This post springs from a recent conversation which required me to really take a few days to think about the elements of the remix, and what I wanted to discuss/share today. I have so many favorites, and a 70 plus track long remix playlist, with various artists over there years. Because this is such an in-depth conversation, I plan to write more remix posts, so stay tuned for those–but today I wanted to go in a different direction. Warning: this post is long, but worth the read.
When it comes to a remix, there are several elements that matter to me: does the melody change? does it have features? new verses? Is it really re-mixed, or did they just throw a rapper on the track? The man that really perfected the merging of hip hop and r&b; to inclde sampling within remixing songs has to be Mr. Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. He took the the early 90s by storm with two particular Uptown/MCA entities in particular: Mary J. Blige and Jodeci. Then there was the “Dolly My Baby remix”, that had MJB on the hook and introduced us to The Notorious BIG.
So while its pretty much understood his influence and place in this here post, I’d like to do a comparison of sorts with another pretty popular producer of the 90s as well: Mr. Jermaine Dupri. Both Mr. Combs and Mr. Dupri were responsible for remixing songs by r&b singers male and female, individuals or groups, and rappers; all across the board. Both men were the coveted producers of the decade, and often featured on the same artist’s albums at a time, to include acts like Usher, TLC, New Edition, Mariah Carey, etc. And with huge production credits each, I think we could be here all week discussing their contributions to black music. Another thing I noticed is that both men have also been known to remix songs that were originally done by the other–I will be covering a few of those. Lets take a stroll through the years. The last 20 years even–whoa! has it been that long?!? I’m only going to feature some of my favorites. To hear the songs mentioned, click on the title links.
Come and Talk to me remix ~ Jodeci. The only main difference between this song and the original is the beat flip, and its longer. I had to link this video in because this song is kinda the quintessential 90s R&B track. Plus I am an admitted Jodeci stan.
Baby, Baby, Baby remix ~ TLC This is one of the earlier JD remixes I could find online, that I actually remember.
Just Kickin It remix~ Xscape. This was a more mellow chill version of the original song. I think I dig it just a smidge more than the original. Xscape was discovered by JD and were one of my favorite girl groups in the 90s, that I featured in a post before. They had a good run with 3 studio albums; all of them went Platinum.
What’s the 411? remix album ~ Mary J. Blige, to feature the club banger “Real Love”, “You Remind Me”, and my personal favorite remix from the album: “Love No Limit” ft. Kid Capri, which totally revamped the entire song. I def love this version more than the slow original song. The chorus? The bridge? Man, listen. I have to sing this song at the top of my lungs. “loooooving you is all I wanna do!”
Big Poppa so so def remix ~ The Notorious BIG. This remix was pretty hot! With the exact same verses the only difference is the beat, but I think I prefer this one.
Flava in ya ear remix ~ Craig Mack ft. everybody. This is one remix that definitely gave new life to the original. its feature heavy, probably one of the first feature heavy remixes I can recall outside of the old ATCQ/De La Soul/LONS collabos. And it features one of Big’s most memorable verses. Way to get outshined on your own song.
Can’t You See (so so def remix) ~ Total ft. Keith Murray. This one was pretty smooth too, but I gotta admit I prefer the Bad Boy original with Biggie.
I found it interesting that the so so def remix samples Bad Boy artist Craig Mack. With no verse changes in either version, I actually prefer the original music, which was produced by Puffy and Chucky Thompson.
Fantasy remix ~Mariah Carey ft. ODB. This pairing here?! Definitely was the beginning of Mariah’s evolving sound; moving from a pop direction to more hip hop infused R&B. This Puff Daddy remix that samples Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” was perfection. I consider this a classic remix. “me and Mariah, go back like babies and pacifiers…”
I’ll be There For You/All I Need remix ~ Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige. Another Wu-Tang representer, this remix version is my favorite not just because it features MJB but because it also samples one of my favorite BIG songs. I appreciate that it took elements of one hood love song for another hood love song.
1996–this was probably one of my favorite years for remixes:
Kissing You remix ~ Total. Puff put a whole new spin on this song, and gave it a chill vibe. Its a classic song either way, both versions bring something different to the table, and I love the remix as if its a whole new song–which is what I enjoy most about a GOOD remix. its not just the same song with a rap feature.
The Things You Do bad boy remix ~ Gina Thompson. Does anyone even remember the original? I do since I actually bought the maxi single of this song. The one hit wonder and this track introduced the world to Missy “Misdameanor” Elliot. “he he he he how! he he he he he he how!”
I Will Survive bad boy remix ~ Chantay Savage. Another artist that came and went. I personally LOVED her cover of this Gloria Gaynor classic, and while the remix does add the hip hop element, I must say the original cover is a better look for the song. This is an example of a song that doesn’t need to be remixed.
You Don’t Have to Worry remix ~ New Edition ft. Missy. I don’t even listen to the orignal version of this song anymore. its the remix or nothing. same verses, but this beat switch plus the rap feature make for a much better song, IMO. My boo Bobby Brown sang this damn song… and looked damn good while doing so in the video. just saying…
Tonight’s The Night remix ~ Kriss Kross ft. Redman. I think this was a slept on song. From their last CD Young, Rich and Dangerous, this was the standout track. And the Shalamar sample is very well placed, IMO.
Float On remix ~ The Isley Brothers ft. Angela Winbush, 112 and Lil Kim. I think this song had about 3 different versions. This one happens to be my favorite. Peep the JD feature in the video too. When Lil Kim busts out of that cake! lol. I swear she is an expert on side piece-ology. I loved her verse.
Honey remix ~ Mariah Carey ft. LOX & Ma$e. Butterfly is not my favorite Mariah album by any means, but I DO understand why it is for many. This was her first R&B heavy album and in’97 Bad Boy artists were at their height of popularity, to which Mariah definitely benefitted from career wise. My MC favorites are actually Music Box, Daydream (the CD where she first collaborated with JD), and The Emancipation of Mimi.
Honey so so def remix ~ Mariah Carey ft. Da Brat & JD. This version samples the Jackson 5’s “It’s Great to Be Here” which Puff also sampled in “All About the Benjamins (remix).” It however doesn’t hold a candle to the bad boy remix.
Been Around the World remix ~ Puff Daddy ft. Ma$e and Carl Thomas. Same verses + add a r&b cat = a better song. I mean you really couldn’t go wrong with Carl Thomas feature back in these days.
“In My Bed so so def remix” ~ Dru Hill ft. JD & Da Brat. !!!!!!!!! One of the best songs JD has ever done. The original “In My Bed” track was slow and serious, it was definitely a ballad. JD took this song to another level and made it a dance track. “if you wanna dance, I’ma make you dance…” well done. And can I just mention that Sisqo was a SANGIN’ mofo on this song?! Lawd. You can’t listen to this song and not sing along–he MEANT that! JD and Brat going back and forth on the verses was super dope too. One of my favorite remixes of all time, definitely. This one makes you forget the original song exists…
1997 is the year that changed things to me. Up until this year there was a bigger Bad Boy presence as far as favorites but in ’97 JD did his thing, not just on the remixes but with the overall production of my favorite Usher album My Way and Jagged Edge’s debut album A Jagged Era. I think this is around the time where he came into his own and had a known presence in popular music.
“All About the Benjamins rock remix” ~ Puff Daddy & The Family I mean… as if the first remix wasn’t dope enough. I totally dig this one as well.
“With Me pt. 1″ ~ Destiny’s Child ft. JD. since its pt. 1 I guess its not really a remix, but since both versions (pt. 2 with Master P) were on the same album, I’m using it anyway. Its the better version.
there were no noteworthy remixes by either producer in 1999. hmm.
Let’s Get Married ~ Jagged Edge ft. Rev Run. another classic remix. totally transformed the song and made it a dance track, something that JD is definitely skilled at. This was before we fell in love with the tv show Run’s House so it was an odd feature to see Rev Run back on the scene in this song, albeit with the well used Run-DMC sample. Now its been heard at wedding receptions all over the country ever since.
There have been way more remixes and this post is long enough so I’ll just end it here. with this image:
JD had a good run, and managing Bow Wow’s career was a good look for him. Usher’s best and most selling album to date (diamond status) was Confessions in 2004–which also is the 2nd best selling album of the decade, had heavy JD production. He also had a pivotal role in reviving Mariah Carey’s career with the The Emancipation of Mimi , the top selling album of 2005. He tried to do the same with Janet’s 20 Y.O., but just wasn’t as successful/groundbreaking on that front.
Even though I pretty much am indifferent to Diddy Dirty Money, and often question Puff’s relevance today as an artist or producer–I gotta give the man his props. The tv shows, the CDs of his various one album wonder groups; the assortment of other artists he has hiding in the basement aside–he’s produced some classic material in this millenium, with remixes to boot. I want to say in terms of remixes he also is the clear winner, but since its been good music all around, from both men I say they both win.
The last remixes I truly loved by Diddy were probably the “I need a girl” pts 1-26. lol. Seriously I can’t choose between the one with Usher and Loon and the one with Ginuwine, Mario Winans and Loon. I feel like all of these songs were pleas to J. Lo either way…
The We Invented the Remix album included other faves such as So Complete, Special Delivery, and Unfoolish. ok so where are Cheri Dennis, G-Dep (well we know where he is) or Ashanti right now? who cares, these songs still bump.
I’ll end this post with a favorite remix that features them both.
what do you think? PD or JD? remixes or otherwise do you have a favorite producer among the two?