D.J. Red Alert - Hip Hop On Wax Volume 2
Red Alert cuttin' up M's 1979 hit Pop Muzik in amongst more obvious mainstays like Blow Your Head by Fred Wesley & The J.B's and Heaven And Hell Is On Earth by 20th Century Steel Band back in 1984.
Who'd have ever imagined that the Bad Boy version of Cluedo would end with G. Dep as the murderer when a self-confessed former stick-up kid/perennial jailbird like Black Rob was also present at Tudor Mansion, huh? Rappers might have difficulty in restraining themselves from shooting innocent people dead during bungled street robberies back in the 90s, but at least they've always had the most sublime taste in 80s pop music, which, in certain cases, may have taken us saltines a deacade or so to admit that we enjoy. In the unlikely occurance that the biblical concept of Heaven is 100% accurate then it seems probable that G. Dep would get shooed away at the pearly gates for callously taking another man's life 17 years ago, but one imagines that Saint Peter is far more sympathetic to the plights of alledgedly homicidal rappers who happen to enjoy the sounds of Phil Collins and Cameo, so Azie and C-Murder should be be able to waltz right in.
With that thought in mind, here's 5 of my favourite uses of 80s pop by rappers from the last 5 years. Please remember that I'm still waiting for someone - literally anyone other than La Coka Nostra, Joe Budden, Rick Ross, Termanology, Drake, The CunninLynguists, Freddie Gibbs, French Montana, Immortal Technique, or Sage Francis - to rap over Big Time by Peter Gabriel and You're The Best by Joe Esposito from the Karate Kid OST :
Z-Ro ft. Tanya Herron - Continue To Roll
(Uses True by Spandau Ballet)
How'd you make a sappy Spandau Ballet sample which had previously been used on travesties by P.M Dawn and Nelly sound as marvelous as 1:40 - 1:50 of So Ruff, So Tuff by Zapp & Roger? Why, you replace Tony Hadley's singing with some crooning by Mike Dean's wifey Tanya Herron, throw the Ashley's Roachclip drumbreak underneath it, and then have Z-Ro rap on top of it, of course! So, Z-Ro's I'm Still Livin' album was a mammoth disappointment after the triumvirate of The Life Of Joseph W. McVey, the Kings Of The South mixtape with Lil' Flip, and Let The Truth Be Told in 2004 and 2005, but this and his reboot of Scarface's Seen A Man Die were both wonderful.
Cam'Ron - Pass Tha Dutchie
(Uses Pass The Dutchie by Musical Youth)
Cam's rhymed over 80s pop staples by Sting, Cyndi Lauper, Starship, Bon Jovi, Winger, Salt-N-Pepa, Journey and the Magnum P.I theme in his time, so it didn't come as much suprise when he freaked Pass The Dutchie. What was suprising was that this 2008 mixtape throwaway which came at the lowest point of his career was a return of form and he really dropped the ball by not fashioning this into a legitimate single, if only because the members of Musical Youth could do with a few royalty cheques nowadays since that "how does it feel when you got no food?" refrain proved cruelly ironic. Cam uses that very same refrain to excellent effect here by chiding a fiscally challenged 'hoodrat as he's seducing her, and this, Glitter and Just Us just about saved an otherwise awful year for him. Uninteresting fact of the day : Musical Youth's LP was the 2nd LP I owned after the Muppet Show album which featured Robin The Frog's tour-de-force piano ballad rendition of A.A Milne's Halfway Down The Stairs.
AP.9 ft. The Jacka - Reflections
(Uses Hello by Lionel Richie)
Sad Mob Figaz songs examining their conflicting urges are usually when they're at their most potent for me because I'm a sensitive soul who used to burst into tears whenever my folks would play me the aforementioned Robin The Frog ballad as a kid (I was only about 4), so consequently this is my go-to jam on AP.9's I Am Legend album from last year since it finds AP and Jacka staring into the mirror and not recognising the men they've become. Chipmunking up a song as obviously mawkish as Hello really shouldn't work this well, but Reflections is the sort of ruminative Bay Area blues I can't get enough of nowadays. Still waiting for them to shoot a Hello parody video for this with Jack' shaping a clay head figure of Ice Cube circa the jheri-curl era, though.
Jim Jones ft. Max B - Beverly Hills Cop
(Uses Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer)
They say Jim is a buffoonish try-hard weedcarrier who stole Max B's whole delivery/persona and then had Max and Stack Bundles write all his songs for him. Ummmm, yeah, but he also salvaged Axel F after the Crazy Frog completely desecrated it so I'm forever in his gratitude since that was my shit when I was a youngster. 0.08 to 0.24 is pure comedic gold, and Max was the 1 man Lamont-Dozier-Holland of Byrd Gang.
Max B - Lonely
(Uses Licence To Kill by Gladys Knight)
This is a blog that's terribly fond of both Dipset and the 1989 James Bond movie Licence To Kill, so the true star of Byrd Gang over Gladys Knight's LTK theme song is a true best of both worlds situation, and the "rap Lou Rawls" Max B even reminds me of Licence To Kill's chief scoundrel Franz Sanchez in that he was just an old skool criminal who was genuinely hurt by the lack of loyalty in his organisation. It's only when we arrive at the 2 rapscallion's respective downfalls that their paths diverge : it took James Bond, a tanker full of gasoline, and a government spy's cigarette lighter to stop Sanchez; with Max it just took the sucker-move of hiring an idiot savant whigga-fan who wanted to be all up in them VladTV videos yappin' as his attorney. Ayo Max - you should've appointed the same lawyer Pretty Tone Capone used in the Case Dismissed video, or at least have procured the services of Tray if you were gonna insist on having a white Dipset aficionado attorney.
Gotta confess that I did originally intend to include the deliriously absurd, Owner Of A Lonely Heart by Yes-sampling I Like It by Lil' Wayne ft. Boo and Mack Maine (the 2nd of Wayne's 2 good Auto-Tune song after his tender ode to syrup Me And My Drank) in this post, but my mp3 has vanished and all the Da Drought Is Over 4 links Google throws up look like they might have the cooties.