New York emcee PremRock returns to his 2016 collaborative effort with producer Fresh Kils, Leave In Tact, enlisting a legion of producers to flip seven tracks and create a new color palette for this remix collection.
The best part about these remixes: you don’t actually need the producer tags in the song title. From L’Orange, to Willie Green, to Blockhead and beyond, each producer brings their very best to their designated track. Perhaps Prem knew how distinctive each track would sound, which would explain some of the cheeky tags: “[Blockhead did this one]” and “[Raistlin’s Rendezvous].” Each flip has its own flavor and frames PremRock’s style in a fresh way. Don’t sleep on these remixes, and don’t sleep on the originals either, because PremRock and all of your favorite producers bring the peaks of their creative energies to the project.
Maker’s version of “Losing My Mind” smooths out the metallic drums that dominate the original and instead his beat veils Prem’s voice in that new school haze. A well-timed and resounding crash breaks through that purple wave. If the original cut was set at sunset, Maker’s mix takes us into the heart of an all-nighter. While the original “Saudade” leads with more metallic waves and a vocal sample to pad the track, L’Orange’s flip turns the cut into a key driven outing and ups the sample usage as only L’Orange could. The new sample builds a new springtime romp aesthetic into the track.
As if “Bring Your Bad” didn’t have enough swagger already with its needlepoint percussion, 2oolman and Junia T bring this song to the block party. The original beat really hugged Prem’s vocals and boasted a carnal grit with some of the electronic and rock influences. This remix strips back the visceral tone and brings some breathing room to the track, making the song all that much more romantic. The horn section is properly dreamy, working to turn the song into somewhat of a comedic serenade and helps PremRock’s personality filter through a more lighthearted lens. The same could be said for Elaquent’s take on “Rewind.” The texture of this remix works to bring the soulful tones of the song to the forefront.
Willie Green takes the downtrodden vibe of “Play On, Band” and runs with it on his remix. Wise to the fact that not much needs to be done to the song—PremRock’s poetry really speaks for itself on this one—he subdues the drums and gives even more shine to Prem’s poignant lyrics. This remix is a perfect case study in how to avoid over producing a track, in how to expand upon a mood instead of shooting from the hip. Raistlin’s remix of “Lost In The Ether” follows suit, latching onto the bright notes of the original and allowing them to blossom into a cut that innovates without slighting the initial production.
The collection ends with everyone’s favorite, Blockhead. His remix turns “Winter on Broome Street” into the montage moment of a crime film. He captures the lurking atmosphere that Prem paints across his bars. There’s a mildly campy element to his beat, and as the rhythm section evolves across the song, this nuanced levity only makes the song and PremRock’s delivery more looming.
Usually remixes are very hit-or-miss, either totally throwing a track off or altogether ruining the original. This collection is a great blueprint for how to get creative and innovate with a track without doing more harm than good. From tone enhancers to total flips, each producer on this project injects their personality while also amplifying the original tracks. Going from the remixes to the original gave me a newfound appreciation for both efforts. Don’t sleep on this project, because between these eight producers, you’re bound to find your next favorite.
You can pick up The Remix Collection on Bandcamp.