With hopes of spring blossoming soon I am excited about the new tracks coming down the pike. This month I have some indicators of what might be the soundtrack of the months ahead.
I still haven’t really gotten over the death of George Michael. I mean, after all the disappointments of last year finding out that one of my teen idols was found dead on Christmas day was the cherry on top of a shitty sundae. The only good thing that came out of his death was the renewed interest in his music and a lot of good remixes of his hits. One of my favorites is “Father Figure” and the Division 4 Remix is a revelation!
You know, in this youth obsessed culture that we as gay men live with day in and day out it is so good to see one of the pioneers of dance music still doin’ his thang at the age of 76. Giorgio Moroder who produced most of Donna Summer’s early catalogue has a really hot song out featuring vocals by Karen Harding. “Good For Me” is one hot track! And like McDonald’s new larger Big Mac….I’m loving’ it!
Every now and then I will hear a song and think…”Why haven’t they remixed this into a nice House track?” Well, this was the case with Mary J. Blige’s R&B hit “Be Happy”. I always thought that it would have made a great Soulful House track. Well, my wish has finally come true….only Mary ain’t the vocalist. Legendary remixers and producers, David Anthony and DJ Spen have blessed us with a gorgeous version sung by Typhen. If you don’t know her now, you will. Trust me.
So, I’m probably gonna be criticized for this comment but it’s how I feel about this artist. Pitbull is an industry whore! There are quite a few actually. He is in the company of the likes of Nicki Minaj, Ty Dolla $ign and Fatman Scoop. These folks will do a guest rap or hook on anybody’s record. But the one thing I can say good about being an industry whore is that your name is definitely out there and in the charts. Pitbull has made such a name for himself that now he can have all kinds of features on his records. I normally kinda dismiss his tracks as filler since they come in and go out so quickly these days. But the James Hype remix of “Options” featuring Stephen Marley (son of Reggae legend, Bob Marley) is so good that I even added it to my playlist on my iPod.
For a while there, Sean Paul was falling into that category as well. His new track “No Lie” with Dua Lipa has not grown on me. Perhaps I just haven’t come across the right remix yet. But the new Lewis Roper & Joshua Brooks Remix of his now classic “Get Busy” has got the chops to make me start playing this song again.
And in celebration of the Queen of Soul’s 75th birthday on March 25th, I dug up my remix of her 80s hit “Who’s Zooming Who”. Aretha Franklin is and will always be one of those voices that will remain iconic. From her early recordings of standards on Columbia Records to her more soulful sound at Atlantic, her career shows how artists used to be. Longevity in the music business, I feel, is a thing of the past. Happy Belated Birthday, Ree-Ree!
I chose my next selection in the vain of girl empowerment like Aretha’s “Respect”. “That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony is one of those songs. Too bad there has been a break up of sorts that I guessed happened back in December. Honestly, I had no idea until some twink started rattling off about it to me last night in the DJ booth when he came up to request one of their songs. And as I told him…”I just play ’em, I don’t live ’em.” But apparently there’s only four members left after Camila Cabello left because she felt sexualized being a part of the group. Uh…duh! That’s what sells records these days. I guess she is gonna go put on some clothes and sing folk songs now. Let’s see what happens with her career after this decision. Cuz’ honestly….once you go that route it’s hard to be seen any other way.
And when you make decisions that could affect your future in the business be prepared to be replaced. After calling off her engagement to NBA star Nick Young last June, Iggy Azalea moved back to Australia. I wondered what would happen to her following in the US. So, I’m flipping through some new tracks in my record pool and I am listening to what I think is a new Iggy song….but it’s not. It’s “I’m On” by Lil’ Debbie. American born rapper, model and designer Jordan Capozzi was a member of The White Girl Mob but has now ventured on her own. Seems like she got her “blatant” on and is ready to take Iggy’s spot.
But low and behold…Iggy has a new joint out herself. It’s called “Mo Bounce”. I can see it being a minor hit, but to me she is turning into a One-Note-Nancy. If she wants to continue her rise in the Hip Hop world she has got to grow as an artist. Don’t let everyone think that T.I. was the brains behind your career and lyrics. “Mo Bounce” is generic. I don’t need another song about your inflated buttocks bouncing up and down. Go team up with Adele and do an Eminem vibe. Express your heartache in a track. I think that would endear you to your fans. And with the state of the world today, some heartfelt lyrics would show us more of Iggy than any of your skimpy outfits would.
And speaking of heartfelt lyrics….Nicki Minaj definitely lost the battle with Remy Ma for “Queen of Hip Hop”. However, Nicki wins all battles when it comes to having hit records. And as I said in my blog about their beef, hit records are not realness for street credibility. On March 20th, Nicki Minaj became the only female artist in history to have 76 entries in the Billboard Hot 100 charts. I don’t think Remy could ever do that. This is where being an industry whore works in your favor. Spittin’ a verse on a commercial pop song is ideal for an aspiring Pop star. But it makes you no longer considered Hip Hop. You are now a Pop artist. And Nicki’s latest guest spot along with PartyNextDoor on Major Lazer’s “Run Up” is a perfect example of how she got where she is today.
You know…I was joking the other day about the meaning of lyrics and how many are lost on parents who think they are watching what their kids are listening to. “Crank Dat” was one of those songs. When I saw Soulja Boy showing Jimmy Kimmel how to do the dance on his late night show, I started laughing. It was clear that Middle America had no idea that this was a song about jerking off on a girl’s face. Well, I’ve said it before about those downtempo tracks around 70-something BPMs…I don’t care for ’em. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I found the DJ Baysik Moombahton remix in my pool. Finally…a version I will play.
It always cracks me up when a celebrity cuts their hair and it’s all over the news. Really? These days? That’s what makes the news? Okay. Katy Perry cut her hair and there were rave reviews. I say she cut her hair because of all the coloring and dye jobs she does on a regular. That’s gotta be very damaging. But anyway. After her Hillary supportive song “Rise” really didn’t go anywhere after the election, it is nice to see that Katy went back to what she does best….write Pop songs. Although I think the original version of her new release “Chained To The Rhythm” featuring Stephen Marley (“do we have another industry whore in the making on hands?”) is a little too slow for my taste, the DJs From Mars Bootleg does a fantastic job of mashing it up with Major Lazer’s “Light It Up” and then speeds up to a hard hitting club track for the last few bars becoming a great tool to transition in your mix.
I like to give props where they are due. One of the hardest working remixer/producers in the business today is Mr. Barry Harris. I met him many years ago when my brother and I spun opposite of him in Orlando, Florida at the Parliament House for a holiday weekend. I’m sure he doesn’t remember me or that gig since he spins all over the world. But I sorta dismissed a lot of his work with Thunderpuss because I felt it was all beginning to sound the same. But the interesting thing about his work now is that he is really using some intricate samples and grooves from a lot of classic records to make his remixes stand out. And although I know many of today’s DJs are just following suit I want you to know that there are a few of us who are really listening. His latest mix of The Weeknd’s “I Feel It Coming” with Daft Punk is brilliant! The samples from not only the studio version but also the live intro for “Can You Feel It” by The Jacksons were cleverly used. Thank you, sir. Please keep up the good work.
I eagerly await to see what Rihanna does for her next studio album. After being critically acclaimed for “Anti” but not seeing the success of past albums, this will probably be either a game changer or much of the same. And as I have pointed out in the past….when you don’t have material that is selling DJs and remixers will dig back into your past catalogue and remix or replay your tracks. Such is the case with DJ Baysik’s Flip production on “Cockiness”. I did a remix myself when I first discovered this track. But obviously, Baysik’s work is superior to mine on this one. I think he actually had the acapella to work with.
And as promised, here is one of my selections of a classic remixed. I love educating while entertaining a crowd. There’s a hot new mix of Gusto’s “Disco’s Revenge” done by Wonder K that is rocking’ my world right now! That sample of Harvey Mason’s “Groovin’ You” just keeps going through my head. I love it! It makes me think of my days of trying to roller skate. Notice I said “trying”. I was never good at it, but I got an “E” for effort.
And finally to close out the mix I chose Barry Harris’ remix of Lady GaGa’s “John Wayne”. I so wish that all of Barry’s remixes had video versions. I mean, overtime I hear about one being posted on YouTube by the time I go to see it the record labels have yanked it down. I do video mixing and his stuff is great for a video dance party. But I digress. I really have to take my hat off to Miss GaGa. Really smart woman. Not only is she cementing her gay following by being a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, but she has sorta returned to a calmer version of her persona that got her in the spotlight in the first place. The video to “John Wayne” is bright, colorful and fun. We need that right now. I think you are well on your way to being someone in the game with longevity. Keep up the good work.