on the man’s website this weekend, but I saw an album called ‘My Favs’ was available for download. I forgot about it for a couple days but went back today, curious about what he would consider his favourite tracks. Imagine my delight to discover it’s not just some mixtape of his favourite jams, but remixes he’s made to honour them. If you’ve been into hip-hop for awhile, you’ll recognize most of the samples, and you know the songs he’s remixing, but when crafted by a legend like Mr. Townes, they become entirely new, which is what the best remixes should do.
I mean for God’s sake, he makes the Pharcyde’s ‘Passin Me By’ harmonize with Patrice Rushen’s ‘Remind Me.’
Again: he makes them, harmonize!
Lately I get bummed out by music lately, and I wonder if something that’s been such a huge part of my life has faded in its importance. And then that Jigga remix comes along and I’m blasting it in my Skullcandy’s on repeat and all I want to do is stand on the corner of Queen and Spadina watching the people go by as I wait for the light to change so I can go buy some sneakers.
I write because I can’t play music, and I want to make people feel the emotions songs like this provide me. So all respect to The Magnificent.