Spending the majority of my life in the Abercrombie-Meets-Roca Wear capital of South Central CT, Meriden, (or, as we call it, 'Da 'Den, WHAT? Yeeah!) has taught me many a thing over the past 22 years. There are invaluable lessons that one can learn, really. For example:
A. In seventh grade, it is not okay to chew gum in class. It is okay, however, to wear a shirt that reads "40 and a Blunt, That's All I Want".
But perhaps the most important lesson that one learns round these parts is that anything annoying in this world can be made a little more annoying.
Enter the Remix.
Now I love hip-hop, so please don't get me wrong. I have the requisite academics hip hop collection: wu-tang, tribe, de la, roots, black eyed peas, blackalicious, outkast, beasties, public enemy, busta, and yes I love Eminem and I don't give a crap what you think about that. Word.
And shit, I can sing all the words to California Love if I want to. No I can, really.
But lately, the hip hop world has been struck by overblown, irritating rappers who think only of their cars, their cash, and their cross marketing prospects. Jay-Z, Fabolous, etc. Perhaps the worst thing of all, however, is the lack of new music hitting the radio. Why? Because everyone is spending too much time doing remixes of their own hit songs.
Last year, P-Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combs/Poster Boy for the Monotone released a Bad Boy records compilation entitled, "We Invented the Remix". One would immediately put up a fight against said claim, citing the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique as a sort of lovely extended remix in itself, an intensive study of sampling and reworking, layering the new over the old in a way that respects both voices. Hip Hop, as a genre, is a giant remix in itself, is it not?
But then it becomes clear. P-Diddy's claim is in regard only to the new, horrifying version of a remix, the kind that he brought about as far back as 1994, with Biggie's breakthrough album, "Ready to Die". Over almost every track, there is Diddy, flatly exclaiming "Uh", "Yeah" , "Uh-Huh", and his most prized expression, "Let's go!"
Let's go? Go where? You're in a Jacuzzi surrounded by alcohol, good drugs, and lovely ladies. Where do you want to go, Diddy? To Blockbuster? To Record Town? To Vitamin Barn?
Who uses the term Let's go, anyway? Irritated mothers, mostly. "C'mon, let's go! Move it! Move it!" that sort of thing. Oh, and of course there's the show "Let's Go Bowling" that I used to watch with my father in the early 80's, which had an awesome theme song: "Let's go bowling, take it away!" Which also made, of course, no sense. Take what away? What's going on?
Moving back to the point of all of this, P-Diddy certainly did invent the remix. The BAD remix. The POINTLESS remix. The remix that is no better (and rarely different) from the original song. The only difference most of the time between the original and the remixed is that some irritating reggae singer shouts "REEEE-MIX" at the top of the song.
I think we all remember 1997, the year of Bad Boy records, where every song on the radio had a Puffy overlay, with a ton of "Let's go" and the new "I thought I told you that we don't stop" shout outs screaming over every beat. Puffy sang with Biggie. Biggie died. Puffy sang with dead Biggie. Puffy sang TO dead Biggie. Puffy sang with Ma$e, the only rapper with a flatter voice than his, who subsequently left the game to become a preacher and write a book that is always on the streets of New York City. Puffy shot someone, but not really, got dumped by J-Ho, was all about the Benjamins, baby, made some clothes, and now he has returned, with a new project:
B. 2. K.
Yes, B2K, the sassy underaged males best known for their song, "Bump Bump Bump", in which they tell us ladies that they "love it when your body go' bump bump bump". I assume this means we are bumping through dance moves, and that the song is not a testament to one singer's fetish of throwing his girlfriend down the stairs and giggling as her head goes bump bump bump right down to the marble floor. But what do I know, really? It's a damn catchy song, right up there with "Yvan eht Nioj".
Of course, Puffy arrives at the end of the song, and what does he have to say for himself? "Remix. Let's go. Uh. Uh huh, yeah. I see you Chris! Thought I told you that we don't stop, Bad Boy."
Brilliant, isn't he? The man who invented the remix. Not only does he steal other people's songs, he now steals his OWN songs and packages them as remixes. Fabulous! What if the world latched on and everything was done in such a manner. Can you imagine Diddy sitting next to Dan Rather as he read the Nightly News?