For the past months Scion has been revisiting and remixing hip-hop songs, melding them with new sounds and strong results. This Scion A/V’s month’s feature comes from revivalist soul outfit Connie Price and The Keystones who join Big Daddy Kane for the remake of “Give a Demonstration” Part 2 and “International Hustler” with Percee P.
“International Hustler” has this throbbing bass and buzzing keys that allows Percee to just juggernaut and bobs and weave with his steady flow. It is a zen-like moment where P is able to submerge his rhyme-style. He has a reliance on assonance and internal rhyme schemes that makes the listener repeat. Its lacking moments here is that the song is too short and makes you wish that their was a third verse, also the hook becomes too banal upon a repeated listen. Kane fairs much better in terms of updating “Give A Demonstration.” He has added new verses along with keeping the older ones and given it a shorter hook to provide him more time to showcase his flow. I do not need to go in to terms about how nice it is or herald Kane’s or P’s surfacing commercially speaking. What is nice is that you can tell that both MC’s are doing what they enjoy doing without any winsome, crusty nostalgic-eyes casted towards, listeners or words given to the state of hip-hop, which many veteran rappers have been doing lately. There is a time and place for that, but it’s also nice to hear people getting down again to the business of rhyming over scaled-drums, bottomless basslines, 60’s styles organ riffs, and space-funked guitars.
Scion also offers the instrumentals for any rappers in need of a beat and acapellas for producers in need of flexing their muscles.
The real gem that Scion has produced from these singles is their union (several months ago) of Raekwon and El Michel’s Affair “The PJ’s. . . From Afar (Remix).” I still can not get over it and cannot explain fully its lasting quality. I think it is the perfect companion to “Shakey Dog” by Ghostface in terms of subdued sounds and emotional restraint and being an almost afterthought of being an after-crime narrative. It is epic in the scope of what Raekwon does and what El Michels Affair does for him. I think what has handicapped Raekwon for most of his career and cannot be looked past is his inability to choose well-crafted beats. I am not say he always falters and it is bias when somewhat as prolific as The RZA crafts your first album. That moment begs the question where can a MC go from there? It was certainly not the first version of this song which featured production from Pete Rock which had a stale mixture that fell apart from a boring hook and too many elements at work. For me, if the beat does not work, it is hard to pay attention or listen from the rapper and takes away from the service of the song. Here El Michels strip away what is unnecessary and lets things have this slow grinding buzz that undercuts the paranoia and Raekwon’s pointed rhymes. This song becomes subtle in the same way “The Wire” is subtle, in visually showing the stark realities of an American condition. Everything are small peripherals detailing the greyness in American life and standards. Their is this raw blending of substances that allows Raekwon a bump to bounce through his lines, offering a lush, detailed life of crimes and cops all in four minutes.
Listen to all the 12″ tracks of the new CD via this playlist at Imeem.
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