Grandmasters was the most excellent collaboration between Cypress Hillâ€™s DJ Muggs and Wu Tang Clanâ€™s The Genius (“GZA”). It was one of my top 10 hip hop joints of ’05, off of the indie label Angeles Records. Well, now it’s getting remixed, by folks like DJ Khalil, Scoop DeVille, DJ Solo, and others. It also comes with a DVD of live stuff from the Muggs/GZA tour and clips from the recording sessions. I actually liked the original record even more than every Wu Tang album after Enter the 36 Chambers. The conceit is that every tune is named after a chess move (“Queens Gambit;” “Unstoppable Threats;” “Advance Pawns;” etc.), and like a good chess game, every track is plotted out and strategically placed. GZA’s lyrics are pure genius, and Muggs gives up better beats here than he ever did for Cypress Hill. There’s minimal stupid skits and not one skippable song on the entire record. I can’t say this enough: Grandmasters is one of the greatest rap albums in history. The remix album is a true remix album. It’s not just an excuse to re-sell old stuff by adding a new verse or two. Every song is redone, and many are wholly different.
Exploitation of Mistakes, for example, adds a synth line and a somewhat peppier beat that truly transforms the song. The original is a grimey tale of rape with a piano loop in the back that makes it sad and tragic. The remix is more of a tale-of-the-street rhyme, making no judgment about the events it describes. The remix of â€œAll In Togetherâ€ does almost the opposite: Where the original is a club banger, the remix isvactually more focused on the verses than the beats.
I recommend both of these CDs highly, but if you’re just gonna get one get the first one. Amazing stuff.
VW’s Green Room is hosting three great acoustic tracks by Bloc Party.