We go into this month with the loss of a 90s icon, two different beefs come to a head, and Julia Michaels has some issues. The weather seems to be warmer but it seems to be wetter…lots of rain in May. Let’s hope we dry out as summer creeps into view. I personally can’t wait for Pride weekend… the parties, the crowds and the people. Let’s get started with this month’s mix and my selections.
I have to admit that other than “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden I really don’t know that much about the Seattle based Grunge band. But I did know that Chris Cornell was the haunting voice behind their biggest hit. It wasn’t until 2009 that I actually paid any attention to Chris when he teamed up with Timbaland for a track called “Part Of Me” as a solo act. I guess he thought that Tim’s success with Justin Timberlake would rub off on him if he switched genres. That wasn’t the case. So, out of respect for Mr. Cornell who committed suicide after a show in May I found the Landjeen remix to start my mix.
I often stay up all night and don’t go to bed until 6 or 7 AM some mornings. There’s nothing really on TV around that time except morning news. So, I usually turn on MUCH Music. For the past few weeks there was this really annoying video by this whining blonde girl crying about having some issues. I would just tune it out as I would start preparing for bed. But after watching Julia Michaels sing it live on the Billboard Awards I actually had a new appreciation for the song. Then I realized that I had the Riddler remix in my digital record pool. It’s not as moving as her live performance but I’m sure it will inspire a few to cut a rug on the floor.
Back in March, Nicki Minaj beat Aretha Franklin’s Billboard 100 record of 73 songs on the charts with her release of “No Frauds” (which was a clap back to Remy Ma’s “Sheether”). I wrote an editorial about real Hip Hop artists like Remy Ma who have lived the life of what she is rapping about and the reality of being a commercial Pop Hip Hop artists like Minaj. Remy may have won the battle with her scathing 7 minute attack on Minaj’s character and career, but Nicki definitely has won the war with all of her success. Proving that my editorial was correct that the marketing of a fair skinned black female artist will carry you a lot further than a darker skinned black female artist who keeps it real. Nicki broke that record with all of the guest appearances on other people’s recordings.
Up next we have the latest release by DNCE (fronted by the hella-sexy Joe Jonas) called “Kissing Strangers” where Nicki does what she does best…spittin’ a 64 bar rap to Pop music. And as usual, she kills it in the video. The OWNS remix turns up the heat for the dance floor.
The production on the OWNS remix of “Kissing Strangers” gave me an idea of pulling out the Troy Dark remix of the Fatboy Slim classic “Star 69” which contains a sample of Roland Clark’s vocal from the House anthem “I Get Deep”. That famous hook drives the track…”They know what is what – what the f#%k?”
And that sample starts Katy Perry’s latest diss to her arch-enemy, Taylor Swift. Miss Perry’s live performance of “Swish Swish” on SNL didn’t have a guest appearance by Nicki Minaj as on the studio version, but it did feature dancing by legendary voguer Jose Xtravaganza, drag legend Harmonica Sunbeam, and Drag Race contestant Vivacious. Weirdly enough, the buzz surrounding that performance wasn’t the clap back to Swift but more like who was the kid with the backpack. Turns out the kid is an Instagram star known as Russell Got Barz. I thought he was interesting but not as interesting as the lyrics that sorta gives Taylor the backhand she deserves for being a “mean girl” with money. I don’t know ’bout you, but the Swift Victim Act has gotten old. She lost all credibility when Kim and Kanye released the audio tapes of her lies about the “Famous” music video.
Up next is the demo 2017 mix of the Jade Elektra classic “Bitch You Look Fierce”. Complete with new vocals and a new attitude, Miss Elektra reminds you of her place as one of the pioneers in the Bitch Track genre. Reminding you this is just a demo but the completed remix is due out later this year as her first Japanese release. Pssst…don’t tell anyone but I’m actually Jade Elektra. Wasn’t gonna tell ya but I think the production is hot and I will be playing it in my sets for Pride bookings this year. Besides, if we don’t toot our own horns, who will?
“The Cure” by Lady GaGa was not one of the tracks that I felt should have been a single from her latest album. In fact I found it kinda boring. And honestly, most of the remixes I received were generic. Only the Aximize remix caught my attention. It has the energy and production to get a floor going.
If you missed Cher on the Billboard Awards you missed a treat. Borrowing a page from the Marlene Deitrich collection, Cher and Bob Macky displayed some fabulous costuming that gave the appearance of nudity. She looked amazing. So, I had to include a remixed classic like the YASTREB remix of “Believe”.
One of my favorite female vocalists today is Jennifer Hudson. That gal can sing! It’s just a shame that she hasn’t hooked up with the right producer(s) yet. Her sound is pure, but never seems to be as commercial enough to fully crossover. Her latest single, “Remember Me” is definitely a “JH” song. The lyrics sound like something she would sing. The sentiment behind the lyrics sound like something she would sing, but I don’t think that even the BAUT remix is going to make this a hit. I mean…I love it! I’m gonna play! But Jen, we gotta find you the right vehicle to get you back where “Spotlight” left off.
Now, shortly after Katy Perry’s SNL appearance suddenly there were articles about her being the next in a long line of cultural appropriating a#$holes like Miley Cyrus and Pat Boone. I take aim at these two because their music was either a white-wash of Black Music or convenient for record sales. I have no respect left for Miss Cyrus. When she twerked on Robin Thicke’s crotch on the MTV Awards back in 2013 she had become the wild child with her tongue hanging out. Her engagement to Liam Hemsworth was suddenly called off. Record sales continued to climb when she released “Wrecking Ball,” crying while singing it in concert. Then in 2015 she starts a lesbian relationship with model Stella Maxwell and is photographed making out on the set of one of her music video. The further she spun out of the normality the more of a hero she became. And that same year her outlandish closing production of the MTV Awards featuring 30 drag queens cemented her following in the LGBT Community.
Well, fast forward to 2017. She is now denouncing Hip Hop and is an upstanding young lady who is back with Hemsworth, rumored to have had a secret wedding on New Year’s Eve. I guess she forgot about her tracks like “23” with Mike WiLL Made-It, Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J. I bring this all up to say that Katy Perry is not appropriating anyone’s culture. She’s a brilliant Pop songwriter and her performance on SNL seemed to me to pay homage to Pop Culture today like Madonna did with “Vogue”. I don’t think she is going to be doing a full album of House based tracks. She was making a statement.
And I said all of that to introduce someone who could never be accused of cultural appropriation, Miss Teena Marie. Anyway you slice it, she may have been white but her music was Black! And just like I believe history will judge Bruno Mars in the same light, their music was part of Black Culture (especially the African-American experience). The Full Intention Club Mix of Teena’s classic “I Need Your Lovin” remains one of my favorites.
So, Katy, don’t let the haterz get you down. I don’t believe Taylor Swift can retaliate. She may have the money to do tracks with as many Hip Hop artists as she can find but her lies and political leanings speak a truth about her. So, my next selection’s title says it all, “We Just Don’t Care” about what they say about “Swish Swish”! This track by Shy FX featuring Shingai Shoniwa has been in heavy rotation in my mixed sets lately.
I’m sure the original version of this next track contains more vocals of the featured artists than the Danny Howard Remix does, but “Do It Like Me (Icy Feet)” by TCTS featuring Sage The Gemini & Kelis is kinda hot! I can’t seem to get the hook out of my head, and that’s a good thing.
I really feel bad for Rihanna. “Anti” has been her most critically acclaimed album to date, but has not produced a major hit for on the charts. And although the roughness of “Bitch Better Have My Money” seemed promising, none of the singles afterwards did anything. Her latest single is “Pose” and I guess the awkward Trap Hop trend didn’t rub off on this one. The only redeeming remix was by the Perry Twins. This mix has the energy that the others lacked.
And to prepare for the summer months I had to serve up another remixed Pop classic…the “Thong Song” by Sisqo. I have heard a lot of remixes of this track, but I think Nathan Jain did a great job of revamping this one for a 2017 audience. Enjoy!