The 10 Best Remixes By Ad-Rock
The Beastie Boys' Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 comes out Tuesday. But beyond the trio's newest collection of raffish rap japes, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz--the Beastie who isn't going gray and who isn't rumored to be related to Saved By The Bell's Screech Powers--has been steadily carving out a niche for himself as the unthreatening hip-hop figure to approach when an artist wants to swaddle a song in a classic coat of downtown New York chic. His latest effort, an electronically muted tweaking of fellow New Yorkers Rival Schools' "69 Guns," is a fine prompt to delve into ten of his most varied remix jaunts.
Bosco Delrey, "Evil Ones"
There are cases both for and against Diplo as a musical anthropologist, but his latest Mad Decent signing at least avoids the typecast of being a female of cloudy ethnic origin. Instead, Bosco Delrey--nope, it's not a name nabbed from an episode of The Dukes Of Hazard--combines a hillbilly sensibility with a predilection toward the type of dance-floor-friendly beats favored by the post-Stone Roses Ian Brown; Ad-Rock then took the song in a scuzzier direction.
Norah Jones, "That's What I Said"
Not just the owner of Cobble Hill's most notorious windows, Norah Jones has a strong hip-hop subtext to her career--if you take hip-hop lyrics at face value, she once nearly collaborated with hirsute white rapper R.A. The Rugged Man. Here Ad-Rock repositions Jones's soothing vocals over what sounds like a not-entirely-awkward marriage between mid-'90s trip-hop and the deep subtones of drum 'n' bass.
Beck, "Shake Shake Tambourine"
In this collaboration--which was pretty much waiting to happen since the inception of Beck's career--a funky/possibly stoned white boy calls on a similarly cast Caucasian to revamp his melancholy musings. Ad-Rock naturally obliges, upping the atmospherics by adding some dubby echoes.
Lady Sovereign, "A Little Bit Of Shhh!"
Oh, the career of Louise Harman, who spent a couple of years rapping in a cringe-inducing ragga twang before deciding to spread the gospel of grime to the US only to end up being dumped on a reality TV show. As if to heap insult on a pretty calamitous career, Ad-Rock's remix does little more than add the holler, "New York City, what? Let's do this!" to the intro and boosts the beats a bit. The ensuing "Sorry!" ad lib doesn't exactly smack of compassion.
Ad-Rock's version of the Jewish reggae artist's uplifting call to the kids is one of his more extensive musical re-workings, with the original track's lolling vibe replaced by some late-'80s-style dance beats. The ensuing ditty really needs a guest rap from Betty Boo.