Friday, July 13, 2007

Boss : Drive By (Rollin Slow remix) (from Deeper 12")

Boss : Drive By (Rollin Slow remix) (Def Jam West, 1993)
Nice & Smooth, Asu, Gangstarr, Bas Blasta, Milo T, Preacher Earl : Down The Line (RAL, 1991)

I'm really a big fan of The Drawing Board work, they shaped what rap records should look like, much like what Reid Miles did with jazz by designing all thoses great Blue Note sleeves. I love their big fonts and how they frame the pictures with letters. For those of you who are not familiar with them, the crew created by Cey Adams and Steve Carr was responsible for almost all the Def Jam artwork until 1999 and countless record sleeves from Cooky Puss to Ready To Die, and many logos for the likes of Hot 97 or Dave Chappelle.

So I had the promo 12" of Deeper for years when I finally bought this retail copy just for the artwork. They both share the same tracklisting, the catalog number is exactly the same but what surprised me it that the credits for the Drive By remix are different. Totally different.

And they're probably both wrong (to some extent).
The promo reads : Produced by MC Serch. Remixed by Jeff Trotter. Recorded at Soundtrack studio, NY.
The retails reads : Produced by Robert Jones. Additional production by Erick Sermon & DJ Premier. Mixed by Jeff Trotter. Recorded at Soundtrack studio, NY.

Strange, don't you think ?

Now what is really surprising is that if you go back to the credits of the original song on the album, the producer of the song is neither Serch, nor Robert Jones. According to the album Drive By was produced and mixed by Stone Tha Lunatic and was recorded in LA.

For those who don't know, Stone Tha Lunatic's real name is Angelo Trotter, also know as Torch and Torcha Chamba. He produced "Wicked" for Ice Cube, "Hounddog" for MC Ren, "Sunbeams" for Volume 10, and if I'm correct he's the uncredited guy who rhymes on Freestyle Fellowship's classic posse cut "Heavyweights" just before Volume 10.

Now, MC Serch as a producer of the song ? Why not, but I've always seen him credited as a co producer, with T-Ray, with Sam Sever, etc.

And could you picture DJ Premier working with Erick Sermon on this remix ? I've seen this remix credited to DJ Premier on some mixtapes and compilations to my surprise. Sorry but I can't picture DJ Premier doing this remix, it doesn't sound like him, at all. Primo sampling the "Humpty Dance" drums ? The saturated bass line ? Those are Erick Sermon trademarks. The only little thing that sound like Primo is the scratch in the intro. Should you get additional production credit for just one scratch ?

One thing that always seems stranged to me is the fact that DJ Premier has produced tracks for every MC on every label from Tommy Boy to Rap-A-Lot but never for Def Jam. I don't know if he has beef with Lyor Cohen or something, but who wouldn't dream of a Redman track produced by Premier or a Primo remix of some PE classic ? What's strange is that he didn't even help his good friends Nice & Smooth when they were working on the trainwreck that was Jewel Of The Nile, even if Gangstarr was credited on Ain't A Damn Thing Changed for Guru’s verse.

UPDATE : Scroll down to the comments to get the facts straight. Thanks to Rob Jones and Angelo Trotter for clearing things up. And thanks to Premier who confirmed to me in an interview that he had nothing to do with this remix.