#1 J Dilla – Suite for Ma Dukes – Untitled/Fantastic (Georgia Anne Muldrow Remix)
The Magnum Opus of remixes.
Legend has it that several producers were approached to remix this orchestral take on the late, great J Dilla’s “Untitled/Fantastic,” none of them able to rise to the challenge. That is, until Lady Georgia Anne Muldrow stepped in and killed it.
Her take on “Untitled/Fantastic” fulfills the true mandate of a remix; paying homage to the original work while enriching its existing beauty.
With her otherworldly vocals, graceful drums, plucky bass line and surges of spine-tingling funky synths, sweet Georgia Anne takes us on a magical carpet ride.
Dilla would be proud.
#2 Notorious B.I.G. “One More Chance” Remix feat. Faith Evans & Mary J. Blige
This Ready To Die original record is a solid Biggie track, but the remix featuring his future wife and Mary J is as classic as they come!
Biggie’s flow, so thick you envision clouds of smoke billowing out with every word, layered on top of the sample from “Stay With Me” is hypnotic.
Add in the stirring vocals of Miz Evans & Lady Blige and we’ve got ourselves a generational anthem.
The single debuted at #5 went straight to #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 – the highest debuting rap song of all time until B.I.G. died and Puff Daddy released the tribute “I’ll Be Missing You.”
#3 Common “The Corner” (Scarface & Mos Def Remix)
On the original, Common immerses us in a desperation bred from a life of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks.
His flow, paired with Mr. West’s signature production, made this track fire from the jump.
Throw in Scarface’s southern perspective of street-life and Mos Def’s radical-politico style and sweeeeet Lawd, we have ourselves a remix.
Mos and Scarface bring their flavour to this track, and elevate its concept by fleshing out the full ecosystem of an inner-city corner.
#4 Talib Kweli “Get By” – (Kanye West, Jay-Z, Mos Def & Busta Rhymes)
Now this is a POSSE CUT!
The original was an absolutely classic banger that rang out from every club, car and house party in the spring/summer of 2003.
It then got remixed by a collection of rap’s most significant heavyweights and it went from classic track to statement piece.
As Yeezy says during his turn to spit over his own “Nina-Simone-piano -flow” beat:
“Kanye, Jay-Z, Mos Def and Kweli/we ain’t making songs no mo’, we making history”
#5 Nas “Represent” – (Elzhi Elmatic)
Calm down and hear me out.
I’m not about to tell anyone that Elzhi’s version of “Represent” can touch the grittiness, rawness or sheer importance of Nas’ ’94 original. Even though I have included this in my list, it is actually a remake not a remix. However, my list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include it.
What I am saying is that Will Sessions’ addition of the Represent Intro on Elmatic, is some of the craziest ish I have ever heard, and is therefore deserving of a shout out on this list.
As Elzhi’s spin on “The World is Yours” winds down, Will Sessions takes roughly one minute and twenty seconds to pay respect to the original Represent sample – Lee Irwin’s “Thief of Bagdad,” – and the result is pupil-dilating.
It stopped me dead in my tracks at first listen as I got lost in the sweeping strings and deep cello, which dramatically gives way to a haunting piano and bass riff.
For a slightly more meaningful reaction, check out Preemo hearing it for he first time.
#6 Craig Mack “Flava in Ya Ear” (Bad Boy Remix with Busta Rhymes & LL Cool J)
You would be hard-pressed to find a list of top ten remixes that doesn’t include this track.
The original is a classic, no doubt. But the remix broke out Biggie, has a bananas verse from Busta Rhymes and some cunningly sexy bars from God’s gift to women: LL Cool J.
Ergo ipso: the remix > original.
#7 Snoop Dogg “Bitch Please 2” (Dr. Dre & Eminem Remix)
The addition of Nate Dogg’s hook on the remix alone pushes this version out in front of the original. Throw in Dr. Dre and Em in their hay day? Fuuugget about it! Original can’t hold a candle.
#8 Jay-Z “La-la-la” (Excuse Me Miss Again)
“Skip all the singing let’s get right tonight, mami”
Where “Excuse me miss” is great (It’s hard to go wrong when Pharrell’s involved), it’s La-La-La counterpart is phenomenal.
That beat switch-up is key, it’s duuurty yet paired down, allowing Hov to shine on the verses. Plus, it’s nice to see the ol’ gang back together again.
#9 Bonecrusher “Never Scared” Cam’ron, Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes
My remix research taught me one, undeniable truth; if Busta Rhymes is involved, the remix is guaranteed to out-perform the original.
Busta is so at home on this version, it makes you wonder how the song was ever made without him.
Busta shows up on track, leans into the beat and parts the sound like Moses did the red sea, Killa Cam and Jada aren’t bad either.
#10 Jodeci “Freek n’ You” (Rae & Ghost Remix)
Rae & Ghost are the only duo who can balance out these horny & corny dudes.
Their remix lends cred to the original, allowing dudes to openly enjoy it.
Also: the Chef shouts out IHOP less than ten seconds into the track, #FTW