VH1 prides itself on being a mashup of pop culture, so it seems only fair that we turn our attention to mashups of the musical variety! Although sometimes frowned upon for teetering towards copyright infringement, blends done with exquisite skill create a track that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Done right, a mashup enhances both songs, allowing us to discover new sonic possibilities contained within sounds that had become stale and boring. If that ain’t art, we don’t know what is.
Since the advent of cheap audio editing software and websites like YouTube, it’s become much easier to create and share “revisions” of well-loved tunes. These DJs work hard on their tributes, and so we’d humbly like to offer a showcase for some of our favorites. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Remix Rewind!
To get us started, we tapped Jay-Z to head-up our inaugural post. Mr. Shawn Carter helped spark our love of mashups back in 2004, when his Black Album was expertly mixed with the Beatles‘ White Album by DJ extraordinaire Danger Mouse, creating (what else?) The Grey Album. The best of two (very different) worlds blew our 16-year-old mind at the time. So now we’d like to check out 10 other awesome uses of Hova’s verses and beats. Enjoy!
Get rich or die trying is a motto that no longer suits 50 Cent. He’s filthy rich and didn’t have to die trying. Best believe 50′s still chasing the mula, but he’s starting to think about what he wants his legacy to be after he’s gone. It’s a bit morbid to think of how you want the world to remember you. But 50 Cent is clear he wants to be named among the greats. Read more…
The B.I.G. autopsy report TMZ released today–15 years after Biggie was murdered–leaves us scratching our heads. Why rehash news from 15 years ago without any new information outside of the fact that only one of the four shots being fatal?
TMZ got its hands on the never seen before document which details exactly where the bullets entered the Brooklyn MC, and which vital organs were hit. Sidebar: How does TMZ always end up with unreleased docs? That darn Harvey Levin. According to the autopsy, Big was hit in his left forearm, his back and the bullet exited through his left shoulder, his outer left thigh and the fatal bullet entered his right hip hitting his colon, liver, heart and upper lobe of his left lung. He was only 24. Read more…
Go shorty, it’s your birthday, we gon’ party like it’s your birthday. Not only did 50 Cent drop 5 (Murder By Numbers) for free today, it’s the Queens rapper’s 36th birthday. Nine years ago he rose to massive fame with his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ at the age of 27. Along with his crazy story of being shot nine times and his distinctive flow from having his jaw wired shut, 50′s success was also partly due to his ongoing beef with Ja Rule that ultimately ended Ja’s very popular career. Fifty’s war with the Murder Inc. rapper eventually simmered out, but 50 saw an opportunity in beef with his peers–if he was constantly dissing others on wax then he’d remain relevant because people would be listening. Thus began 50′s countless diss records and feuds. It’s only right that we celebrate his birthday by highlighting the top 10 beefs of his career. Happy Beef-day, Fiddy! Read more…
If we were to put together a complete list of songs that sampled the work of James Brown, it would easily run over a thousand songs. Of course, the magic that he made on wax is why RollingStone.com labeled him “the most sampled man in the biz.” No one executed funk and soul the way James Brown and his band did.
The man, perhaps best known for classic hits like “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Say It Loud,” would have turned 79 years-old today. With that in mind, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to the Godfather of Soul! In honor of this special day, we’re giving you this list of 10 incredible songs that never would have been if it wasn’t for the work of JB.
1.”Otis”- Jay-Z and Kanye West
Ye and Jigga were watching the throne alright. James Brown’s musical throne, that is. Along with the Otis Redding (how noble of them to name the song after him) sample of “Try a Little Tenderness,” Brown’s “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth on You” can be heard right when Kanye appears to be beautifully screaming. Yep, that’s James Brown screaming all over a smash record by two of hip-hop’s biggest stars.
One of the most tragic moments in hip-hop history was the 1997 murder of Notorious B.I.G., whose young life and promising career was ended at the tender age of 24 in a hail of gunfire. VH1′s Behind The Music: Notorious B.I.G. looks back at the humble beginnings of Brooklyn bred rapper whose two album catalog— Ready to Die and Life After Death— led to his worldwide acclaim. Due to the lyricism present on these LPs, he has earned a place among the greatest rappers of all time.
In this special sneak peek at the latest episode of Behind The Music, which airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the Notorious B.I.G.’s mother, Voletta Wallace, is shown holding on to the fond memories of her only child. In rare footage, a young Biggie raps on his block to a swelling crowd of admirers. Big may have found his gift in rhyming, but it wasn’t enough to keep him away from toting guns and selling cocaine in his poverty stricken Bed-Stuy neighborhood. Fortunately, the streets never deterred him from making music.
Even with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan in attendance at this year’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner, it was Young Jeezy, aka the Snowman, that President Obama shouted out during his pre-written comedic speech. Videos of President Obama’s smooth voice carrying the tune of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” spread like wildfire on the Internet back in January, but over the weekend, the President proved again that he is in touch with today’s hip-hop community. “In my first term I sang Al Green,” the president said in the below clip from CBS News. “In my second term, I’m going with Young Jeezy.”
We’re not sure everyone in the audience caught the reference. But of course, in the ultimate cool moment of all time, Mr. President’s wife knew exactly what her husband meant. President Obama mentioned that “Michelle said, ‘Yeah’ when he joked about singing Jeezy in his second term. “I sing that to her sometimes,” he added. Are they not the cutest couple ever?
Jeezy responded on Twitter after getting word of the President’s nod:
From eight MCs to one. By popular vote, KRS-One is the greatest emcee of the Yo! MTV Raps era. Of the eight lyricists selected for Bracket Madness, it all boiled down to two greats in the end: KRS-One vs. Rakim. Both legends in their own right, KRS-One takes the crown as being the No. 1 dude from the golden era of hip-hop. In a close call, KRS-One was victorious over his opponent by 20%. Here’s our theory as to why KRS-One won.
Rakim’s influence on cats like Biggie, Nas and Jay-Z is undeniable. And while Rakim mastered the art form of rap, popularizing the hustle element of East Coast rap, Rakim never blew up on a mainstream scale. He remained fairly under the radar, which affects ones popularity. KRS-One, bred of the same time period as Rakim, with just as much influence, had more of a presence. He reached a larger audience with his group Boogie Down Productions and battle raps with rappers like MC Shan and Roxanne Shante. His rhymes were also more controversial. Any song like “Sound of Da Police” in which a rapper takes shots at the 5-o is guaranteed to bring attention your way (and a group of admirers). KRS-One introduced reggae, bridging rap, battle and boasting into the genre. There’s no denying the ways in which he rapped ended up helping to shape what hip-hop is today. When two dope MCs with the stature of KRS-One and Rakim go toe-to-toe for a title, there is no real loser because this is hip-hop at its finest. But only one can wear the crown. Well deserved, KRS-One!
[Photo: Getty Images]
Are you excited yet about Round One of Bracket Madness featuring your favorite emcees of the Yo! MTV Raps era? In this corner, we have the pioneers of this rap thing: Chuck D vs. KRS-One. With their well respected contributions to hip-hop its kind of hard to choose between the two. Both bred in the ghettos of New York in the 60s and 70s, their lyrics reflected the awareness of the world they saw around them. But one would be highly mistaken if they attributed the consciousness in their rhymes for weakness. Each one of their flows are undeniably raw. So who do you vote for? Here’s three reasons to vote for either one.
1. Two words: Public Enemy.
Dude was a member of Public Enemy. Need we say more? A rap group like that doesn’t come around twice in a lifetime. “Public Enemy #1″ was a classic track from their debut album Yo! Bum Rush the Show in 1987. From 1988-1991, the dynamic group released three platinum albums. The same group gifted the world with “Fight the Power.” This song is better than some cats’ entire catalog. I’m just sayin’. Public Enemy went on to sell four million albums throughout their career. Plus, anyone that could put up with the clock rocking Flavor Flav, has to be one hell of a guy.
2. Distinctive sound.
No one in hip-hop has a voice like Chuck. It’s so distinctive it couldn’t even be duplicated. He raps, you listen. From the flow to the tone to the speed, Chuck D has a full command of his sound.
As you may or may not have already heard, Fox Searchlight is producing a film entitled Notorious. The film, slated to come out next year, is about the life and times of Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, the ’90s legend whose influence over hip-hop was so pervasive it’s still felt today. Rumored to be characters in the movie? Diddy and this year’s Hip-Hop Honors recipient, Snoop. (That’s going to be one harried casting director!) Biggie was a giant — not just in terms of his music — and whoever fills the man’s shoes is going to have to be pretty damn convincing. So Fox Searchlight has put out the word: They’re holding an open casting call this Saturday, October 6, in New York City. If you think you have what it takes, and you’re in the area, head to City Stages, 435 W. 19th St. Auditions start at 10 a.m. You’re going to want to get there early. If you don’t live in the area, you can always hit the producers up on their casting-call Web site, too. See the full ad after the jump. Read more…